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Shadows Over Shanghai (1938)

Approved | | Drama | 14 October 1938 (USA)
A pilot carrying a valuable amulet is shot down over China by a ruthless Russian agent, who also wants the amulet.



(screenplay), (original story) (as Richard B. Sale)


Cast overview:
Johnny McGinty
Howard Barclay
Igor Sargoza
Lynda Grey ...
Irene Roma (as Linda Gray)
Peter Roma
Edwin Mordant ...
Dr. Adams
Lun Sat Li
Wu Chang
American Consul
Captain Murphy
Wang (as Victor Young)


Irene Roma, a young Russian teacher at an American mission near Shanghai, is entrusted with an amulet by her brother Peter Roma, who has been wounded by Igor Sargoza, a discredited Russian secret agent, who is aware of the amulet's value. Needing a Russian passport in order to leave Shanghai, Irene presents her problem to Howard Barclay, an English friend of her brother's, and his friend, Johnny McGinty, an American newspaper photographer. Barclay suggests that McGinty marry her, thereby giving her his American citizenship. A Chinese friend sends the bride a beautiful mandarin figure, to be used as an incense burner but Johnny decides to use it as a hiding place for the amulet. Barclay learns that the marriage does not make Irene an American citizen, but he obtains a Chinese special passport and the three friends, after beating off another attack by the Sargoza gang, reach the Japanese merchant ship that is to take then to safety. On ship they encounter Fuji Yokahama who has learned ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | jewel | See All (2) »


Gambling with death... for a $5,000,000 stake! See more »








Release Date:

14 October 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ombre sur Shanghai  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecasts of this film in New York City occurred Monday 16 October 1944 on NBC's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1), and Monday 14 October 1946 on Dumont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5), in Los Angeles Sunday 11 April 1948 on Dumont's KTLA (Channel 5), in Baltimore Saturday 19 June 1948 on WBAL (Channel 11), and in Chicago Saturday 17 July 1948 on WGN (Channel 9). See more »


When Johnny enters the hotel lobby and goes to the area in which the three courtesy phones are located, the middle phone is in use. Johnny makes his call on the phone on the left, but when he finishes his conversation, he hangs up the middle phone. See more »

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User Reviews

This is a very strange little film! But, it is enjoyable.
21 October 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Shadows Over Shanghai" is a very strange film, as its plot and timing is quite odd. It's set during the Japanese invasion of China and takes a somewhat neutral stance on this aggressive and morally bankrupt war.

The film begins with a Irene Roma (Lynda Grey) waiting for her brother to fly home to the school she runs in China. However, at the last minute, another plane flies by and shoots him down--right in front of the horrified Irene! Fortunately, the brother is not dead and he entrusts a necklace to her--making her promise to get it to San Francisco. She runs from the school and drives to town on her mission--pursued by the evil Saragoza (Robert Barrat). She soon meets up with a nice-guy reporter, Johnny (James Dunn) and he and a new friend (Ralph Morgan*) help Irene escape from not just Sargoza but Japanese agents as well.

This is a very strange film. It appears as if the writers WANTED to do a film that condemned the Japanese for their bloody attacks on China. But, they hedged their bets and never quite took a strong stand--mostly because the US was officially neutral and because, sadly, Americans generally didn't care about what was happening in Asia. Regardless, it's entertaining and worth seeing--even if the end is a bit dissatisfying.

*Ralph was never nearly as famous as his brother, Frank (the Wizard in "The Wizard of Oz"). I never understood this, as Ralph was a really fine actor and deserves to be remembered. And, interestingly, he really does look an awful lot like Frank, though his acting seemed less bombastic and much more subtle.

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