Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh

Anne Baxter

Anne Baxter

Anne Bxter - Nefretiri

As Nefretiri from Cecil B DeMille's Ten Commandments

More Ten Commandments 1956

Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard Color Photo

Boris Karloff, 1932

Boris Karloff the Mummy

Valerie Hobson, 1935

Valerie Hobson

More Valerie Hobson

John Wayne

John Wayne

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt

Goya in Bordeaux - Spanish, 2000

Goya in Bordeaux 7

Goya in Bordeaux 5

More on the Spanish language film Goya in Bordeaux directed by Carlos Saura

Dorothy Lamour

Dorothy Lamour

Kirk Douglas, 1956

Kirk Douglas 1956

From Lust for Life, 1956

Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper

Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster

From here to Eternity - Burt Lancaster 1953

From From Here to Eternity, 1953

Vivacious Lady 1928

Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers - Vivascious Lady 1938

Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers - Vivacious Lady 1938

Classic George Stevens directed screwball comedy that sends up the University Life, with Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn.

Elsa Lanchester

Elsa Lanchester Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein, 1935

Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

Evelyn Keyes

Evelyn Keyes

China Seas, 1935

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 1

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 2

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 3

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 4

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 5

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 6

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 7

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 8

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 9

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 10

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 11 China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 12

China Seas 1935 MGM - Jean Harlow - 13

China Seas from 1935 is a replay of Red Dust of 1932. Both films feature Jean Harlow and Clark Gable with onscreen characters in the same jam (she's a tramp and he's confused about whether he should make an honorable woman of her), though Gables role in China Seas has a higher rank in society. He's a sea captain here instead of a plantation manager as in Red Dust, where he toiled away in the working part of the British Empire, sweating and yelling at the native workers. In China Seas he's impeccably clean and usually dressed in white, though yelling at everyone, which had by 1935 become an important part of his acting persona, is in abundance here.

Harlow plays her character attacking the same problem as the one from Red Dust, which is how to get Gable to take her seriously. As part of her strategem, she manipulates the infatuated Wallace Berry (as Jamesy MacArdle), pretending to take up with him once the pedigreed Rosalind Russell (as Sybil) has climbed aboard the ship and has begun to take up all of Gable's attention.

Jealousy doesn't bring good results, though, as Gable confuses it with disgust when it involves the likes of lumberjack-crossed-with-a-thug Wallace Berry.

But this is 1935 M-G-M, so it will all work out for the sea captain and the tramp (the same cannot be said of McArdle, though).

Rosaland Russell (in a role not that dissimilar from the one played by Mary Astor in Red Dust) is stuck with the helpless task of being second-fiddle to the glimmering Harlow who gets to have all the humor and is put in the most danger.

Berry as the duplicitous passenger with a plot to shanghai the ship and make off with the stored valuables in the ship's vault has a generous amount of screen time. His task gets quite complicated when a typhoon pounds its way in and threatens to sink the ship, packed with coolies, passengers and cargo.

During all this Berry has to keep lying to Gable so he won't suspect who is the real mastermind for the pirate gang that has boarded his ship. Also, Berry has to try and prosecute his campaign to win over Jean Harlow, not realizing he's fooled himself. He simply doesn't have enough time to do any of these three tasks well, and it will all blow up in his face.

China Seas may not have the gritty milieu of Red Dust, but it is a well done film with a tight plot that moves from beginning to end like a finely-wound watch. A sequence featuring an enormous piece of equipment chained to the deck that bursts free in the storm is probably one of the best "sea storm" scenes from 1930s films.

Lewis Stone is in the cast lending his grim gravitas to a secondary character that is trying to resurrect his sailor reputation, and only disgraces it further, that is, until the chips are really down in the confrontation with the pirate crew that has attacked them.

Harlow and Gable seem to effortlessly plow through their roles with fast line deliveries and frequent yelling and throwing things. But their arguments are tinged with humor, part of what made them one of moviedom's best screen couples.

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