- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 38 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: August 17, 2010
- Originally Released: 1935
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Description by OLDIES.com:
Hester Adams weds Stephen Chase, but she'll soon discover he already has a wife. He's married to his job with Atlantis Oil, acting as the company's roving man in China as it taps into a burgeoning market. Based on a bestseller and directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Oil for the Lamps of China follows Chase (Pat O'Brien) as he obeys the dictates of the corporate hierarchy. He'll betray a friend. Abandon his wife in childbirth to attend to a business emergency. Sacrifice one life and risk his own to protect a trifling amount of Atlantis's wealth. Critics noted the film did not wholly match the novel's anti-industry broadside. Yet even today there's enough here for anyone who's ever faced the conflict of career and personal life.
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.