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George Raft has a go in the post-war Shanghai black market
Intrigue (1947) is a film noir at first and intermittently, but the tone veers notably into sentimentality and preachiness in parts too. Raft is good, Havoc is striking but her part is weak, and Helena Carter is very pretty. Tom Tully is convincing as a crusading reporter. The Chinese children are cute. The action is sometimes too convenient and clichéd. It's an uneven movie, not fully or well developed.
The writers wanted to expose the black market in post-war Shanghai but they failed badly. There is one mention of the inflation, and that's all. The movie doesn't recognize the war between the Nationalists and the Communists. The Nationalists had overvalued the currency (fapi) in 1945. Notes flooded into Shanghai forcing prices up by 1/3 each month. The Nationalist response was more note-printing and rigid price controls, including on rice. That produced shortages. There was indeed corruption and there were some black market kingpins. Although Chiang's son was in charge of controlling Shanghai, some kingpins with connections to Chiang and his wife got their way (Tu Yu-shan was one.) Theft and hi-jacking need to be distinguished from ordinary black markets. The latter are a symptom of the price controls, not a cause. "Intrigue" fails all the way around to work reality into the story and spin a good tale.
The print I watched was very clear, and this helped.
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