On a luxury ship bound for Hong Kong, dashing Captain Alan Gaskell (Gable) finds himself in a gentleman's quandary when the classy woman he loves, Sybil Barclay (a very young and unusually proper Russell), unexpectedly climbs aboard. Now Gaskell must placate jealous mistress China Doll (Harlow), and also foil a gold-piracy plot masterminded by China's crooked Irish pal Jamesy (Beery).
Produced by Irving Thalberg for MGM, this salty-tongued, high-seas romance adventure features Gable, then "King of Hollywood," in one of his sauciest and naughtiest roles, playing a caustic, philandering ship captain on the South Pacific who feels outclassed and unworthy of Russell's attention. Snappy dialogue, a rollicking storyline of love and piracy, and excellent supporting turns by Harlow, Russell, Beery, and Lewis Stone keep the bumptious "China Seas" afloat for the whole voyage. All aboard!