China Doll

Overview

After years of absence from the small screen, Frank Borzage's China Doll (1958) -- perhaps the best movie ever produced by John Wayne's Batjac Productions that Wayne didn't star in (and maybe the best picture they ever made, period) -- has arrived in DVD from MGM/UA in a handsome no-frills edition. The non-anamorphic letterboxed (1.85-to-1) image makes a stunning frame on the action; and coupled with a superb sound transfer, the letterboxing makes the aerial opening credit sequence hauntingly beautiful. Indeed, ...
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Overview

After years of absence from the small screen, Frank Borzage's China Doll (1958) -- perhaps the best movie ever produced by John Wayne's Batjac Productions that Wayne didn't star in (and maybe the best picture they ever made, period) -- has arrived in DVD from MGM/UA in a handsome no-frills edition. The non-anamorphic letterboxed (1.85-to-1) image makes a stunning frame on the action; and coupled with a superb sound transfer, the letterboxing makes the aerial opening credit sequence hauntingly beautiful. Indeed, the latter now marks the begining of this brilliant film's seductive effect on the audience, as we see the world that Victor Mature's Cliff Brandon is happiest in, and get drawn into his story from the opening frames; we don't even have to wait for Mature's first appearance to see what Borzage had in mind with this picture. The movie has been given a very generous 24 chapters that beautifully delineate the story, and one only wishes there were a trailer included as well, and perhaps some promotional clips, so we could see how the movie was sold to the public in 1958 (this reviewer remembers co-star Bob Mathias making a lot of TV appearances plugging it).
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although China Doll is in most ways a fairly unexceptional little war melodrama cum romance, it may be of special interest to fans of director Frank Borzage. Casual viewers will find it sufficiently entertaining, even if much of its plot feels creaky and the manipulation of emotions is often forced. But the basic story ingredients are there to keep the viewer's attention, and those in the mood for an undemanding way to pass the time will find it to their liking. Those looking for a real social issue picture, which Doll also has some pretensions to, will be disappointed, for this is the kind of film that pays lip service to the issues without doing any true exploration of them. But as mentioned, Borzage fans will be the most receptive audience, scrutinizing it to see what this, his first film after a ten-year blacklist, can tell them. What it reveals is a sense of melancholy mixed with a resignation that comes from maturity rather than despair, and those sensitive to this will embrace Doll rather warmly. The director's skill is also plainly evident, particularly in the climactic battle scene, and he imbues the gentle coda with real emotion as well. He's hampered by the unexceptional performance of leading man Victor Mature but draws a nice performance from leading lady Li Lu Hua.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/24/2007
  • UPC: 027616073822
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Victor Mature Cliff Brandon
Li Li Hua Shu-Jen
Ward Bond Father Cairns
Bob Mathias Phil Gates
Johnny Desmond Steve Hill
Danny Chang Ellington
Stuart Whitman Dan O'Neill
Ann McCrea Mona Perkins
Denver Pyle Col. Wiley
Tige Andrews Carlo Menotti
Steve Mitchell Dave Reisner
Don "Red" Barry Hal Foster
Gregg Barton
Barry O'Hara
Technical Credits
Frank Borzage Director, Producer
Angela Alexander Costumes/Costume Designer
Lew Borzage Asst. Director
Kitty Buhler Screenwriter
William H. Clothier Cinematographer
Earl Crain Sr. Sound/Sound Designer
Wes Jeffries Costumes/Costume Designer
David Koehler Special Effects
Jack Mills Set Decoration/Design
Robert E. Morrison Associate Producer
Jack Murray Editor
Howard Richmond Art Director
Henry Vars Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- China Doll
1. Main Titles [1:41]
2. China 1943 [4:39]
3. A Piece of the Action [3:57]
4. Bought and Sold [4:21]
5. The Next Morning [3:43]
6. Pride and Tradition [7:21]
7. Lousy Navigator [3:59]
8. Cleaned Up [4:10]
9. Staying Out Late [3:58]
10. Excellent Taste [3:18]
11. Calcutta [3:48]
12. Maleria Bug [4:00]
13. Something Happened [6:20]
14. "Suppose" [4:18]
15. Startling News [4:11]
16. American Proposal [3:28]
17. Chinese Wedding [4:40]
18. Saying Goodbye [3:23]
19. Staging Area [4:37]
20. The Offensive [4:41]
21. Under Attack [3:13]
22. Gone [4:06]
23. The Dog Tag [4:30]
24. Precious Jewel [2:45]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- China Doll
   Play Movie
   Language Selection
      English Mono
      English Stereo
      English
      Spanish
      None
   Scene Selection
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