Shanghai is a 1935 film directed by James Flood, produced by Walter Wanger, distributed by Paramount Pictures, and starring Loretta Young and Charles Boyer. The picture's supporting cast ... See full summary »
Colonel Loring Leigh, British Indian Army, appears to have issued an order that cost 90 lives. Cashiered, he returns home, tells his sons of a conspiracy by an arms syndicate to supply the rebels...then is found dead, an apparent suicide. To clear their father, the four sons must globetrot in a hazardous search for evidence, closely followed by Geoffrey's sweetheart Lynn Cherrington. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Once when director John Ford called Loretta Young to the set, the actress refused to leave her trailer until she was happy with her hair. After waiting for her for a while, Ford and several grips went to her trailer and began shaking and rocking it until she came out. See more »
Manders, the butler, is listed as Mullins in the credits. See more »
An excellent story idea indifferently executed--thanks mostly to a poor script
The basic story idea of FOUR MEN AND A PRAYER is excellent--that there is an international arms syndicate that instigates wars for profit. And, when a man (C. Aubrey Smith) gets in their way, they set him up and it's up to his four sons to clear their father's name. This first 15 minutes of the film really hooked me--what an exciting idea!!
Unfortunately, I continued watching the film. What bothered me most were the rather annoying and insipid character played by Loretta Young as well as the often silly and unconvincing writing (especially the dialog). Instead of a serious drama, lots of bad and inappropriate humor was injected into the film (such as the god-awful voice that David Niven did twice in the film). Think about it...these four brave lads are out to prove dad was NOT a coward as well as discover who is a murderer and yet they take time to make jokes, engage in insipid "gay banter" and even chase a skirt (Miss Young)--all while they are on a desperate world-wide chase to uncover the conspiracy AND ensure world peace!! The bottom line is that the first portion of the film was excellent and it appeared as if the writer died and was replaced by a couple of 8 year-olds who love comedy AND movie serials!! A very poor mix indeed and a film that is only just watchable and everyone involved should have been ashamed of the final product--especially since the film features many excellent actors. Think about it--George Sanders, C. Aubrey Smith, David Niven and Alan Hale AND the film still is bad--that is TOUGH to do! Frankly, I think my 4 might just be a might generous. Watch only if you are a huge fan of John Ford and want to see one of his few misfires.
While so far my review is the most negative about this film, I was shocked by one reviewer that gave it a 10! Even if I am off base, there is no way this film should be ranked up there with THE GODFATHER, GONE WITH THE WIND or MARTY. Even one reviewer, who liked it, described the film as "preposterous". 10?! A perfect film?! Certainly not!
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