Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • TBC
  • Adventure, Drama
  • 1932
  • 84 mins

Shanghai Express

Shanghai Express

Synopsis

Marlene Dietrich's call girl Shanghai Lil is caught up in a web of intrigue in this exotic, train-set adventure

About

Train journeys are only ever exciting in the movies, and they rarely come better than this Dietrich classic (which picked up a slew of Oscar nominations, including Best Film and Best Director for Sternberg, but ultimately only won for Garmes' stunning cinematography).

This time the train in question is travelling from Shanghai to Peking during the Chinese Civil War, playing host to the usual array of problematic characters. All manner of disasters occur, mainly as a result of the train being stormed by government troops, but the romantic sub-plot involves the shenanigans of high-class prostitute Shanghai Lily (Dietrich) and her ex-lover (Brook) who also happens to be travelling first-class. You can see where the big budget, starry 1970s disaster flicks got their inspiration from but, with its classy acting and scenery, this is a hundred times better, while Dietrich commands the screen as the hooker with a past

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Clive Brook, Lawrence Grant, Eugene Pallette, Marlene Dietrich
  • Director: Josef Von Sternberg
  • Writer: Jules Furthman
  • Producer: Adolph Zukor
  • Photographer: Lee Garmes

In a nutshell

Dietrich illuminates this stylish adventure, and it remains a high point among her many collaborations with director Von Sternberg.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Apache Territory

    Western with Rory Calhoun. A drifter finds himself in charge of a desperate stand against Apache warriors who are determined to either expel incomers from their domain or kill them.

    On Film4: 25 May 1:15PM

  • Film4

    I Wish

    Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's critically acclaimed, charming drama explores the lives of two young brothers whose parents have separated.

    On Film4: 31 May 1:00AM

  • Film4

    The World's End on Film4

    Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star in the final instalment of Edgar Wright's Cornetto trilogy.

  • Film4

    Prisoners on Film4

    Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman star in the network premiere of Prisoners, from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share