Shanghai Express

Many Men Had Loved Her -- but only one had been loved in return!

Adventure Drama Romance
82 min     6.934     1932     USA


A beautiful temptress re-kindles an old romance while trying to escape her past during a tension-packed train journey.


John Chard wrote:
When I needed your faith, you withheld it; and now, when I don't need it, and don't deserve it, you give it to me. Shanghai Express is directed by Josef von Sternberg and written by Jules Furthman (adaptation) & Harry Hervey (story). It stars Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brooks, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Eugene Palette and Lawrence Grant. Music is by W. Franke Harling & Rudoplh G. Kopp and cinematography by Lee Garmes. Plot finds Shanghai Lily (Dietrich) meeting up with old flame Donald Harvey (Brooks) aboard the Shanghai Express during the Chinese Civil War in 1931. However, this train has many passengers with secrets to hide, so when some rebels ambush the train, such things as loyalties, friendships, hidden motives and the birthing of legends come to the fore. Stylishly crafted by Sternberg and brisker than the other collaborations with Dietrich, Shanghai Express thrives on atmospheric visuals, strong scripting and a sultry turn from the leading lady. The cramped confines of the train allow Sternberg to dally with trademark shadows, smoke and shafts of light for maximum effect, garnering Garmes an Oscar in the process, while there is deft deadpannery amongst the myriad of intriguing characters. Quality film making on both sides of the camera and also off of the writers desk. 8/10