China Sky (1945)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Richard Gilliam

China Sky is a well-produced World War II propaganda film about two dedicated doctors, Randolph Scott and Ruth Warrick, who must battle a soap-opera script to keep the Chinese village where they work safe from invading forces. Released shortly before action in the Pacific ended in 1945, the film removes much of the texture of Pearl Buck's source novel, though the chemistry between Scott and Warrick compensates somewhat. In part because he was limited by RKO's comparatively moderate budget, veteran director Ray Enright takes a conventional approach to the material, allowing the melodramatic elements to outshine the story's war themes. The cultural credibility of the Chinese settings is hampered by inappropriate casting, such as Mexican-born Anthony Quinn as a guerilla leader. Nonetheless, what works about the film is its production design, and Enright's ability to deliver the story in a straightforward, audience-pleasing manner.