China Seas (1935) DVDRip Dual Esp-Eng (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
China Seas (1935)
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.
Clark Gable ... Captain Alan Gaskell
Jean Harlow ... Dolly \'China Doll\' Portland
Wallace Beery ... Jamesy MacArdle
Lewis Stone ... Tom Davids, 3rd Officer
Rosalind Russell ... Sybil Barclay
Dudley Digges ... Mr. Dawson, 1st Officer
C. Aubrey Smith ... Sir Guy Wilmerding
Robert Benchley ... Charlie McCaleb
William Henry ... Mr. Rockwell, Junior Officer
Liev De Maigret ... Mrs. Olga Vollberg (as Live de Maigret)
Lilian Bond ... Mrs. Timmons (as Lillian Bond)
Edward Brophy ... Wilbur Timmons
Soo Yong ... Yu-Lan
Carol Ann Beery ... Carol Ann, Little Girl Saved From Crushing Piano by Alan
Akim Tamiroff ... Paul Romanoff
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.
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.
The studios in the \"Golden Age\" of films loved to stick to successful formulas that worked for their actors and directors. Just go down the list of performers that you can recall: A fine actor like Basil Rathbone is either the heavy or villain, or Sherlock Holmes (but not, as he wished, Rhett Butler). Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich could not play normal housewives, nor could Joan Crawford play a stupid woman. Oliver Hardy could always have a wife, but never a happy marriage (and if it approached happiness, Stan Laurel would help destroy that). Lewis Stone, sterling character actor, only achieved permanent stardom when he inherited the role of Judge Hardy from Lionel Barrymore, and he would remain the perfect, wise father to Mickey Rooney in a dozen films. As for Barrymore, while he had a higher degree of stardom than Stone, he fell nicely into a niche as the original Dr. Leonard Gilespie, opposite Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare.
In 1932 MGM got the bright idea of making a dramatic film of Vicki Baum\'s \"Grand Hotel\" with an all star cast (John and Lionel Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, and Tully Marshall). The film won the best picture Oscar, so it became a standard for other MGM projects to copy. The best known is \"Dinner At Eight\" (both Barrymore brothers again, Beery again, Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, Billy Burke, Edmund Lowe, Lee Tracy, Hersholt again). But \"David Copperfield\", \"The Prisoner OF Zenda\", and several other Selznick films, and \"The Women\" (with only a cast of actresses - Crawford, Shearer, Russell, Fontaine, Goddard, and Boland) followed the same formula with variants by the settings and plots of the films.
\"China Seas\" was an early example of the formula \"all star\" film, a \"Grand Hotel\" set at sea. The plot is varied: C. Aubrey Smith is having a cargo of gold shipped by his ship captained by Gable. The passengers include Harlow (who has had a long standing on-again, off-again romance with Gable), Russell (Gable\'s current love interest - a real English lady type), Beery (an untrustworthy gambler and thief - he may be planning to steal the gold), Robert Benchley (an American novelist on a permanent toot), Edward Brophy and Lillian Bond as a married couple on a tour (Ms Bond has her secrets from her husband), Akim Tamiroff (a man who knows how to take advantage of secrets), Dudley Digges (a self-satisfied and smug chief executive officer), and Lewis Stone (a former sea captain, now reduced in rank and a pariah due to an act of cowardice).
The film is a lively mixture of comedy and tragedy, including the death of one of the villains. Harlow demonstrates an interesting way of playing cards and drinking that suggests more than the film shows. Benchley never appears clear eyed and sober throughout all the film. Stone, in a powerful moment, leaves the self-righteous Digges with a permanent black mark on his self-esteem. Gable and Beery show what the \"boot\" is, and how effective it is. This is a film where the activities of the cast are so involving you never get bored even when you see the film another time. And at the end, as the ship reaches port (as in \"Grand Hotel\"), life goes on as though nothing (including a pirate attack) ever even occurred.
# While shooting in the studio two stuntmen were nearly killed as they were washed away by 50 tons of water.
# The film was banned in Malaya and Singapore.
# Jean Harlow wore a wig for this film. She had cut her hair shorter and was letting her natural color grow in. But for the scene where her character Dolly is soaked, the wig could not be used because it would look fake. Thus for a few seconds Harlow\'s hair is shorter and a different color.