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-busine... Read allIn 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.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.
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. —Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
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.
- Nov 15, 2002
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