6.5/10
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Oil for the Lamps of China (1935)

Approved | | Drama | 8 June 1935 (USA)
An American, working for his oil company in China, disregards all but the company's interests. " The characters and the institution portrayed in the story are not actual but the product of ... See full summary »

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Alice Tisdale Hobart (by), Laird Doyle (screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat O'Brien ... Stephen Chase
Josephine Hutchinson ... Hester Adams
Jean Muir ... Alice
Lyle Talbot ... Jim
Arthur Byron ... No. 1 Boss
John Eldredge ... Don
Donald Crisp ... Mr. McCarger
Willie Fung ... Kin
Tetsu Komai Tetsu Komai ... Ho
Henry O'Neill ... Edward Hartford
Ronnie Cosby ... Bunsy Wellman
William B. Davidson ... E.H. Swaley (as William Davidson)
George Meeker ... Bill Kendall
Joseph Crehan ... Clements
Christian Rub ... Dr. Jorgen
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Storyline

An American, working for his oil company in China, disregards all but the company's interests. " The characters and the institution portrayed in the story are not actual but the product of fiction. The oil business was chosen because light has ever been symbolic of progress." Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The FLAMING HELL OF THE LAST FRONTIER (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 June 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A sárkány birodalma See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Bellingham WA Friday 23 November 1956 on KVOS (Channel 12); it first aired in Phoenix Thursday 13 December 1956 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Miami Thursday 20 December 1956 on WTVJ (Channel 4), in San Francisco Tuesday 25 December 1956 on KRON (Channel 4), and in Bloomington IN Wednesday 26 December 1956 on WTTV (Channel 4). See more »

Quotes

Hester Adams Chase: Two things matter to a man, the woman he loves and the work he does.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Send My Boy to Harvard
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Pat O'Brien
See more »

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User Reviews

First-rate, yet all but forgotten
18 October 2001 | by jaykay-10See all my reviews

The length and sweep of many novels that are brought to the screen often give the film an episodic quality: too many incidents, too many characters, too little time to do justice to any of it.

Here is a picture that manages, for the most part, to avoid such pitfalls, and to tell a "big" story with skill and intensity. Like its excellent director, Mervyn LeRoy, it remains greatly underappreciated.

The theme of personal responsibility being compromised by business obligations is one that movies have not often handled, and certainly never more effectively than here. Character conflicts are dealt with in a mature, understated manner. The "company" is portrayed as an impersonal, largely uncaring force, oblivious to the needs and personal fulfillment of its employees.

One could object to the contrived manner in which Steve and Hester meet at the start, and quickly arrange a marriage of convenience. And surely Pat O'Brien, with his limited range, was a less than ideal choice for the leading role. Overall, however, you will not find many pictures of its type that equal this one.


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