7.3/10
7,905
66 user 56 critic

Shanghai Express (1932)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 12 February 1932 (USA)
A notorious woman rides a train through a dangerous situation with a British captain she loved.

Writers:

Jules Furthman (screen play), Harry Hervey (based on the story by)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlene Dietrich ... Shanghai Lily
Clive Brook ... Captain Donald Harvey
Anna May Wong ... Hui Fei
Warner Oland ... Henry Chang
Eugene Pallette ... Sam Salt
Lawrence Grant ... Mr. Carmichael
Louise Closser Hale ... Mrs. Haggerty
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Eric Baum
Emile Chautard ... Major Lenard
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Storyline

Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lily is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three days. The British Army doctor, Donald Harvey, knew Lily before she became a famous "coaster." A fellow passenger defines a coaster as "a woman who lives by her wits along the China coast." When Chinese guerrillas stop the train, Dr. Harvey is selected as the hostage. Lily saves him, but can she make him believe that she really hasn't changed from the woman he loved five years before? Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

On the "Shanghai Express", hurtling toward rebel lines of death she meets the only man she had ever loved in all her fevered life! She whom they called "Shanghai Lily"! He, with a woman to forget! (Print Ad-New York Sun, ((New York, NY)) 17 February 1932) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Hays Office expressed concern about the unlikable character of the minister, which prompted a revision of the script. Other concerns included the remark by Chang that he was not proud of his white blood, but that line remains in the print. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in northern China (Peking to Shanghai). The government and warlord soldiers are speaking Taishanese, which is a southern Chinese dialect not generally spoken in northern China. The northern dialects of Mandarin Chinese (a Beijing dialect) and/or Shanghainese would be spoken instead. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Henry Chang: All the money in the world can't wipe out his insult to me.
[Shanghai Lily tries to shoot him]
Mr. Henry Chang: You only had my interest before. Now you have my admiration. I could love a woman like you.
Shanghai Lily: You made me an offer to leave with you. Does it still hold good?
Mr. Henry Chang: I wouldn't trust you from here to the door. What assurance have I you won't trick me?
Shanghai Lily: I give you my word of honor.
Mr. Henry Chang: A man is a fool to trust any woman, but I believe a word of honor would mean something to you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Comments in the AFI Catalogue suggest the credits were changed when re-released in 1935. According to the Catalogue, the original print referred to Harry Herveys work as a novel. In the viewed print on TCM, the onscreen credit was "story." The print was clearly a re-released print because of the PCA certificate number listed onscreen; such numbers were not issued until 1934. It is not known what other changes were made, if any, but the print ran only 82 minutes, suggesting some additional editing had been done. See more »

User Reviews

A very good movie.
24 October 1999 | by chris-459See all my reviews

Many consider "The Shanghai Express" the best von Sternberg/ Dietrich film. Perhaps. I certainly agree that it is a very good movie. The story is a bit trivial: two lovers meet again after five years. They were separated due to the lack of faith he had in her. This film is a journey. In fact, two kinds of journeys: a physical one, since the set is a moving train, and a psychological one, since during this journey Captain Harvey (Clive Brook) gains fate, essential to a love relationship. The train movements seem to indicate the attraction Captain Harvey and Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) feel for each other. This movie gives us one of the most beautiful images in movie history: Dietrich in the dark, smoking a cigarette, with the famous light that gave her that famous "butterfly shadow".


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Cantonese | German

Release Date:

12 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shanghai Express See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$8,066,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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