While traveling on a train from Peking to Shanghai, a notorious prostitute named Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) runs into her former flame (Clive Brook) who is held hostage and whom she could intervene to save.
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Surely iconic, Shanghai Express is to be watched in a psychotropic mood of fascination or terminal, bridge-burning melancholy. Formal, uncommitted, an-intense, non-seducing, transported beyond critical negativity (its human interactions are either arthritic like society games of manners or wearing their hearts on starched sleeves) & positive feedback, it is a piece of film DNA & early example of hyperrealism that may
After an underwhelming run of catching up on this year's Oscar contenders, it was refreshing to revisit a classic of pre-Code Hollywood weirdness. Don't go into a Sternberg movie expecting an airtight tale of intrigue. His method is more to drop a woman like Marlene Dietrich—not to mention Anna May Wong—into the middle of a flimsy plot whose action is ostensibly driven by (much less interesting) men. A wet nightmare.
Esta pelicula contiene unos los mejores encuadres de Marlene Dietrich en el cine y la escencia de los personajes que la hizo la famosa femme fatale del cine. Lo mejor es el descenlace de una pelicula que parece no va a ninguna parte, con un ritmo soso y personajes de relleno. Destaca la fotografía y el sonido, un constante sonar del tren sobre los dialogos.
i think this looks better without comparison to the other dietrich/von sternberg collaborations, but in the context of the others (which is how i saw it) it felt mostly unmemorable besides a few classic marlene moments and a generous handful of beautiful shots
Dietrich was more herself in Wilder's "A Foreign Affair," and she gave a more captivating performance in the Borzage/Lubitsch "Desire," but in "Shanghai Express" she was at her most ironic. There has never been and there will never be anyone like her.