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Reviews & Ratings for
East of Shanghai More at IMDbPro »Rich and Strange (original title)

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Perils of Prosperity

Author: theowinthrop from United States
4 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One sometimes wonders about great directors when given material they have not carefully selected or which is thrust down their throats. Chaplin managed to avoid it, and to control the films he made (though his later films become progressively too talky, and too melodramatic). Ford, for the most part, managed to avoid atypical films in his career. So, oddly enough, did Welles (he certainly never essayed a screwball comedy). But Alfred Hitchcock did (at least twice) do pictures that had nothing to offer his special style of film. They were early pictures, and are rarely seen. The first is the current film, RICH AND STRANGE, and the second was his pseudo-Strauss Family biography, WALTZES FROM VIENNA (1934).

RICH AND STRANGE is about how a young couple's marriage has bogged down into a set routine - how they inherit a fortune from an uncle - and how they find that the fortune only increases the fissures in their marriage. They take a trip around the world to the far east, and find that the money only makes them less and less tolerant of each other. It is only privation due to a shipwreck, and the loss of the money that makes them return to each other in the end.

There are good cinematic touches in the film - the symbolic moment when the marriage seems doomed is when (in China) the couple are riding in rickshaws that are going in opposite directions, and have gotten stuck so that neither is able to progress (and neither passenger is willing to let the other have the right of way). There is also the sinking of the ocean liner after it has been attacked and robbed by pirates - although obviously done on a back-screen, with a model, for a 1931 film it is rather well done too. It is, however, less effective than the sinking of the freighter at the beginning credits of Hitchcock's LIFEBOAT some dozen years later.

The acting is passable, but no more. On the whole worth watching once to see Hitchcock not doing one of his mystery or moody suspense films, and so worth a "5" out of "10".

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

1930's Hitchcock

Author: jyoung-11
11 October 2001

Hitchcock in the early 30's was very much a British film director rather than a distinctive director. His style of films contained the stuffiness of 1930's Britain, and indicated that he needed to move away from the UK in order to nurture his later style that the world came to know and love. 'Rich and Strange' is an example of the stuffy British films that he was making in the early 1930's, and apart from the fact that he is credited as a director for the film, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just an ordinary 1930's British film.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

My rating: 7

Author: Vihren Mitev from Bulgaria
7 September 2013

Well, well, well! Very surprising. I suppose it is the first movie about Titanic. And indeed, rich and strange. Rich in enthusiasm, youth, dreaminess, naivety. Strange in realization.

I skip the love tension and stop on the place. It shows the parallel between titanic power of the industry and the constant tempo of the family tradition and organized individuality, metal boat and wooden schooner, fast food and Chinese food. Curved space in which the parallel straight lines can cross each other and over Atlantic dream is not authentic and possible enough without eastern diligence.

When I compare this movie with its newer variant which is so famous and watched I see that the plot is being changed. Sober from the distance of time some have decided to delete the honesty and their foresight and replace them with egocentric lordliness and mass commerce accompanied with a very good soundtrack.

So, this movie is rich and strange, different. My rating is little increased but notice the year of the production!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Spoiler: Purposeful

Author: movies40000 from Brooklyn
27 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

People seem to find this movie disjointed- it starts as a comedy ends on a different note. Although there are some technical difficulties, the one thing I know about Hitchcock is that his movie making was always thought out in advance and purposeful. The movies starts off as a comedy with of course that brilliant opening. We are shown the humdrum lives of our couple who desire to see the world and experience life. As the movie unfolds this is exactly what happens. From the vacation fun of Paris to sexual intrigue to misfortune and tragedy (ignoring the racist characterization of the Chinese in the picture) They have now seen the world and experienced life and seen some death. They are ready to go home with new attitudes and perspective. They are ready to start a family. The bickering at the end shows how much the wife has grown. She and her husband are now equal partners.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Early Hitchcock is strange indeed...with lots of promise...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
18 November 2011

Lots of little moments in RICH AND STRANGE (American title) assured me that Hitchcock was gradually developing the kind of touches that became his trademark later on. His opening scenes of London bustle aboard trains and buses on a rainy day is a foreshadow of things to come in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (with its sea of umbrellas on display).

These opening sequences are very modern in concept, so it's a pity the rest of the film doesn't match it in true Hitchcock style.

JOAN BARRY and HENRY KENDALL are a bored, restless married couple not content to stay by the fireside after he receives a letter from an uncle who is leaving him a great deal of money. They embark on a cruise to the Orient wherein both of them get involved in ill-fated love affairs. Hitchcock tries to provide comic touches, particular with an obnoxious female passenger clumsily trying to fit into shipboard events, but frankly this aspect of the film comes across as painfully unfunny.

Not until the finale, do we get a real Hitchcock moment involving a seldom glimpsed black cat that becomes part of a macabre twist aboard a junk-boat of Chinese fishermen. It's a most unappetizing moment that must have been deliberately written into the script at Hitchcock's insistence on wry black humor.

