7.3/10
6,733
63 user 52 critic

Shanghai Express (1932)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 12 February 1932 (USA)
A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Writers:

Jules Furthman (screen play), Harry Hervey (based on the story by)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Morocco (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou
Dishonored (1931)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Blonde Venus (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A German noblewoman enters into a loveless marriage with the dim-witted, unstable heir to the Russian throne, then plots to oust him from power.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young man is warned by a captain about a temptress; nonetheless, he finds himself falling in love with her.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
Desire (1936)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An automotive engineer bound for a holiday in Spain meets a sultry jewel thief.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, John Halliday
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Seeking better life, two convicts escape from prison.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Rolla France
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Parisian tailor finds himself posing as a baron in order to collect a sizeable bill from an aristocrat, only to fall in love with an aloof young princess.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlene Dietrich ... Shanghai Lily
Clive Brook ... Captain Donald Harvey
Anna May Wong ... Hui Fei
Warner Oland ... Henry Chang
Eugene Pallette ... Sam Salt
Lawrence Grant ... Mr. Carmichael
Louise Closser Hale ... Mrs. Haggerty
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Eric Baum
Emile Chautard ... Major Lenard
Edit

Storyline

Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three days. The British Army doctor, Donald Harvey, knew Lil before she became a famous "coaster." A fellow passenger defines a coaster as "a woman who lives by her wits along the China coast." When Chinese guerillas stop the train, Dr. Harvey is selected as the hostage. Lil saves him, but can she make him believe that she really hasn't changed from the woman he loved five years before? Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Many Men Had Loved Her -- but only one had been loved in return !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Cantonese | German

Release Date:

12 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El expreso de Shanghai See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,700,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Freddie Mercury's favorite films. See more »

Goofs

The telegraph forms shown on screen are filled out in Chinese and meant to be Chinese, but in fact are in English and therefore American. See more »

Quotes

Shanghai Lily: I was hoping that you would take us in to dinner. You seem upset, Doctor.
Captain Donald 'Doc' Harvey: Oh no, not at all.
Shanghai Lily: This is Captain Harvey. Miss Hui Fei.
Hui Fei: I'm glad to meet you, Captain Harvey.
[She puts out her hand]
Captain Donald 'Doc' Harvey: [He bows but does not take her hand] It's a great pleasure.
Sam Salt: Good evening, folks.
Captain Donald 'Doc' Harvey: Good evening.
Sam Salt: [Patting Hui Fei's shoulder] Time to put on the nosebag.
Hui Fei: [to Shanghai Lily] I'll wait for you in the diner.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Comments in the AFI Catalogue suggest the credits were changed when re-released in 1935. According to the Catalogue, the original print referred to Harry Herveys work as a novel. In the viewed print on TCM, the onscreen credit was "story." The print was clearly a re-released print because of the PCA certificate number listed onscreen; such numbers were not issued until 1934. It is not known what other changes were made, if any, but the print ran only 82 minutes, suggesting some additional editing had been done. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
An "Oh my God!" movie from the early 30's
15 May 2018 | by fanaticusanonymousSee all my reviews

Every frame, with Marlene Dietrich in it, is a masterpiece of lights and shadows. The artistic marriage of Dietrich and his director Josef Von Sternberg is all consuming and therefore we're trapped, happily so. Look at what the camera does with Dietrich's face when she delivers the iconic line: "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lilly" I had to rewind immediately and see the moment again, one, two, three times. Dietrich is dressed, lit and photographed like a goddess, the human kind. I wonder if we're ever going to see the likes of her, the likes of them, ever again.


32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed