China Passage (1937)

63-65 mins | Mystery | 12 March 1937

Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Miss Customs Agent . A preliminary SAB credit sheet included Philip G. Epstein as a "contributing writer." The exact nature of his contribution is not known. According to a HR news item, filming was delayed for almost two weeks in early Jan 1937 after Vinton Hayworth was injured in an automobile ... More Less

The working title of this film was Miss Customs Agent . A preliminary SAB credit sheet included Philip G. Epstein as a "contributing writer." The exact nature of his contribution is not known. According to a HR news item, filming was delayed for almost two weeks in early Jan 1937 after Vinton Hayworth was injured in an automobile accident. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Feb 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Apr 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 36
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 37
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Feb 37
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Jan 37
p. 41.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Apr 37
p. 46.
New York Times
16 Apr 37
p. 27.
Variety
21 Apr 37
p. 15.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Miss Customs Agent
Release Date:
12 March 1937
Production Date:
mid December 1936--18 January 1937
Copyright Claimant:
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 March 1937
Copyright Number:
LP6996
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63-65
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2972
SYNOPSIS

In Shanghai, American soldiers of fortune Tom Baldwin and Joe Dugan are hired by a Chinese general to deliver the priceless Soo diamond to a storekeeper named Chang. Moments after Tom and Joe hand the diamond to Chang, his shop is attacked by soldiers, and during the ensuing chaos, the diamond is stolen. Desperate to retrieve the jewel, Tom and Joe corner everyone in the vicinity and question them about their activities. Included in the group of suspects are Jane Dunn, a pretty American; Anthony Durand, an American mystery writer; Durand's British valet, Harvey Dinwaddle; an alcoholic named Philip Burton; silly Mrs. Katharine "Katie" Collins; and the mysterious Dr. Feng Tu. Unable to locate the diamond, Tom and Joe release their suspects but trail Jane, who meets secretly with a Chinese man claiming to know the identity of the thief. Before the informant can reveal his information to Jane, however, he is killed by an unseen assailant. The next day, Joe and Tom track Jane to the docks, where the San Francisco-bound S.S. Asiatic is about to sail. To Tom and Joe's surprise, all of their suspects board the Asiatic . Soon after sailing, Jane receives an on-board telephone call from an unidentified man who warns her not to drink her morning coffee and advises her to get off the ship in Yokahama. Later Jane discovers that a box of chocolates she had received as a gift is laced with poison. Next, Durand and Harvey's cabin is ransacked, and Jane's room is burglarized. Furious, Jane shows the ship's captain a letter from the United States Customs Office, which ... +


In Shanghai, American soldiers of fortune Tom Baldwin and Joe Dugan are hired by a Chinese general to deliver the priceless Soo diamond to a storekeeper named Chang. Moments after Tom and Joe hand the diamond to Chang, his shop is attacked by soldiers, and during the ensuing chaos, the diamond is stolen. Desperate to retrieve the jewel, Tom and Joe corner everyone in the vicinity and question them about their activities. Included in the group of suspects are Jane Dunn, a pretty American; Anthony Durand, an American mystery writer; Durand's British valet, Harvey Dinwaddle; an alcoholic named Philip Burton; silly Mrs. Katharine "Katie" Collins; and the mysterious Dr. Feng Tu. Unable to locate the diamond, Tom and Joe release their suspects but trail Jane, who meets secretly with a Chinese man claiming to know the identity of the thief. Before the informant can reveal his information to Jane, however, he is killed by an unseen assailant. The next day, Joe and Tom track Jane to the docks, where the San Francisco-bound S.S. Asiatic is about to sail. To Tom and Joe's surprise, all of their suspects board the Asiatic . Soon after sailing, Jane receives an on-board telephone call from an unidentified man who warns her not to drink her morning coffee and advises her to get off the ship in Yokahama. Later Jane discovers that a box of chocolates she had received as a gift is laced with poison. Next, Durand and Harvey's cabin is ransacked, and Jane's room is burglarized. Furious, Jane shows the ship's captain a letter from the United States Customs Office, which identifies her as a special agent, and demands to search Tom and Joe's cabin. There Jane and the captain discover Joe's dead body. After learning that Joe had borrowed a book about the human stomach from the ship's hospital, Jane sneaks into Tom's cabin and is knocked unconscious. Tom then enters and struggles in the dark with Jane's attacker. After the tussle, Tom finds a Buddha charm on his floor, which he knows belongs to Katie. Jane, who has fallen in love with Tom, confides her identity to him, and together they approach Katie. By the time they reach Katie's cabin, however, they discover that Katie, who is actually an undercover insurance investigator, has been poisoned. Using fingerprints found on Katie's fatal cocktail glass as a comparison, Jane checks all of the remaining suspects' fingerprints and identifies Tom as the killer. Later, however, Jane reveals to Tom, who is locked in the ship's brig, that the killer had framed him by substituting Katie's glass for one used by him. While Jane questions Durand about Katie, a still imprisoned Tom is shot and wounded. Then, shortly before landing in San Francisco, Jane also is shot by an unseen assailant. At the dock, Harvey is accused of smuggling jade and is searched by customs officers. After Jane reveals that her shooting was a diversionary fake, she accuses Harvey of stealing the diamond. Durand then rushes in with a gun and turns off the customs office's lights. During the ensuing fight, Dr. Tu, actually a representative of the general, shoots Durand. Once the murderers are revealed, Jane accepts Tom's marriage proposal and, while the captain of the Asiatic performs their wedding, explains how she solved the crime: After reading a radiogram sent to Katie just before her death, which identified one of the thieves as a former circus performer, Jane arranged for Harvey, whom she suspected was the circus "freak," to be X-rayed in the customs office. As predicted, Harvey's X-ray revealed that had he swallowed the diamond. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.