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The Shanghai Gesture (25-Dec-1941)

Director: Josef von Sternberg

Writer: Josef von Sternberg

From a play by: John Colton

Music Composed and Conducted by: Richard Hageman

Producer: Arnold Pressburger

Keywords: Drama, Film Noir

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Albert Bassermann
7-Sep-1867 15-May-1952 German actor
Eric Blore
23-Dec-1887 2-Mar-1959 Sullivan's Travels
Phyllis Brooks
18-Jul-1915 1-Aug-1995 The Shanghai Gesture
Marcel Dalio
17-Jul-1900 20-Nov-1983 The Sun Also Rises
Walter Huston
6-Apr-1884 7-Apr-1950 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Ivan Lebedeff
18-Jun-1895 31-Mar-1953 Russian-American character actor
Victor Mature
29-Jan-1913 4-Aug-1999 Samson and Delilah
Mike Mazurki
25-Dec-1907 9-Dec-1990 Murder, My Sweet
Ona Munson
16-Jun-1903 11-Feb-1955 Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind
Maria Ouspenskaya
29-Jul-1876 3-Dec-1949 Waterloo Bridge
Mikhail Rasumny
13-May-1890 17-Feb-1956 For Whom the Bell Tolls
Gene Tierney
19-Nov-1920 6-Nov-1991 Laura


Gene Tierney   ...   Poppy
Walter Huston   ...   Sir Guy Charteris
Victor Mature   ...   Dr. Omar
Ona Munson   ...   "Mother" Gin Sling
Phyllis Brooks   ...   The Chorus Girl
Albert Bassermann   ...   The Commissioner
Maria Ouspenskaya   ...   The Amah
Eric Blore   ...   The Bookkeeper
Ivan Lebedeff   ...   The Gambler
Mike Mazurki   ...   The Coolie
Clyde Fillmore   ...   The Comprador
Grayce Hampton   ...   The Social Leader
Rex Evans   ...   The Counselor
Mikhail Rasumny   ...   The Appraiser
Michael Delmatoff   ...   The Bartender
Marcel Dalio   ...   The Master of the Spinning Wheel


Review by Chicago Noir Fan (posted on 30-Dec-2007)

Brecht meets Sam Fuller. Pioneering noir esque film- . Too bad the DVD from Image does such a lousy job in transferring what was surely a great looking film. 'Shanghai Gesture's moralistic tale is set in Shanghai but universal in its 'final judgement' sequences. Rare to find a 40's film that seems to talk to adults. Not perfect, but a unique piece of art for its time.

Review by anonymous (posted on 18-Jul-2006)

Having just seen this odd noir I highly recommend it. The opening scene of Mother Gin Sling's nightclub is wild & decadent. All performances are over the top but Ona Munson as Mother Gin Sling's puts out any memory of her as Belle Watling in GWTW. Fascinating, who knew Gene Tierney could really let her hair down w/acting chops rarely seen in any of her roles. She plays a spoiled rich kid working the other side of the tracks and with a name like Poppy the setting couldn't get any better. Though Victor Mature gives her a run for the money and no one has looked better wearing a Fez (except maybe Elmer Fudd). This is a wild ride and an often overlooked noir who rates up there with the best of them.

Review by PBP (posted on 3-Jul-2007)

I saw this film when it first played in the local theater. In fact I waited for years for it to come up on tv reruns and I still have a tape copy of the film. B&W but it's a great film. I often use the ending line -- "You like chinese new year." It also was in my opinion one of Vic Mature best parts.

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