This story, in book form, was a bestseller for over a year and caused a lot of talk. In transferring it to screen the filmers have taken many liberties, so that it evolves as a choppy, long, and sometimes confused yarn.
Alice Tisdale Hobart’s original was an indictment of a great oil company for its subjugation of its employees. Film switches that around to a man’s blind struggle against mistreatment, dishonesty in officials, personal misfortune, and rank deception on the part of his officers, with nothing more than faith in ‘the company’ as his wand.
Story is laid practically entirely in China. The Atlantis Oil Company has sent Pat O’Brien over there to sell oil to the Chinese. Because he’s saving the company some money, his first baby dies in childbirth. Because his best friend has lost a minor sales contract, he fires him, etc. Comes the revolution. The rebels try to take a few thousand dollars of the company’s money so he risks his life, sees his assistant shot, is badly wounded himself, and is in a hospital for months. But he saves the $15,000. When he’s out of the hospital he’s rewarded by being demoted.