Monday, November 2, 2009

1932 - SHANGHAI EXPRESS-Dietrich-Von Sternberg

Marlene Dietrich is iconic for a reason and the Shanghai Express shows why. She is carefully shot by photographer Lee Garmes and the director Josef Von Sternberg. Every camera angle has been planned for the maximum effect of presenting her when she is on screen which is almost the entire movie.

But this film is more than a portrait gallery of Dietrich. Marlene Dietrich actually could act, she has a sly sense of humor throughout the film. Clive Brook plays the traditional "stiff upper lip" British soldier in love with her and at first he seems pretty stiff but as the film goes on he becomes the emotional center of the film.

Jules Furthman who frequently worked with Howard Hawks was an expert at putting together stories with good dialog and this film has some amusing and memorable lines.

Josef Von Sternberg showed what a good filmmaker could do with an interesting story, strong actors and a strong visual sense.

80 minutes.

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