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The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,827 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 25 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (collaborator for adaptation), 4 more credits »
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Title: The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Poppy
...
Sir Guy Charteris
...
Doctor Omar
Ona Munson ...
'Mother' Gin Sling
Phyllis Brooks ...
The Chorus Girl
Albert Bassermann ...
The Commissioner
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
The Amah
Eric Blore ...
The Bookkeeper
...
The Gambler
...
The Coolie
Clyde Fillmore ...
The Comprador
Grayce Hampton ...
The Social Leader
Rex Evans ...
The Counselor
Mikhail Rasumny ...
The Appraiser (as Mikhail Rasumni)
Michael Dalmatoff ...
The Bartender (as Michael Delmatoff)
Edit

Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mystery-lure of the Far East! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shangai, ville de folies  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (1981) (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, on 1 February 1926 and had 206 performances. The opening night cast included C. Henry Gordon, Mary Duncan and William Worthington, with Florence Reed in the role of "Mother Goddam." A 1928 revival included J. Carrol Naish, who was also tested for a part in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Omar: The moving finger writes, and having writ - it moves on. Nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[after the cast credits] ... And a large cast of "HOLLYWOOD EXTRAS" who without expecting credit or mention stand ready day and night to do their best - - and who at their best are more than good enough to deserve mention. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gangs of New York (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Carroll
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Played on piano by Rex Evans at Gin Sling's dinner party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Shanghai Gesture" has an allure and a power that is hard to define.
8 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fascinating. Once I stumbled onto this movie, I could not stop watching it. When it was over, I had find out the title since I had missed the beginning. So I spent my Saturday morning checking the Turner Classic Movie T.V. schedule and then searching the internet to read about "The Shanghai Gesture" and it's director and actors/actresses.

One of my first questions: Who is that playing Mother Gin Sling? I know it is not Marlene Dietrich, but who? Answer: actress Ona Munson aka "Belle Watling" from "Gone With The Wind." I NEVER would have guessed. All sorts of familiar faces showed up in familiar and not so familiar roles. Like the croupier from "Casablanca," presiding over a much more sinister roulette table.

The visuals get you first. Images of a well of depravity leading to ruin and despair, yet glamorous all the way.

I liked the characterizations too. Walter Houston was excellent and believable as the "straight" businessman. Gene Tierney did an amazing transformation from decisive, strong, and elegant socialite to needy, pathetically transparent, and out of control young woman. Ona Munson played an impressive "dragon lady." Victor Mature's gigolo was appropriately jaded and manipulative.

It is a hypnotic and sensuous morality tale about the lure of sex, gambling, drugs, alcohol, and money and the danger of addiction to any of these to one's inner spirit. It also illustrates the high price of revenge, especially misplaced revenge.

A respectable film from the man who directed "The Blue Angel."

This film has an allure and a power that is hard to define. "The Shanghai Gesture" is not perfect, but it seizes hold of your attention and makes one think.


30 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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