Oil for the Lamps of China (1935)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Release Date - Jun 8, 1935 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This drama about corporate treachery was based on the best-selling novel by Alice Tisdale Hobart. Stephen Chase (Pat O'Brien) is a salesman and inventor with an American oil company who is sent to China to reach that nation's untapped market. While Stephen is often told that his company looks after their own and he's selflessly devoted to his job, it becomes evident with time that they're treating him with disrespect. After his fiancée leaves him, Stephen marries a woman he's only just met, Hester (Josephine Hutchinson), because he's already arranged to bring a wife to China. Stephen has designed a new kerosene lamp for the Chinese market, but his rival Swaley (William B. Davidson) is given credit for the product. When Stephen is transferred to another part of China, he accepts even though his wife is expecting a baby; the physical toll of the journey causes Hester to lose the child. Stephen and Hester become close to another American couple, Don and Alice Wellman (John Eldredge and Jean Muir), but when Stephen is ordered to fire Don, he unhesitatingly agrees. After communist forces nationalize the oil firm's holdings, Stephen risks his life to protect $15,000 in company funds. But when he is released from the hospital, Stephen learns that instead of being rewarded, he's been demoted -- and another man was promoted in his place.

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Keywords

ambition, America, brutality, business, career, childbirth, China, contract, danger, dedication, demotion, employment, faith, hospital, injustice, loot, oil, power, representative [agent], toddlers, wife, life, man