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The Shanghai Story (1954)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 1 September 1954 (USA)
In post-WW2 Shanghai, expatriate Westerners are detained in the Waldorf Hotel until the Communists can identify a suspected spy among them but some prisoners try to outwit the interrogators and the armed guards and flee.


Frank Lloyd


Steve Fisher (screenplay), Seton I. Miller (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Roman ... Rita King
Edmond O'Brien ... Dr. Dan Maynard
Richard Jaeckel ... 'Knuckles' Greer
Barry Kelley ... Ricki Dolmine
Whit Bissell ... Paul Grant
Basil Ruysdael ... Rev. Hollingsworth
Marvin Miller ... Colonel Zorek
Yvette Duguay ... Mrs. Leah De Verno (as Yvette Dugay)
Paul Picerni ... Mr. Emilio De Verno
Isabel Randolph ... Mrs. Merryweather
Philip Ahn ... Major Ling Wu
Frances Rafferty ... Mrs. Warren
Frank Ferguson ... Mr. Haljerson
James Griffith ... Carl Hoyt
John Alvin ... Mr. Warren


Too many years in the Orient have made a bitter man of Dr. Dan Maynard (Edmond O'Brien), an American surgeon, and too little emotional stability has tarnished the Tangier-born Rita King (Ruth Roman). They meet when a night-raid by Shanghai's police chief brings all westerners together in the Waldorf House Hotel, where they are interned under the guardianship of the coldly cruel Major Ling Wu (Philip Ahn). Only Rita is free to come and go due to her friendship with Shanghai;s new police chief, Colonal Zorek (Marvin Miller. The liberty and luxury in which she lives arouses Maynard's contempt. But his opinion changes when she is instrumental in getting Major Wu replaced and punished, and when she arranges for a young girl, Penny Warren (Jeanne Perreau'), to be taken to a hospital for an emergency operation. But when a spy hunt reaches a bitter climax, and an internee is shot down while trying to escape, Maynard believes the tip-off came from Rita. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Frank Lloyd...Hollywood's three-time Academy Award Winner brings you the uncensored story behind the BAMBOO CURTAIN! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hotel Schanghai See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It's World Television Premiere was 9 March 1958 on New York's WRCA-TV, Channel 4. See more »


Colonel Zorek: Did you forget our curfew law, doctor? No one is allowed on the streets after 7 without a permit. Why did you try to escape?
Dr. Dan Maynard: Is that what I was trying to do?
Colonel Zorek: [Reading notes] Left your office at 9:21. Cross Nanjing Road at Khartoum through narrow winding alley to Honan Road one block north. Reach Soochow Creek at 9:38 by way of still another alley. Do you like dark, rat-infested alleys, doctor?
Dr. Dan Maynard: Which one did you crawl out of?
Colonel Zorek: You will speak to civil authorities with respect.
Dr. Dan Maynard: A stooge and a Commie...
Colonel Zorek: [...]
See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

The writing is a let-down.
18 February 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

When the story begins, China has just fallen to the Communists in 1949. Oddly, although you would THINK all foreign nationals in China would be scared and on their best behaviors so as to not upset the new regime, the westerners in this film are all angry and stupid. After being moved by the new regime to wait at a hotel, they scream at their captors, make threats and pretty much seem like obnoxious idiots. This is odd since it's supposed to be a propagnda picture that is anti-communist. I found myself wanting to see a few of these idiots get shot...and so the film really did not do its intended job! Fortunately, the obnoxious behaviors diminished as the film progressed.

The Chinese communists in this film are almost uniformly stupid, paranoid and evil. One is even apparently not above using extortion to try force one of the prisoners to put out for him. And, though the course of the film, these Chinese become more violent and nasty.

The odd person out in all this is Rita King (Ruth Roman). Unlike the other westerners, she is free to come and go from the hotel...presumably because she's putting out for one of the higher Chinese officials. Because of this, the other internees avoid and dislike her. But through the course of the story, she turns out to have a heart of gold and tries her best to help these prisoners.

If you are looking for realism, this isn't a great film for you. Although the Chinese communists were a bloodthirsty lot, the western folks in the film are almost like cartoon characters and often lack realism. Making threats against your captors...that certainly seems odd and stupidly out of place, for example.

Overall, a rather obvious propaganda film which could have been better had the writing been better. I think the Chinese were portrayed reasonably well...but the rest seemed like caricatures instead of real people.

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