But all in all, this is a clunky exercise in early filmmaking combining a tedious romantic yarn with a few amusing moments about a couple whose marriage survives despite some unlikely circumstances that almost tear them apart. The special effects of a sinking boat gradually filling with water are especially well done for the time.

Summing up: For serious Hitchcock completists only.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Tempest in a Teapot

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
21 August 2009

Bored Londoners Henry Kendall and Joan Barry (as Fred and Emily Hill) receive an advance on an inheritance. They use the money go traveling. Their lives become more exciting as they begin relationships with exotic Betty Amann (for Mr. Kendall) and lonely Percy Marmont (for Ms. Barry). But, they remain as boring as they were before. Arguably bored director Alfred Hitchcock tries to liven up the well-titled (as quoted in the film, from Shakespeare's "The Tempest") "Rich and Strange" by ordering up some camera trickery. An opening homage to King Vidor's "The Crowd" is the highlight. The low point may be the couple dining on Chinese prepared cat.

*** Rich and Strange (12/10/31) Alfred Hitchcock ~ Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Percy Marmont, Elsie Randolph

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9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

very un-Hitchcock

Author: Matthew Dickson from Denton, TX
20 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yet another early film from Alfred Hitchcock which seems to have been done out of contractual obligation. As with Juno and the Paycock, you can tell that Hitchcock had little interest in this movie. There is almost no style or craft to it at all. The story revolves around Fred and Emily, a young married couple, who come into some money and go on a cruise which proves to be a test of their marriage. Emily is given a chance at a new life with a good hearted, wealthy man who falls in love with her, but chooses to take the high road and stay with her husband. This might seem more believable if Fred weren't made out to be a completely insensitive, pompous ass who jumps at the first opportunity he sees to leave his wife for another woman. The couple ends up staying together, but the movie lacks any real reconciliation scene. The third act goes in a completely different direction, with the couple stranded on an abandoned ship and rescued by an Asian fishing boat. Joan Barry does give a very stirring performance as the faithful wife of an unfaithful husband. That's about all you can say for this one.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Kramdens See The World

Author: GManfred from Ramsey, NJ
10 October 2013

This couple could be the British equivalent of Ralph and Alice. Overbearing bumbling oaf and his mousy, tolerant wife. When it started I didn't think I would like it as it was so unlike a Hitchcock film. But this picture grows on you and becomes more interesting as the story develops.

As other reviewers have mentioned, a shlub couple, he a dreary accountant and she a dreary housewife, come into some money and decide to spend it on the high life topped off by a world cruise. They each fall in love with a third party before realizing they were meant for each other. At least as a default position.

"Rich And Strange" is part romance and part comedy, and both elements are understated in the English manner. Some of the comedy parts are quite humorous and some of the romantic moments are quite touching, and the acting is solid. Henry Kendall plays the oafish husband with traces of a stage background, and Joan Barry is as sensitive and appealing as she is lovely. Percy Marmont is a stalwart Englishman with principles - but will overlook them for Ms. Barry.

When it started I thought maybe a five rating, but by the end I gave it a seven. As I mentioned, it gets better, and there are some unmistakable traces of The Master. It is a valuable inclusion in the Hitchcock canon, if for no other reason than being a step stone towards Hitchcock's evolution as one of filmdom's best directors.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I agree with the second part

Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
5 June 2010

This was one of the three Hitchcock films in a box set. I hadn't heard of any of them, and only got them because of his name and them being on sale. This is similar to one of the other two(the one I've watched), The Lady Vanishes(the last is Secret Agent) in some ways; they both start out looking like they're going to be silent(especially this one), and neither have scene selection(well, this one, at the very least, allows you to skip to the very end so that you don't have to fast-forward through the entire thing to play it from near the end). This is an odd little 83 minutes of a movie. It was made back when both genders wore a ton of make-up, so the male lead looks like Dracula. Worse is the fact that the period shows in the plentiful sexism and the rampant racism. The thing frankly isn't all that funny, and many jokes are repeated. Our main character is obnoxious. The plot isn't that engaging; I was never that into this. Pacing is uneven. It does take the audience to exotic places around the world, if it prefers to show little of them(and is it just me, or is the tone negative towards them? Was the xenophobia *that* bad?). As a plus, there is a good speech about love. The quality of sound and image is reasonable. I recommend this purely to completists. 6/10

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

a bit preachy and "strange"

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
19 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Hitchcock movie bears little similarity to his later suspense films and seems much more like a very old fashioned morality tale. A young couple receives an inheritance that they believe will make them happy. They spend the money traveling about the world and living a very hedonistic existence. However, after a while the excitement begins to wane and the couple become dissipated and pointless in their existence. Later, out of no where, when they are on a luxury cruise, the ship sinks and they lose everything--and end up much happier in the end because they now appreciate life!

What an odd, silly and preachy film! It makes its point with all the subtlety of a 2x4 upside your head and the plot seemed amateurish and overly moralistic. Personally, I'd like to inherit all that money and find out if it makes me miserable! I'd also like the film to try to make a point with a bit more finesse and a lot less obviousness. The production values are relatively poor compared to later productions--a rough film with poor sound quality and rather amateurish acting. Not terrible but not especially good.

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