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China Seas (1935)

Passed  |   |  Action, Drama, Adventure  |  16 August 1935 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,432 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 20 critic

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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(screen play), (screen play), 6 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
China Doll
...
Jamesy MacArdle
...
Davids
...
Sybil
Dudley Digges ...
Dawson
...
Sir Guy
Robert Benchley ...
McCaleb
William Henry ...
Rockwell
Liev De Maigret ...
Mrs. Vollberg (as Live de Maigret)
Lilian Bond ...
Mrs. Timmons (as Lillian Bond)
Edward Brophy ...
Timmons
Soo Yong ...
Yu-Lan
Carol Ann Beery ...
Carol Ann
...
Romanoff
Edit

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 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 take over 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 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mares de China  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 4, 1944 with Clark Gable reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

During the storm when Jamesy MacArdle grabs China Doll and swings her around in his room towards his dresser at about the 48 minute mark, her dress strap comes down revealing what appears to be her bare breast. She quickly lifts her strap and continues. See more »

Quotes

Dolly 'China Doll' Portland: If I had a nickel's worth of pride, I'd...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anita Takes a Chance (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
On The High Seas Of Adventure With Gable, Harlow & Beery
11 March 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

British Hong Kong, mid 1930's. A freighter makes ready to lift anchor on its way to Singapore, carrying with it £250,000 in hidden gold. The passengers & crew are a colorful mix of often violent hatreds & animosities. Traveling into typhoon-swept, pirate-haunted waters, danger & death awaits all those who enter the CHINA SEAS.

While admittedly the plot is a little far-fetched, this was one of the great all-star features which MGM did so well during its heyday. The sets are lavish (especially the bustling docks) and except for the occasional use of a model, the ship scenes look realistic.

The cast is made-up of some of the Studio's best: Clark Gable as the captain - given to drink & homesick for England, he must choose between the two women he loves; Jean Harlow, the brassy blonde with too much past, passionate in defense of her man; Wallace Beery, gambler & exporter, bluff, hearty & treacherous; Rosalind Russell, the English society girl, cool & beautiful.

Rounding out the excellent supporting cast are Lewis Stone, as an old ship's officer accused of cowardice; Robert Benchley as a perpetually inebriated American novelist; Edward Brophy & Lillian Bond as American tourists who attract the notice of lustful Russian swindler Akim Tamiroff; and wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, as the founder of the shipping line.

Film mavens will spot uncredited performances by Willie Fung as a cabin boy; Donald Meek as a chess player; Emily Fitzroy as a gossipy passenger; and especially Hattie McDaniel, hilarious as Harlow's maid.

On a side note, one of the writers for this film was Paul Bern, an important MGM producer & Harlow's husband. His 1932 murder by his deranged common-law spouse, made to look like a suicide by MGM security to protect Harlow's career, would provide one of Hollywood with one of its most famous scandals.


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