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China Doll (1958)

 -  Drama | War | Romance  -  3 December 1958 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 235 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 5 critic

American pilot Cliff Brandon, fighting the Japanese in China, finds himself the unintentional "owner" of a Chinese housekeeper, Shu-Jen. The unlikely couple falls in love and marries, but not without tragedy brought on by the war.

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Cliff Brandon
Li Hua Li ...
Shu-Jen
...
Father Cairns
Bob Mathias ...
Capt. Phil Gates
Johnny Desmond ...
Sgt. Steve Hill
...
Lt. Dan O'Neill
Elaine Devry ...
Alice Nichols (as Elaine Curtis)
Ann McCrea ...
Mona Perkins
Danny Chang ...
Ellington
...
Col. Wiley
...
MSgt. Hal Foster (as Donald Barry)
Tige Andrews ...
Cpl. Carlo Menotti
Steve Mitchell ...
Dave Reisner
Ken Perry ...
Sgt. Ernie Fleming
Ann Paige ...
Sally
Edit

Storyline

In China gruff Air Force captain Cliff Brandon wakes up after a night of drinking to discover he has purchased the housekeeping services of comely, young Shu-Jen from her father. Disappointed by Cliff's insistence on staying out late in bars, Shu-Jen leaves for home when Cliff, made aware that she is carrying her child, finds her and marries her in a delightful traditional Chinese ceremony. Happy days are spent as Shu-Jen and her infant daughter join Cliff at a forward base until Cliff, returning from a supply-drop mission, hears the base is under attack by Japanese bombers. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

china | pilot | captain | air force | asian | See more »

Genres:

Drama | War | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Borzage's China Doll  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Suppose
Words and Music by 'By' Dunham (as By Dunham) and Henry Vars
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User Reviews

 
Dolls Can Be Fragile
23 June 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

After a decade's absence from the big screen director Frank Borzage did a few films toward the end of his life, the first being a tender love story set in Western China during World War II. Although you would hardly call Victor Mature's character an innocent like most of Borzage's protagonists, the female lead, Chinese actress Li Hua Li more than makes up for it in her character.

Mature is a transport pilot in the China-Burma-India theater and during a night on the town he wakes up finds out he's bought himself a Chinese concubine from her father. On a three month trial basis and Li Hua Li goes with him. Naturally this arrangement doesn't please all at the base with their western views on morality especially the women nurses. But Mature finds a surprising ally in Father Ward Bond who runs an orphanage and has spent decades in China and knows the customs well. In fact the main scene of the film is Bond presiding over a Chinese style wedding when the two realize they're in love. Of course the fact that a little one is on the way does speed everyone's plans up.

China Doll despite its themes of miscegenation is really a rather old fashioned film. Films like Sayonara and Love Is A Many Splendored Thing really tackled the whole issue far better. And I found the ending completely ridiculous especially if Mature's first concern was the safety of his infant daughter.

Vic and Li Hua Li are a touching pair of lovers though and the wartime combat scenes are expertly handled. Fans of Mature and of Ms. Li who is a big name in the Chinese cinema might like this though.


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