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A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy Charteris, wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, forcing Gin Sling to vacate by the coming Chinese New Year. Under orders from Gin Sling, who has found out Poppy is Charteris' daughter, the smarmy Doctor Omar leads Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling and alcohol. Gin Sling, realizing that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her, plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has a suprise of his own to spring on Gin Sling. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
In the play, the setting was a brothel run by "Mother Goddam", who was once sold into prostitution, and it dealt with drug addition and nymphomania as well. Many initial adaptations of the original play were rejected by the Hays office, and they discouraged studios from making the film. The Chinese consulate also voiced objections to the portrayal of the Chinese in the play. See more »
You don't drink, Mother Gin Sling? Is your name Chinese or English?
'Mother' Gin Sling:
Indeed Gin Sling is English. It's a nickname as common in this part of the world as the drink sold over the counter.
Why Gin Sling? Why not Whiskey Soda?
'Mother' Gin Sling:
There was a girl called Whiskey Soda too. And another one - Martini. And one called Scotch Highball, another Benedictine. In other places I might have been called Rose, or Violet, or Lily, or, eh, even Poppy.
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Opening credits: "Years ago a speck was torn away from the mystery of China and became Shanghai. A distorted mirror of problems that beset the world today, it grew into a refuge for people who wished to live between the lines of laws and customs - - a modern Tower of Babel. Neither Chinese, European, British nor American it maintained itself for years in the ever increasing whirlpool of war. Its destiny, at present, is in the lap of the Gods - - as is the destiny of all cities. Our story has nothing to do with the present." See more »
Don't believe anyone who tells you this movie is bad - it is wonderful. The casino set with its art deco sculptures is a work of art and the music is superb. The play the script is based on is by John P. Marquand, who wrote the Mr. Moto books. I think in the original Poppy becomes addicted to drugs as well as to Dr. Omar. Gene Tierney is great as the girl who slides into degeneracy. All the ensemble cast are wonderful: the earthy chorus girl, the sinister old Chinese man who says he admires white women for their "intelligence and sense of humour" as his hands outline a voluptuous figure in the air. Mike Mazurski as a thug who acts as an ever-present Fate figure haunting Sir Guy Charteris (Walter Huston). The elderly notable who regrets so politely that he must close Mother Gin Sling's operation down. Mother G herself with her bitter, drawling voice that has foresuffered all. See it if you can! This film is art! (Oh, I forgot the smiling character who plays Chopin in the casino/brothel.)
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