China Doll (1958)

Genres - Drama, Romance, War  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 8, 1958 (USA - Unknown), Dec 3, 1958 (USA)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Bruce Eder

Cliff Brandon (Victor Mature) is a US pilot serving in China in 1943, flying supplies to Allied soldiers in Burma. He's the best at what he does in the air, but he's also emotionally cut off from everyone around him, disillusioned by the loss of men in his command during nearly two years of war. When he's not in the air on a mission, or riding his new men (including Stuart Whitman, Tige Andrews and Johnny Desmond) to learn their jobs as fast as they can so they can survive, he's usually either passed out drunk or getting there on the ground. One night, while staggering out of his usual watering hole, he chances to meet an elderly Chinese man and, after a barely understood conversation, hands him a pile of money. When Cliff awakens the next day, he discovers that he's bought three months of housekeeping service from the man's daughter, Shu-Jen (Li Li Hua). At first he's at a loss over what to do about her -- he would gladly send her back to her father, until he learns from local missionary Father Cairns (Ward Bond) that Shu-Jen (whose name means "precious jewel") is the sole supporter of her family; and that if he sends her back, they'll return his money as a matter of honor, and have to sell her services as a housekeeper again; and that the next time that may be to someone who is a lot less honorable than Cliff, and could destroy the rest of the girl's life. So they're stuck with each other, and in the course of three months together Cliff discovers through Shu-Jen a joyous side to life that he'd forgotten -- his men even notice that he smiles occasionally, and he actually seems like a human being, enough so that Cliff soon wants more out of life than just day-to-day survival; he wants a life with Shu-Jen. And despite her initial misgivings, they decide to marry. But duty constantly beckons to Cliff, especially when he's moved to a forward base to support a new Allied offensive -- he isn't there for the birth of their child, but he is able to bring them both to him, only to find that the war is now on both their doorsteps.



adoption, housekeeper, reunion, soldier, widow/widower