Shanghai Express (1932)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Release Date - Feb 2, 1932 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by Brendon Hanley

Shanghai Express is one of the best, and arguably the most popular, of the seven films that director Josef von Sternberg made with Marlene Dietrich. As usual, the strikingly photographed Dietrich looks like a goddess, but she also delivers a fine performance as Shanghai Lily, a woman of debatable reputation. Von Sternberg creates a suspenseful atmosphere, rich with memorable characterizations. Still, the film's visual design is its most distinctive aspect; Lee Garmes' cinematography won him an Academy Award. In keeping with the overall look, Shanghai's sets and costumes are brilliantly ornate. The story would be remade in 1942 as the little-seen Night Plane from Chungking and in 1951 as Peking Express, neither of which could achieve the allure of the von Sternberg production, which was also nominated for Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.