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Shanghai Gesture
     

The Shanghai Gesture

Director: Josef von Sternberg, Gene Tierney, Victor Mature, Ona Munson

Cast: Josef von Sternberg, Gene Tierney, Victor Mature, Ona Munson

 

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Josef von Sternberg made his first return to exotic Shanghai since 1932's Shanghai Express in this baroque conflagration, based on a 1925 play by John Colton that required 30 revisions before it was sufficiently sanitized to pass muster with Hays Office censors. The film takes place in the gambling den of Mother Gin Sling (Ona Munson), who finds her casino

Overview

Josef von Sternberg made his first return to exotic Shanghai since 1932's Shanghai Express in this baroque conflagration, based on a 1925 play by John Colton that required 30 revisions before it was sufficiently sanitized to pass muster with Hays Office censors. The film takes place in the gambling den of Mother Gin Sling (Ona Munson), who finds her casino threatened with closing by stuffed shirt English financier Sir Guy Charteris (Walter Huston). Gin Sling knows that the key to keeping her casino open is to dig up some dirt on Sir Guy, and it's quick in coming. She finds that Sir Guy was compelled to leave China in a hurry some time in the past, stealing his wife's money and plotting to kill her. Sir Guy ended up abandoning his wife in China and leaving her with an infant daughter. She also finds out that Sir Guy's grown-up daughter, Poppy (Gene Tierney, is a frequent and deeply indebted guest of Gin Sling's casino. Gin Sling is now ready to blackmail Sir Guy into keeping her casino open. He tracks down his daughter and tries to convince her to leave town. But Poppy refuses to budge, having fallen in love with Doctor Omar (Victor Mature).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Although not much liked in its day, Joseph Von Sternberg's final great film is a "must" for anyone sharing the director's appetite for the sensually exotic. It doesn't really make much difference at this late date that most of playwright John Colton's then highly censurable characters have been severely watered down; that Colton's brothel owner, Madam Goddam, has become a gambling establishment proprietor named Madam Gin Slin (Ona Munson); that a torrid and adulterous love affair is turned into a broken marriage; or that the heroine's drug dependency instead becomes an addiction to gambling. The Shanghai Gesture, in fact, is much less Colton that it is Von Sternberg: here is the moody mise-en-scene, the fluid camera work and the erotic obsession. And, to his eternal credit, the director even manages to obtain sterling performances from such studio manufactured personalities as Gene Tierney and Victor Mature. As for Ona Munson, the erstwhile Belle Watling of Gone With the Wind is all caked makeup and desperation and not entirely the whore with a heart of gold that may have been intended.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2013
UPC:
0886470245055
Original Release:
1941
Source:
Mr Fat - W Video
Sales rank:
3,799

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Tierney Poppy Charteris
Victor Mature Dr. Omar
Ona Munson Mother Gin Sling
Walter Huston Sir Guy Charteris
Phyllis Brooks Dixie Pomeroy, The Chorus Girl
Albert Basserman Van Alst, the Commissioner
Maria Ouspenskaya Amah
Eric Blore Caesar Hawkins, the Bookkeeper
Ivan Lebedeff The Gambler, Boris
Mike Mazurki Coolie
Clyde Fillmore Montgomery Howe, The Comprador
Grayce Hampton Social Leader
Rex Evans The Counselor (Jackson)
Mikhail Rasumny The Appraiser (Mischa)
Michael Delmatoff Bartender
Leyland Hodgson Ryerson
John Abbott Escort
Marcel Dalio The Master of the Spinning Wheel

Technical Credits
Josef von Sternberg Director,Screenwriter
Howard Bristol Set Decoration/Design
Oleg Cassini Costumes/Costume Designer
Jules Furthman Screenwriter
Richard Hageman Score Composer
Geza Herczeg Screenwriter
Paul Ivano Cinematographer
Charles Kerr Asst. Director
Boris Leven Art Director
Arnold Pressburger Asst. Director,Producer
Royer Costumes/Costume Designer
Karl Vollmoeller Screenwriter
S.K. Winston Editor

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