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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 11 April 2011
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This review is from: Shanghai Express [DVD] (DVD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Nov 2011 20:14:16 GMT
Ronald Haak says:
Watch late 1930s Charlie Chan movies & you'll see Werner Oland (the Swedish actor here) again, this time as the kindly detective cracking Confucious epigrams and enjoying himself in the long feature series.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2011 05:25:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Nov 2011 05:25:32 GMT
I agree with Julian...this movie does look FANTASTIC. Von Sternberg's use of shadows is masterful. A beautiful, beautiful movie...with two beautiful women to boot, Marlene Deitrich and Anna May Wong. This movie is worth seeing repeatedly.
As for Ronald's post...he's right. Many consider Oland's work in the Chan series (he was the first star who was cast repeatedly in the role of Charlie Chan) as being his trademark movie gig, though I consider his work in Shanghai Express as being , perhaps, his masterpiece.
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