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China Seas


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Product Details

  • Actors: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, James A. FitzPatrick, Mary Doran, John Warburton
  • Directors: Reginald Le Borg, Tay Garnett
  • Writers: Crosbie Garstin, James Kevin McGuinness, John Lee Mahin, Jules Furthman, Maurice Revnes
  • Format: Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F7CMXQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,906 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "China Seas" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage Fitzpatrick TravelTalk short: "Cherry Blossom Time in Japan"
  • Musical short: "A Girl's Best Years"
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rugged Captain Alan Gaskell (Clark Gable) sails the perilous waters between Hong Kong and Singapore with a secret cargo: a fortune in British gold. That's not the only risky cargo he carries. Both his fiery mistress (Jean Harlow) and his refined fiancee (Rosalind Russell) are aboard! With their wisecracking banter, gutsy glamour and dynamic physicality, Gable and Harlow prove once again that they were the '30s most scorching screen pair in this rough-and-tumble tale of the sea. Highlights include a raging typhoon, a battle with bloodthirsty Malay pirates, and Harlow's drinking contest with bluff villain Wallace Beery, who wants the gold and the platinum blonde. Adventure (and Golden Era allure) dead ahead on China Seas.

Amazon.com

Sea captain Clark Gable has his hands full on the Hong Kong-Singapore route: secret gold hidden below decks, pirates, a typhoon. None of which truly matters, since the real action here is animal attraction: Gable can't believe the one classy lady (Rosalind Russell) he ever loved has come on board the same time as his bawdy mistress (Jean Harlow). Director Tay Garnett does well by the storm at sea and the marauding pirates, but he knows the real fun is when Gable and Harlow trade smoldering glances and caustic one-liners. And if more deliciously vulgar dialogue is needed, Wallace Beery is there to spray it around. However preposterous all this may seem, it's so spicily written (script by James Kevin McGuinness and the gifted Jules Furthman) and perfectly cast that it satisfies on pretty much every level. Gable was at his prime here, a bullheadedly confident example of machismos americanus in his natural habitat, and in Harlow he found his perfect unpretentious sparring partner. China Seas is essentially a rehash of their teaming in Red Dust, but absolutely nobody minded. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
48%
4 star
39%
3 star
13%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 31 customer reviews
The typhoon scenes are full of action and the plot moves fast.
Rita Reader
Adventure film starring Clark Gable as a brave sea captain, Jean Harlow as his brassy paramour, and Wallace Beery as an extremely suspicious-looking character.
Dr René Codoni
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it has wonderful views of Hong Kong.
Paul R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
One of the most entertaining films ever made, with MGM throwing in everything but the kitchen sink and all the elements working beautifully. God Almighty couldn't have concocted a more exquisitely perfect cast. Wallace Beery, the most forceful and fascinating actor of his day, plays a villain who covets Jean Harlow and tortures hero Clark Gable, who is at his absolute peak as a roguish sea captain and even more fun to watch than he was later in "Gone With the Wind," if that's possible. Sensational humorist Robert Benchley, grandfather of the author of "Jaws," is present for comic relief and his character is reeling drunk throughout the movie, which is refreshing to see when viewed from the standpoint of today's comparatively repressive attitude toward alcohol. Rosalind Russell and Hattie McDaniel are also aboard the storm-tossed ship. This one gallops, with a literate and amusing script and lustrous, shimmering photography, and performances to savor from the strongest screen actors ever. A severely underrated classic and not to be missed. Be sure to watch it only in its original glowing black-and-white and avoid the aesthetically inferior colorized version. For whatever reasons, we no longer have actors as entertaining as Beery and Gable. This movie is a phenomenal treat.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on September 9, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
If you could classify a typical "Golden Age of Hollywood", product then "China Seas", would be it. It exemplifies everything that was so unique about the 1930's in particular at a studio like MGM, where sheer star power often overcame an unlikely story to produce first rate entertainment that has stood the test of time. "China Seas", was planned as one of 1935's big "A" efforts by studio genius Irving Thalberg who always seemed to know what the public wanted and gave it to them in classy well produced film adaptions. The legendary teaming of super stars Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery, all at the peak of their creative talents, almost guaranteed box office success which is what occured here making "China Seas", a mega hit for MGM that year. The three leads certainly were displayed in "typical", roles with Gable the cynical no nonsense ship's Captain, Harlow the loud mouth mantrap living by her wits and usually clad in something revealing and Beery the rough bear-like villian out for the best opportunity for himeslf. All these usual personas however combine beautifully in an exciting modern pirate tale filled with interesting support characters, excellent action sequences and just enough humour to satisfy all viewers. The magical screen chemistry of Gable and Harlow is well on display here in one of their most pleasing vehicles together and rightly goes a long way to making "China Seas", a viewing experience to treasure.

Based on the novel by Crosbie Garstin, "China Seas", tells the story of a passenger/cargo boat that is making a journey from Hong Kong to Singapore. In charge is Capt. Alan Gaskell (Clark Gable), who is taking on board a highly desirable cargo of bullion for shipment.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on March 2, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I don't think so, be it in the jungle, a New York high rise or at sea. Hepburn & Tracy were great, no argument. But they were so modern & urbane, not rowdy & sexy, always fighting like Harlow & Gable. China Seas is a fine example of this chemistry. Yeah, & its a pretty good story too. Gable is Capt. Gaskell, skipper of a passenger/merchant ship running from Hong Kong to Singapore. Harlow is the floozie, Dolly, he had a fling with on shore. The ship is carrying gold. There is a terrific typhoon, & a pirate raid in which the ship is seized for a while. They torture the Captain, but he doesn't reveal where the gold is. Dolly is mixed up in a conspiracy with a crewman, Wallace Berry, against the Captain because she is mad at him. She of course changes her mind. The Captain is trying to ditch Dolly & thinks he's meant for Lady Sybil, played by Rosalind Russell, an old flame. But he & Dolly really are in love. Unfortunately the collaborations between Harlow & Gable was cut short at five movies with Harlow untimely & early death several years later.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Noirdame on March 1, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
This was the first film I saw that paired Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. I expected a lot from it and I was not disappointed. They were one of the finest screen teams of the 30s.

In a way, the plot is like RED DUST on the high seas. Gable is again in charge of a location and the leader of men, including a crew of Asians. Harlow is again the woman of easy virtue with a heart of gold. Rosalind Russell, in an entertaining turn as Sybil, Gable's long ago love, is a comedic and decidedly more classy dame who captures Captain Gaskill's attention, and who incites China Doll's jealousy. Wallace Beery, who worked with both Harlow and Gable in "THE SECRET SIX" and with Harlow in the 1933 classic "DINNER AT EIGHT" is enjoyably slick and subtly shady as Jamesy. But it is the chemistry between Harlow and Gable that really holds this movie together. They obviously had great respect and liking for one another, and this only cemented their working relationship on-screen. My favorite lines, one spoken by China Doll: "When I want you to sound off, Golden Bells, I'll pull your rope!" The other by Gaskill, with that unmistakable Gable grin: "And as a man said when they were about to hang him, 'This will be a lesson to me.' " It's a gem, and don't pass it up!!!!!
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