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The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 January 1942 (USA)
In Shanghai, dragon-lady 'Mother' Gin Sling operates a gambling house for wealthy patrons but she clashes with influential land developer Sir Guy Charteris who wants to put her out-of-business.

Writers:

Josef von Sternberg (adaptation), Geza Herczeg (collaborator for adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Tierney ... Poppy
Walter Huston ... Sir Guy Charteris
Victor Mature ... Doctor Omar
Ona Munson ... 'Mother' Gin Sling
Phyllis Brooks ... The Chorus Girl
Albert Bassermann ... The Commissioner
Maria Ouspenskaya ... The Amah
Eric Blore ... The Bookkeeper
Ivan Lebedeff ... The Gambler
Mike Mazurki ... The Coolie
Clyde Fillmore Clyde Fillmore ... The Comprador
Grayce Hampton ... The Social Leader
Rex Evans Rex Evans ... The Counselor
Mikhail Rasumny ... The Appraiser (as Mikhail Rasumni)
Michael Dalmatoff Michael Dalmatoff ... The Bartender (as Michael Delmatoff)
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mystery-lure of the Far East! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Chinese

Release Date:

15 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La pecadora de Shanghai See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arnold Pressburger Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (1981) (restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The mural that appears in the casino was painted by Keye Luke. See more »

Quotes

'Mother' Gin Sling: [on being a sex slave] My soles cut open and pebbles sewn inside to keep me from running away!
See more »

Crazy Credits

[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 »

Connections

Featured in The First Monday in May (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Carroll
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Played on piano by Rex Evans at Gin Sling's dinner party
See more »

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User Reviews

Madness...madness...
15 November 2002 | by cairnsdavidSee all my reviews

All Von Sternberg films deserve to be seen on the big screen for their visual beauty, but this one also benefits from videoviewing - you can wind it back at those moments when you HAVE to ask, "Did I just see/hear that???" Gene Tierney would evolve into a fine actress, but she's terrible here -think Elizabeth Berkeley in SHOWGIRLS - only MUCH better looking, so we forgive her. Walter Huston is magnificent as always. Oona Munson seizes her role between her teeth and relishes every bite. "The soles of my feet cut open and pebbles sown into them to stop me running away..." YUCK! The loopy plot makes imperfect sense due to many many cuts by the censors, and maybe Maria Ouspenskaya had more to do in some previous, even madder version of the film, but it's an oneiric, mind-reeling romp of staggering decadence and grandeur. One story has Little Jo directing from atop a crane, from which he would toss silver dollars to actors who pleased him, while he himself claims he directed it lying flat on his back. Neither would surprise me, seeing the result.


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