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China Seas (1935)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Adventure | 16 August 1935 (USA)
When earthy Dolly Portland is rejected by Captain Gaskell in favor of a socialite, she aids Jamesy McCardle, in league with Malay pirates, in his plot to seize his ship.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Jamesy MacArdle
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Davids
...
Sybil
...
Dawson
...
Sir Guy
...
McCaleb
...
Rockwell
...
Mrs. Vollberg (as Live de Maigret)
...
Mrs. Timmons (as Lillian Bond)
...
Timmons
Soo Yong ...
Yu-Lan
Carol Ann Beery ...
Carol Ann
...
Romanoff
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Storyline

Dynamic Alan Gaskell captains a ship bound from Hong Kong to Singapore. Gaskell tries to turn over a new leaf from his hard-drinking lifestyle after becoming re-attached to a refined high class English lady, Sybil Barclay. His former girlfriend Dolly is extremely jealous of the budding relationship and tries hard to get the Captain back. He is apparently unimpressed with her loud, obnoxious, and uncivilized manners, even though she is extremely beautiful. After a temporary takeover of the ship by gold-seeking Asian pirates, Captain Gaskell must deal with the fact that Dolly and her drinking pal, Jamesey MacArdle, are implicated in the crime. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A challenge to all screen history!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mares de China  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,138,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pirates torture Clark Gable's character in a Malay boot. Based upon an instrument of torture widely used in the Middle Ages, this is a screw press that is slowly tightened to squeeze the foot between iron plates until the bones are crushed. See more »

Goofs

When Rockwell hastily exits Gaskell's cabin, the door closes twice. See more »

Quotes

Dolly 'China Doll' Portland: Toots, you've got to listen to me. I only came here for one thing.
Captain Alan Gaskell: I'm quite aware of that! You're always waiting for a sailor to comfort him, as only a woman like you can comfort a man whose too tired or too drunk to care who he is.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Enseñar a un sinvergüenza (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Chopsticks
(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played on piano by Robert Benchley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great story and a great cast
24 August 2001 | by (california) – See all my reviews

A great story and a great cast. If you set aside all the early Hollywood traps about racism and sexism, this is a terrific and watchable romance/adventure.

The story is very similar to Gable's later film, "Mogambo." He's the adventurous cad who loves two women - a beautiful ice-queen who represents his link to civilization (Russell); and the cute but stubborn and uncouth "woman of the world" who has the capacity to betray him when it suits her (Harlow). This movie is very well acted. I've always said that if you give Gable an affectation to fall back on, he does extremely well. Here, he's a barking sea captain, which, almost by accident, gives his performance a better range than it otherwise would have. I don't really like Harlow, but she's good in her role.

The editing is a bit strange - many closeups are too obviously added in later, but I guess I can partially forgive this because of the time it was made. It really shows how Harlow was on a roll when she was with the rest of the cast, though. Because these individual shots do not fit in with the movie at all.

There's some amazing effects during the typhoon sequence, with a steam engine running loose on the deck - and you actually see people get run over and flattened. It's disconcerting even though you realize the camera tricks involved. Very inventive for its day.


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