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 »
Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Edward Everett Horton
Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) ... See full summary »
The setting is the Civil War and its aftermath. Belle's family has lost their land to Yankees. She marries Confederate guerilla leader Sam Starr and they continue activities against ... See full summary »
Susan Miller works behind the girdle counter in a department store and dreams about the beautiful clothes and glamour she can never hope to have. Enter May Worthington and Warren, a pair of... See full summary »
Highly fictionalized early history of Canada. Trapper/explorer Radisson imagines an empire around Hudson's Bay. He befriends the Indians, fights the French, and convinces King Charles II to sponsor an expedition of conquest.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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[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 »
"The Shanghai Gesture" has an allure and a power that is hard to define.
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.
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