7.4/10
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58 user 47 critic

Shanghai Express (1932)

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Writers:

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

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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 Lil 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 Lil 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 guerillas stop the train, Dr. Harvey is selected as the hostage. Lil 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:

Many Men Had Loved Her -- but only one had been loved in return !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Cantonese | German

Release Date:

12 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El expreso de Shanghai See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,700,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fourth, out of seven, feature-film collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich. See more »

Goofs

The telegraph forms shown on screen are filled out in Chinese and meant to be Chinese, but in fact are in English and therefore American. See more »

Quotes

Shanghai Lily: When I needed your faith, you withheld it; and now, when I don't need it, and don't deserve it, you give it to me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Marlene Dietrich (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Excellent Marlene Dietrich Romance Film
26 February 2000 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Nine first-class passengers board a train to travel the 3-day trip from Peiping, China, to Shanghai. Nine souls with widely varying backgrounds & uncertain futures. For they are traveling into countryside racked by civil war and one of their number may not be all he seems. What dangers await & who will survive the journey on the SHANGHAI EXPRESS?

Marlene Dietrich is mysteriously beautiful as Shanghai Lilly, a `coaster' (a woman living by her wits on the coast of China) whom all men - and most viewers- find fascinating. Clive Brook, a silent film star little remembered now, is very effective as the British Army doctor who was once Lilly's lover. Anna May Wong plays an exotic Chinese prostitute who is used to taking care of herself.

The supporting cast is equally good: Warner Oland as a sly Eurasian; Eugene Pallette as a jovial American gambler; Lawrence Grant as a grumpy old English missionary; Gustav von Seyffertitz as an invalid German with a dangerous secret; Emile Chautard as an elderly French Major with a hidden past; and wonderful old Louise Closser Hale as a feisty American widow who runs `the best boarding house in Shanghai.'

Paramount put a lot of money into this pre-Production Code adventure drama, which has an exciting plot, good acting & plenty of romance. The Peiping scenes, with the crowded tenements squeezing right down to the very railroad tracks, are especially well done.


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