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Directed by Josef von Sternberg
USA 1932


I can't think of a better Hollywood movie train environment than on this Dietrich classic which chugs over the rails from Shanghai to Peking during the Chinese Civil War. Although pre-code (with only a few of the ear markers) very little obvious reference is made to Dietrich's character of ultra-exotic Shanghai Lily being a prostitute... but it is inferred that she has slept with more than her fair share of men. Clive Brook plays a military doctor and her ex-lover yet both remain smitten though excessive pride is the romance hurdle. As far as the film personalities go Brook doesn't carry his end very well, but it would be hard to match the ladies in this as Anne May Wong only needs a couple of close ups to command our hypnotized stares. She has some brief symmetry with Dietrich who, rather than acting, appears to be glancing skyward and posing much of the time - trouble is that she does this better than anyone on the silver screen... ever. Sternberg rightly banking his cinema muse's power avoids any chance of Anna May getting an entrenched foothold. Great support comes in the form of Warner Oland who plays the evil revolutionary leader who tries in on with both gals... but this is all Dietrich and Garmes' exquisite cinematography. This is film mood at its absolute pinnacle - a high-class exotic passenger ride in spacious train cars with thick velour seats - my imagination makes them maroon-ish red. A masterpiece.

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: February 2nd, 1932

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DVD Review: Film Prestige - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution Film Prestige - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:21:45 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.83 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles Russian (Cyrillic), None

Release Information:
Studio: Film Prestige

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Dietrich screen test, award acceptance, trailers etc. in Russian voice-over only (13:59).

DVD Release Date: July 4th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 14





Pass on this DVD and get one of the following:

Gary W. Tooze

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Distribution Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Coming out at the end of November, 2006 is the Marlene Dietrich: Movie Collection - 18-disc - containing Angel, Blonde Venus, Desire, Destry Rides Again, The Devil Is A Woman, Dishonored, The Flames Of New Orleans, Follow The Boys, A Foreign Affair, Golden Earrings, Morocco, Pittsburgh, The Scarlet Empress, Seven Sinners, Shanghai Express, The Song Of Songs, The Spoilers and Touch Of Evil.

The Other Dietrich Classics available at Amazon France:




In Region 1 Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Morocco/ Blonde Venus/ The Devil Is a Woman/ Flame of New Orleans/ Golden Earrings) is REVIEWED HERE


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Distribution Film Prestige - Region 0 - PAL


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