I really enjoyed this Movie. The Lead Lady is super tough as you will see in the End. But this Movie brings up some interesting things in it. Things that might have kept 🇺🇸 out of Vietnam. So, pop some Popcorn and Enjoy! But just look who’s in this Film-
- Gene Barry as Sgt. Brock
- Angie Dickinson as Lucky Legs
- Nat “King” Cole as Goldie
- Paul Dubov as Capt. Caumont
- Lee Van Cleef as Maj. Cham
- George Givot as Cpl. Pigalle
- Gerald Milton as Pvt. Andreades
- Neyle Morrow as Leung
- Marcel Dalio as Father Paul
- Maurice Marsac as Col. De Sars
- Warren Hsieh as The Boy
- Paul Busch as Cpl. Kruger
- James Hong as Charlie
Before China Gate was to be released, Fuller received a call from the French Consul-General in Los Angeles, Romain Gary, inviting him to lunch. Gary said the film’s prologue was too harsh towards France and asked Fuller to change it. Fuller refused, but the two became firm friends with similar interests. The film was never released in France. This Movie was BANNED in France.
Made on $150,000 Budget? Man, who does THAT? But what really surprised me was that Nat King Cole was in this War Movie and he did an excellent Job of Acting. But so does every one in this Movie.
Fuller selected singer Cole after being impressed with his face on a record album cover. Though Darryl F. Zanuck said Cole received more money in a few weeks than does the budget of the film, Fuller arranged to meet Cole. Cole and his wife were interested in Goldie as an opposite to the racist Brock and agreed to work at a minimum salary.
An actual Eurasian actress playing a love interest opposite a white European star was a rarity in Hollywood at the time. Dickinson proves attractive to Brock, and to mainstream audiences of the time. Her character is allowed to express Fuller’s view on race relations and is respected both by the French military and by a local priest whose life she had saved. (The character takes a role similar to Fuller’s prostitute protagonists in Pickup on South Street and The Naked Kiss). The dangerous patrol allows for a gradual change of heart for Brock.
Sergeant Brock and Goldie are American Korean War veterans now serving as French Foreign Legion mercenaries in the First Indochina War. Brock’s wife is a “half caste” Chinese-European named “Lucky Legs” (Angie Dickinson) who resorts to smuggling to feed her five-year-old son she had with Brock. Brock abandoned her and the baby when he was born with Asian features, feeling a “half breed” would not be welcome in America; an attitude towards miscegenation prevalent at the time. Lucky is recruited by the French high command to use her expertise of the area and her connection to the communist Major Cham to get a demolition squad of Legionnaires led by Brock to a vital hidden Viet Minh ammunition dump on the border with Red China. In return for her services, Lucky is promised by the French that they will arrange for her five-year-old son’s emigration to America.
The raid is filled with animosity between the former lovers, booby traps, and enemy patrols. On arrival at the ammunition dump hidden in a mountain, Lucky discovers the commanding officer is her former friend Major Cham, who wants to take her and her son to a new life in Moscow. Cham is a high flyer corporate executive (in the manner of Fuller’s gangsters in Underworld USA) marked for great things in the world of international communism. The sabotage mission is successful but at great cost; Lucky dies blowing up the dump. Brock reconciles with his child and is last seen walking along holding his hand in preparation for returning to America, as Goldie reprises the title song.
China Gate is a 1957 Hollywood CinemaScope war film written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller and released through 20th Century Fox. The film is set during the First Indochina War (1946–1954), and depicts the relationship between a sergeant of the French Foreign Legion and the Eurasian wife which he had abandoned.
|Directed by||Samuel Fuller|
|Written by||Samuel Fuller|
|Produced by||Samuel Fuller|
Nat King Cole
Lee Van Cleef
|Cinematography||Joseph F. Biroc|
|Edited by||Gene Fowler Jr.|
|Music by||Victor Young|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date||May 22, 1957 (U.S.)|
|Running time||97 minutes|