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25
4.4 out of 5 stars
Shanghai Express [DVD]
Format: DVDChange
Price:£5.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2009
Shanghai Express is a gorgeous film. If you like films of the 1930s, this one is a must-have. The actors and the locales are beautiful and exotic. The lead actors have real chemistry and the cast of supporting characters,played by the greatest character star actors of the '30s, is wonderful. All are interesting, engaging and fun to watch. The beautiful lighting is of major importance in creating the ambiance all through the film. The costumes, of their period, are lovely. The setting is wartime in China and the director, Joseph von Sternberg, while concentrating on the romance, still manages to convey wartime atmosphere without putting much overt blood and violence on the screen. Aside from the reunion and rekindling of the romance between Dietrich and handsome Clive Brook, there are sensitively told stories of the role racism played in the lives of two of the characters played by Anna May Wong and Warner Oland. The only aspect of the film which might be problematic for 21st century viewers is the very stagy acting. But I love it. Shanghai Express is one of my all-time favorite films. In the US and Canada you must have an all-region DVD player to watch this. I bought one to watch this and other great films only available in non-North American formats.
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92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
So that you know what great value for money this set really is, here's a list of movies contained in this box set.

I can understand why you might be wary of spending your hard earned cash on this box set when Amazon have unaccountably failed to list the movies it contains... odd since the Amazon DVD rental system provides a complete list - so the info is in Amazon's databases somewhere...c'mon Amazon I thought you were slicker than that!

Anyway, here's the list of the 6 movies contained in this box set:

The Lady is Willing,

Shanghai Express (highly recommended by me, see those breathtaking railway station sets!)

Destry Resides Again

A Foreign Affair

Blonde Venus

The Devil is a Woman.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2011
As a fan of Marlene Dietrich, I felt this movie was by the best of her early American releases and collaborations with director Josef von Sternberg. The acting and direction are flawless and the whole compact timeframe of just 78 minutes made the whole storyline rattle along at a decent pace for the era the film was made in.

The only downside I would say is that there are no DVD extras but at such a low price, it doesn't really matter. I would highly recommend this wonderful little film to anybody who wishes to find out more about either Marlene Dietrich or Josef von Sternberg. (And also to anyone who wishes to find out how America percieved China in the early 1930s!)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2011
Although Universal has released this handsome studio print of Shanghai Express (1932) on DVD in the U.K., Europe and Australia, you're very fortunate since they've never released a Region 1 DVD in the U.S. This is an exquisite film. Marlene has never been more beautiful as a woman of dubious reputation who will go to any extreme to protect the man she loves, even if the little reputation she has takes a direct hit as a result. Though melodramatic in a fun way, the direction by Von Sternberg is magnificent in this tale of the Chinese Civil War and an-ill fated train trip to Shanghai. Rich with texture and contrast, the film features Marlene Dietrich at her most sultry (and beautifully dressed and coiffed), ably assisted by Anna May Wong at HER must sultry. Two bombshells in one movie! How great is that? What's more, out of the many thousands of movies I've watched over the years, this one has my all-time favorite movie quotation -- from Marlene: "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2009
As a youngster I rarely saw Marlene Dietrich movies on the TV probably because she was German and there was still anti German feeling in the UK at that time or maybe because the USA kept these fabulous movies to themselves. These movies are worth watching just for the photography and gowns.The stories must have been shocking in their day but with the message to the audience that prejudice and judgement are destructive thought processes.
I didnt know what to expect of Miss Dietrich's performances what I received was mesmerising. What a beautiful woman and what watchable performances. Stunning and worth every penny
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2011
I liked this film a lot. First of all it looks fantastic, and it's easy to see why it won an Oscar for Best Cinematography. It's also easy to see how it got nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. It's direct, witty and well paced as well as being tense and deadly serious in places. Some of the characters at first seem present mostly in order to be mocked, but as the film develops we find that they aren't one dimensional at all. Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong are completely perfect as the two very glamourous, worldly and sometimes ruthless women. I was surprised to find out that the sinister Mr Chang is played by a Swedish actor. He looks the part and had me fooled. If you've watched The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) you'll have seen another Swede (Nils Asther) quite convincingly play a Chinese villain in a pre-code US movie...very odd. Perhaps this is a mystery that Wallander could solve.

The picture quality isn't the best, with a lot of grain and noise and some scratches etc. but the movie is so absorbing that it didn't matter too much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2011
I had not seen this film for 15 or 20 years and it is as good as I remembered. Apart that is from the male lead who is basically wooden to the point of splinters. However, it has two jumps due to missing footage. One of these, about 2/3rds through, is quite big and obvious. It seems a shame that Universal have put this film out without doing the proper restoration work. That being the case I can only give it 4 stars and not the 5 it deserves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Shanghai Express is directed by Josef von Sternberg and written by Jules Furthman (adaptation) & Harry Hervey (story). It stars Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brooks, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Eugene Palette and Lawrence Grant. Music is by W. Franke Harling & Rudoplh G. Kopp and cinematography by Lee Garmes.

Plot finds Shanghai Lily (Dietrich) meeting up with old flame Donald Harvey (Brooks) aboard the Shanghai Express during the Chinese Civil War in 1931. However, this train has many passengers with secrets to hide, so when some rebels ambush the train, such things as loyalties, friendships, hidden motives and the birthing of legends come to the fore.

Stylishly crafted by Sternberg and brisker than the other collaborations with Dietrich, Shanghai Express thrives on atmospheric visuals, strong scripting and a sultry turn from the leading lady. The cramped confines of the train allow Sternberg to dally with trademark shadows, smoke and shafts of light for maximum effect, garnering Garmes an Oscar in the process, while there is deft deadpannery amongst the myriad of intriguing characters.

Quality film making on both sides of the camera and also off of the writers desk. 8/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2014
This is more a review of Amazon.UK's sloppiness than of the film, which is one of my favorites. The accompanying info on the site states that the presentation is 84 minutes long. Wrong. It's 78 minutes and change-- nearly six minutes shorter than claimed. The print itself is heavily worn, scratched, and choppy. The American TCM disc is infinitely superior. Amazon should have verified the length before posting it. I ordered this especially from the UK site for the length, two minutes more than the U.S. Disc. It's worthless to me, but too much of a pain in the ass to fool with further. hfs
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2012
This pre-Code picture stars Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, and Warner Oland, and is the fourth of seven teamings of Sternberg and Dietrich. The film is memorable for its stylish black-and-white chiaroscuro cinematography. Though Lee Garmes was awarded the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Dietrich holds that it was Sternberg who was responsible for most of it.

In 1931, China is embroiled in a civil war. Anna May Wong, the only significant Asian femme fatale in cinema history, and Marlene Dietrich, notorious Shanghai Lily, are two "coasters" - "woman who live by their wits along the China coast" traveling on the express train from Peking to Shanghai. Friends of British Captain Donald "Doc" Harvey (Brook) envy him because of his fellow passengers.

On the journey, Harvey encounters his former lover, Magdalen (Dietrich). Five years earlier, she had played a trick on Harvey to gauge his love for her, but it backfired and he left her. It becomes apparent that his feelings also have not changed. In the following, the train is taken over by rebels; tumultuous scuffles, threats and murders occur. In the end, Doc and Lily are reunited for good.

94 - Shanghai Express by Josef von Sternberg (1932, 80') - 28/6/2012
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