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The Ship from Shanghai (1930)

Passed  -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  31 January 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 84 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

On a yacht sailing from Shanghai to the United States, the sailors, led by the megalomaniac steward, revolt and take control.



(from the novel: "Ordeal" by), (dramatized for the screen by), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Conrad Nagel ...
Howard Vazey
Dorothy Daley
Viola Thorpe
Holmes Herbert ...
Paul Thorpe
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Lady Daley
Ivan Linow ...
Jack McDonald ...


A yachting party of rich socialites sailing from Shanghai falls into the hand of a mutineering crew, and are subsequently at the mercy of the merciless whims of a half-mad ship's steward who has gained control of the water supply. That is with the exception of Lady Daley who is quite indifferent to the whole affair. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What starts out as a Gay Yachting Party Turns in to a Voyage of Terror and Excitement Such as Will Leave You Breathless! (original-ad) See more »


Action | Crime | Drama | Romance






Release Date:

31 January 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A bordo del 'Shanghai'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Howard Vazey: It isn't a jazz band; its a band of angels.
See more »


Sailing, Sailing (Over the Bounding Main)
(1880) (uncredited)
Written by Godfrey Marks
Sung a cappella by Conrad Nagel, Holmes Herbert, Carmel Myers and Zeffie Tilbury at the nightclub
Reprised a cappella by Conrad Nagel aboard the yacht
See more »

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User Reviews

The Despicable Crichton
2 January 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

1930 was the year that MGM went to all-talkie production and this movie demonstrates their lack of ease with the new medium. In addition they saddled themselves with a lot of sequences shot on the water, always a risky proposition -- although the ship was likely at the docks.

Meanwhile this production is afflicted with all the stereotypical problems of early sound productions: a static camera, unnatural-sounding sound with a lot of hiss and badly directed dialogue. Even if you discount these problems, this story of how brutish purser Louis Wollheim seizes control of a yacht after it is wrecked in the storm lacks interesting characters. Each character can be defined in a sentence. The interesting parts of the movie are the sailors trying to deal with the storm as it swamps the yacht; and Kay Johnson checking on the badly injured Conrad Nagel. Those, however, are clearly shot MOS. The rest of the movie makes use of cuts where a moving camera would have been better.

MGM clearly figured this movie to be a greater success than it turned out and its failure pretty much ended the career of Kay Johnson and knocked Conrad Nagel out of the leading man category. Louis Wollheim survived and prospered off his next movie, the great ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. If the MGM brass thought this movie would propel them firmly into the sound era, they were sadly mistaken.

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