4 user 1 critic

The Shanghai Drama (1938)

Le drame de Shanghaï (original title)
A Russian emigrant sings in a Shanghai nightclub under the assumed name of Kay Murphy. All she dreams of is a peaceful life with her daughter Vera. But this is only a pipe dream as she has ... See full summary »


(as G.W. Pabst)


(as A. Arnoux), (novel) (as O.P. Gilbert) | 3 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Cast overview, first billed only:
Christl Mardayn ...
Mme Blonski / la chanteuse Kay Murphy (as Christiane Mardayne)
L'aventurier Ivan
Le journaliste André Franchon
Dorville ...
Big-Bill, le patron de la boîte de nuit
Suzanne Desprès ...
La gouvernante Niania (as Suzanne Despres)
La directrice du collège
Mila Parély ...
La capitaine des girls (as Mila Parely)
Robert Manuel ...
Le client attaqué (as Robert Manuel de la Comédie-Française)
Marcel Lupovici ...
Un tueur du Serpent Noir (as M. Lupovici)
Foun-Sen ...
Mme Tsé
Linh-Nam ...
Ky Duyen ...
Mr. Wang (as Ky-Duyen)


A Russian emigrant sings in a Shanghai nightclub under the assumed name of Kay Murphy. All she dreams of is a peaceful life with her daughter Vera. But this is only a pipe dream as she has been forced by her former lover Ivan to work for a secret criminal organization, "The Black Dragon". Vera, who studies in a Hong Kong boarding-school, knows nothing about her mother's past. When Ivan, who is also Vera's father, resurfaces and blackmails Kay, the young woman is determined to fight back... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 January 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shanghai Drama  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Contrary to the custom of the time, Austrian actress Christl Mardayn was not dubbed for this film. This is due to the fact she spoke very good French. One can detect occasionally a trace of accent in certain scenes however. See more »


Toi L'inconnu Dont J'ai Révé
Music by Ralph Erwin
Lyrics by Louis Poterat
Sung by Christl Mardayn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Intrigue in Shanghai on eve of second Sino-Japanese war
27 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Shanghai Drama" (1938) is a French movie set in Shanghai just prior to the Japanese invasion in July of 1937. It comes complete with an "in-between" or soft or conflicted femme fatale (Christl Mardayn) who has been railroaded into her role by circumstances and Louis Jouvet, by whom she had a daughter (Elina Labourdette) 16 years earlier. They're Russian emigres. She thinks him dead but he reappears. Tying things together is Raymond Rouleau as a French journalist.

The political background of the story is essential to the intrigue. It seems to reflect basically the communist (left) vs. the nationalist right. The left-wing leader (Linh-Nam), however, makes an appeal for peace and unity among all classes, so he's not a doctrinaire anti-bourgeoisie communist. The right-wing is represented by a secret society called the Black Dragon, and they're the villains of the piece out to do Linh-Nam in. Mardayn is caught in the middle. Her troubles escalate when her daughter arrives after a 7 year absence at boarding school in Hong Kong.

G.W. Pabst directed. This film is certainly worth seeing. To whom? Well, to fans of French cinema for one thing; to those interested in exotic locales and spy stories; to those who are fans of Rouleau and Jouvet. More generally, it's a pretty good story with a mixture of elements, including some songs, that keep it moving. There's Dorville playing a heavy, the night club owner, Big Bill.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: