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Shanghai Express (1932) Poster

Trivia

The extras in the film are all speaking Cantonese, a Chinese dialect focused mainly in southern China. If the film were to be more true to life, the extras would be speaking Mandarin, a more spoken dialect. However, most Chinese residents in the Los Angeles area spoke Cantonese, making von Sternberg use Cantonese.
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In her autobiography, Marlene Dietrich claimed that von Sternberg directed most of the cinematography, instead of Lee Garmes (who actually won an Oscar for his work on the film).
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It was von Sternberg's intention that the style of the film should reflect the rhythm of a train journey. This explains the film's tight pace and the rather staccato quality of the dialog.
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1000 extras were used in the making of the movie
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This was the highest grossing film of 1932 in USA and Canada.
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The Hays Office expressed concern about the unlikable character of the minister, which prompted a revision of the script. Other concerns included the remark by Chang that he was not proud of his white blood, but that line remains in the print.
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China initially banned the movie, demanding its withdrawal from worldwide circulation. The ban was lifted when Paramount pledged not to make another film involving Chinese politics.
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Director Josef von Sternberg designed the atmospheric sets alongside art director Hans Dreier.
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Howard Hawks made an uncredited contribution to the screenplay.
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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.
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The black-and-white leather gloves Dietrich wears at the start of the film were custom-made by Hermes.
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When Shanghai Lily and Harvey go into the final clinch, there is an advert for Guinness on the wall behind them.
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