Shanghai Express

1932

Adventure / Drama / Romance / Thriller

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6013

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Downloaded 17,473 times
July 05, 2018 at 12:25 PM

Cast

Marlene Dietrich as Shanghai Lily
Eugene Pallette as Sam Salt
Warner Oland as Henry Chang
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
667.58 MB
968*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 2 / 8
1.29 GB
1440*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 6 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by fanaticusanonymous 10 / 10

An "Oh my God!" movie from the early 30's

Every frame, with Marlene Dietrich in it, is a masterpiece of lights and shadows. The artistic marriage of Dietrich and his director Josef Von Sternberg is all consuming and therefore we're trapped, happily so. Look at what the camera does with Dietrich's face when she delivers the iconic line: "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lilly" I had to rewind immediately and see the moment again, one, two, three times. Dietrich is dressed, lit and photographed like a goddess, the human kind. I wonder if we're ever going to see the likes of her, the likes of them, ever again.

Reviewed by bmacv 10 / 10

Sternberg, Dietrich reach their zenith in opulently photographed romantic intrigue as extraordinary today as it was 70 years ago

When Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express chugs out of Peking, squeezing through a teeming alleyway as it picks up steam, it marks the start of a momentous journey – not only for its motley of passengers but for Hollywood. In this fourth teaming of the Svengali-like director and his Trilby of a star – Marlene Dietrich – they reach the zenith of their legendary collaboration and strike a template for the kind of movies America would do best and like best: voluptuous hybrids of adventure and intrigue, romance and raffish fun.

Leaving for Shanghai to operate on the stricken British Consul-General, army physician Clive Brook climbs aboard only to find the woman he loved but lost five years ago (Dietrich). Now, however, she goes by another appellation; as she explains, in the script's most emblematic line, `It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.' Her presence on the train, and that of one of her sisters-in-sin (Anna May Wong) is cause for scandal and indignation among the other passengers: prim boarding-house proprietress Louise Closser Hale (with her pooch Waffles smuggled on board); sputtering man of the cloth Lawrence Grant; sardonic gambling man Eugene Pallette; a Frenchman; a German; and the inscrutable, pre-Charlie Chan Warner Oland.

Soon, China being embroiled in a civil war, they have more to worry about than Dietrich's morals. Rebel troops halt the journey lead the passengers, one by one, to be interrogated by their warlord, who turns out to be Oland. The various eccentricities, secrets and agendas of the passengers get brought into the open, affording Oland opportunity to avenge any number of racial and personal slights. But finally he finds what he's been looking for – a valuable hostage to serve as a bargaining chip – in Brook. And from then on Shanghai Express becomes a drama of reckoning, with all the characters scheming to save their own (and occasionally one anothers') skins.

None of the players can be faulted, except for Brook, who gives a dead-earnest impersonation of the stick that stirs the fire; that Dietrich should have fallen for him is like believing several impossible things before breakfast. (Cary Grant was around in 1932; too bad Sternberg didn't catch up with him until his next movie, Blonde Venus.) But in his handling of Dietrich, Sternberg all but patents what came to be called star treatment. Stunningly lighted, her feline face is caught in a breathtaking range of moods and attitudes. But she's more than a passive vessel for the director's intentions – her blend of worldly savvy and steely spine is hers and hers alone.

She isn't the only beneficiary of Sternberg's eye. He shoots the movie in a haunting, intense chiaroscuro (few movies from this early in the 1930s were so richly and handsomely photographed). He cuts from scene to scene teasingly, layering new shots on fading images, adding a little rubato to relate incidents of the story to one another. Shanghai Express may be the first masterpiece of the sound era, one that's still no less extraordinary today than it was 70 years ago.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

The China that Von Sternberg Gave Us

Despite a difficult, artistic personality, Joseph Von Sternberg was a deep romantic. While Marlene Dietrich showed in a long career that she had vast reservoirs of talent, Von Sternberg gave her career a lift in that series of films they made together from THE BLUE ANGEL to THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN. Remarkably, given the limitations of black and white film, Von Sternberg left some beautiful images (to this day) of the actress who may have been the most beautiful one in motion picture history.

SHANGHAI EXPRESS is set in the China of the Warlord period (as was THE GENERAL DIED AT DAWN). A group of travelers are leaving a Chinese city to reach Shanghai, before the railway link is cut by the troops of the warlord. They include Dietrich, Anna May Wong (her best recalled talkie performance, as the bride to be Hui Fei), Clive Brook, Lawrence Grant, Eugene Palette, Warner Oland, Louise Closser Hale, Gustav Von Seyfertitz, and Emil Chautaud. Each has a distinct personality, which sometimes clashes with the others. Dietrich was formerly the fiancé of Brook, an English officer and gentleman, but he dumped her and she has become a high class prostitute. Grant is a holy roller minister, who is disgusted at the acceptance of that prostitute by some of the passengers. Palette (my favorite character in the film - his role is like a comic afterthought) is an even tempered gambler who is returning to Shanghai to look after some properties he has there. He has no problems accepting Dietrich at all. Also, he sees no problem with the use of racist comments (for that locale) as, "I wouldn't give him a Chinaman's chance!", which fits his gambler's instinct. Hale is the owner of a boarding house in Shanghai, who is friendly at first until she realizes what Dietrich does for a living (devilish Dietrich then asks Hale, in pretended shock, "What kind of a house do you run?", much to Hale's annoyance). Seyfertitz is a silent, really abrasive type, who wants to be left alone (it's interesting in the comments about racism towards Chinese in this film, few comment about Seyfertitz and his role and how it dovetails with residual anger towards Germans in the wake of World War I). Brook is going to another post, and is shocked at how Dietrich has ended as she has - but he can't help feeling some of the romantic feelings of five years before. Chautaud is headed to meeting his sister, whom he has not seen in years, and who expects him to be a great military hero. And Oland is a half Chinese half White passenger, who is not the quiet businessman he seems.

The train is stopped by the forces of the local warlord, whom everyone meets. Each is handled differently, as their secrets are wormed out of them. The best confrontation is the warlord and Seyfertitz, who learns a serious lesson in manners. But events soon turn about, due to an unexpected party, and move on to the satisfactory climax. I won't mention the details because this is a film that I think should be seen by everyone, for it's evocation of a China that is now somewhat lost (with it's teaming throngs of people pushing their ways to their destinations). China still has a really large population, but I don't think the disorder that Von Sternberg captures in his railroad stations scenes still exists. As a picture of the lost China of 1930, as a fascinating character study of over six characters, and as another romantic view of La Marlene, SHANGHAI EXPRESS remains a great film.

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