10 user 2 critic

Shadows Over Shanghai (1938)

Approved | | Drama | 14 October 1938 (USA)
A pilot carrying a valuable amulet is shot down over China by a ruthless Russian agent, who also wants the amulet.


Charles Lamont


Joseph Hoffman (screenplay), Richard Sale (original story) (as Richard B. Sale)




Cast overview:
James Dunn ... Johnny McGinty
Ralph Morgan ... Howard Barclay
Robert Barrat ... Igor Sargoza
Lynda Grey Lynda Grey ... Irene Roma (as Linda Gray)
Paul Sutton ... Yokahama
Edward Woods ... Peter Roma
Edwin Mordant Edwin Mordant ... Dr. Adams
Chester Gan ... Lun Sat Li
Victor Wong ... Wu Chang
Edward Keane ... American Consul
Billy Bevan ... Gallicuddy
William Haade ... Captain Murphy
Richard Loo ... Fong
Victor Sen Yung ... Wang (as Victor Young)


Irene Roma, a young Russian teacher at an American mission near Shanghai, is entrusted with an amulet by her brother Peter Roma, who has been wounded by Igor Sargoza, a discredited Russian secret agent, who is aware of the amulet's value. Needing a Russian passport in order to leave Shanghai, Irene presents her problem to Howard Barclay, an English friend of her brother's, and his friend, Johnny McGinty, an American newspaper photographer. Barclay suggests that McGinty marry her, thereby giving her his American citizenship. A Chinese friend sends the bride a beautiful mandarin figure, to be used as an incense burner but Johnny decides to use it as a hiding place for the amulet. Barclay learns that the marriage does not make Irene an American citizen, but he obtains a Chinese special passport and the three friends, after beating off another attack by the Sargoza gang, reach the Japanese merchant ship that is to take then to safety. On ship they encounter Fuji Yokahama who has learned ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gambling with death... for a $5,000,000 stake! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecasts of this film in New York City occurred Monday 16 October 1944 on NBC's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1), and Monday 14 October 1946 on Dumont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5), in Los Angeles Sunday 11 April 1948 on Dumont's KTLA (Channel 5), in Baltimore Saturday 19 June 1948 on WBAL (Channel 11), and in Chicago Saturday 17 July 1948 on WGN (Channel 9). See more »


The Japanese bombers attacking Shanghai appear to be American Martin MB-2s, which featured in Wings disguised as German Gothas. See more »

User Reviews

Way too talky story set during the Japanese invasion of China
6 July 2006 | by dbborroughsSee all my reviews

Irene, a woman living in China watches as her brother is shot down by an unknown airman. The brother survives but is too weak to continue with his mission which involves taking part of an amulet to San Fransisco to get money for the Chinese war effort against the Japanese. She is warned about the man who shot the brother, a Soviet military man who wants the money for his own. She is also told to look up a certain person in Shanghai if she gets into trouble. Once in Shanghai she runs a fowl of of the villain and escapes thanks to a wounded newspaper photographer, named McGinty, heading home to America. Linking up with her brothers friend the trio tries to get out of the city before the Japanese completely over run it and before the bad guys get them.

Considerably duller than the description makes out (I forgot the villains name and Ralph Morgans as well and I'm not impressed enough to look it up). This is a low budget film that takes into account the then current event of the Japanese Invasion of Shanghai. Despite the use of stock news footage this is a mostly stage bound espionage yarn that substitutes talk for action. Yes its well written, but it lacks any real action until the final reel or two to keep it interesting. The lack of action becomes numbing and I did have to fight to keep awake.

This isn't to say its a bad film, its not,its just a bit too talky for its own good. Lets face it you have to give the film points since the film kept me watching to the end because I had to see how it came out.

Would I recommend it? Well I wouldn't go out of my way to see it but if I found it on I would let it run out its running time. There are worse films and there are better, but in a pinch, on the Late Late Late Movie it would be fine.

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Release Date:

14 October 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thunder Over China See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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