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Captain China (1950)

Passed  -  Action | Adventure | Romance  -  2 February 1950 (USA)
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Charles Chinnough, aka Captain China, washed ashore off his ship during a storm, is later rescued, but is relieved of duty when his former first mate, Brendensen (who thought he was dead), ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles S. Chinnough / Capt. China
Gail Russell ...
Kim Mitchell
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Capt. Brendensen
Red Lynch (as Lon Chaney)
Edgar Bergen ...
Mr. Haasvelt
Michael O'Shea ...
Miss Endicott
Robert Armstrong ...
Ilka Grüning ...
Mrs. Haasvelt
Keith Richards ...
John Bagni ...
Ray Hyke ...
Paul Hogan ...
Lawrence Tibbett Jr. ...


Charles Chinnough, aka Captain China, washed ashore off his ship during a storm, is later rescued, but is relieved of duty when his former first mate, Brendensen (who thought he was dead), and two aides, testify falsely against him in a hearing concerning the loss of his ship. Seeking to clear his name, he books passage on a ship commanded by Brendsen.He and Brendensen both fall for a passenger, Kim Mitchell. Later, a raging storm at sea has the cowardly Brendensen turning the command of the ship over to Chinnough. This serves to help Chinnough clear his name. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

china | reef | hearing | typhoon | china sea | See more »


A mutinous crew...a raging typhoon...a dangerous woman. See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain China  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A change in course for John Payne
3 May 2003 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

John Payne had enjoyed a comfortable career in the 1940s playing light roles in musicals and comedies, but after passing his 35th birthday, he seemed to realize he needed to move on to other parts. "Captain China" fitted this need since it cast him in a dramatic role which had a tough edge to it. Exemplifying this change was an extended "beefcake" scene in which he appeared shirtless. Instead of the boyishly smooth chest he showed off in, say, "To the Shores of Tripoli," he now sported a patch of black hair across his pecs. So thick was this patch that, in a profile shot, it appeared to add an inch or two to his chest measurement.

The movie itself also added to Payne's re-positioning as an "action" hero. He's involved in a knuckle-busting brawl with Lon Chaney jr., for example, and during the long typhoon sequence, he wrestles with surging waves, argumentative crewmen, and balky equipment.

Naturally there's also a romantic element, provided by Gail Russell, though the speed at which she and Payne fall in love seems a bit extreme. Adding some lighter touches to the story are a few of Payne's fellow passengers on board the "Crosswind" -- Ellen Corby as a flighty murder-mystery writer and Edgar Bergen and Ilka Gruning as an older couple given to gentle squabbling. These passengers may remind one of those found in Rock Hudson's "Twilight of the Gods," and Ellen Corby seems to presage Angela Lansbury's role in "Death on the Nile."

The typhoon scenes which fill the latter half of the movie are surprisingly impressive for a studio-bound movie filmed on a modest budget, but when all is said and done, the thing best remembered about "Captain China" is John Payne's bare torso.

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