Shanghai Express - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shanghai Express Reviews

Page 1 of 6
October 15, 2017
Shanghai Express is the story of a group of passengers traveling on a train through China. But it takes place during a time of political discord for China, and the passengers get mixed up in it all. I enjoyed the variety of characters and how they interacted with one another. In particular I appreciated the arc that the Reverend went through in the film.

Marlene Dietrich has an intriguing quality that perfectly fits this role. It?s impressive when she turns the corner and starts betraying emotions she?s not willing to admit. Clive Brook is OK as her costar, but he is a bit flat. But I did like their interactions with one another, because you can sense the history between them even before they spell it out for us (which was kind of unnecessary.)

The story doesn?t always work for me. There are some sections where it feels like the movie is spinning its wheels waiting for the next big moment, and other times when it feels like it?s racing ahead without letting things breathe. However the climax is extremely satisfying and makes up for a lot of the flaws. I?m happy that I?ve seen Shanghai Express, because it?s a powerful tale even if it meanders a little along the way.
½ March 15, 2016
Basically a vehicle for another classic, iconic Dietrich role, directed by her great collaborator Josef Von Sternberg, with strong support from co-star Anna May Wong. The plot is quite dull, but who cares?
½ October 2, 2015
Quintessential Dietrich in an exotic land plagued by revolution. The framing of Dietrich was well done.
½ August 28, 2015
I am not in love with this film, although it's admirable what von Sternberg was able to accomplish on a sound stage. The film really does feel like it was shot on location in China. Marlene Dietrich is amazing as usual, but although she has one of the more prominent roles, the film is really an ensemble story.
August 22, 2015
Marlene Dietrich never looked more glamorous in this pre-code drama. Think Grand Hotel on a train. There are some intense moments, but the coloful cast of characters and of course Dietrich herself keep this ride going from start to finish.

Grade: A-
April 2, 2015
Mildly entertaining. I never had found Dietrich attractive before, but here I must admit she was quite beautiful.
½ March 13, 2015
There isn't much to outright dislike about "Shanghai Express", except maybe for the recurring, casual, antiquated fits of racism, but there isn't much to like about it, either. Sure, it won the Oscar for Best Cinematography at the 5th (1932) Academy Awards, but that was based more on its technique, the use of chiaroscuro (contrast in shadows) which make some shots looks striking, and the creative editing. The technique, though, was really only used to show off, and there isn't much of a sense of atmosphere, and it really doesn't feel as if our characters are in Shanghai most of the time. Based on a true story which involved about 300 Chinese people and 20 or so westerners who were held hostage on the Shanghai Express, this film naturally focuses on the whites, with only 2 of the Chinese characters (one of whom, the villain, is half-white), getting major screen-time, and that's really only to develop the plot, too. The acting is also pretty inconsistent, with laughable line delivery even from the star, Marlene Dietrich, who seems to be reading from a script rather than embodying her supposedly legendary Shanghai Lily character. This is a film I wanted, and expected, to love, but one that I really couldn't because it failed to immerse me in its world like superior films of its day (see: Grand Hotel and Bad Girl, both superior Best Picture-nominated films that year).
½ January 18, 2015
Old movie with a goddess Marlene Dietrich , inolvidable verla fumando.
October 18, 2014
Simple, but pretty effective romance/adventure. There are several iconic shots of Marlene Dietrich in this one - what a beautiful woman!
½ August 29, 2014
Is wrong for me to say that this feels like "Stagecoach" set in a train in China instead of the Old West? Well, feels that way at least and that's a compliment. Marlene Dietrich leads an excellent ensemble cast as "Shanghai Lilly", an "escort" of sorts traveling to Shanghai on a train with a group of characters in the middle of a Chinese civil war. The film is superbly crafted, has sprinklings of humor along with some genuine suspense but I'm surprised it's also kind of moving and sweet in the end. Dietrich's character is kind of almost the opposite of her character in "The Blue Angel".
June 23, 2014
√a fait TELLEMENT longtemps que j'veux voir Morroco & Shanghai Express !!!
April 5, 2014
Its a special event if you step into time and become part of an audience experiencing a world so unknown back then, but also laughing at the lines that sound silly and the poses Dietrich strikes. Awesome!
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2014
Marlene Dietrich makes this film go. Very stylish and the action is compelling.
½ December 10, 2013
Shanghai Express has solid performances from its leads, luminous presence from Dietrich, as always smart dialogue and it is an overall entertaining film, but it is never anything more than that - a solid story with wonderful acting and conventional ending.
November 9, 2013
This film is without a doubt one of the most stylish ever made.
June 6, 2013
One of the more famous Marlene Dietrich films with some gorgeous photography but a less than elegant script.

The director himself openly admits a large number of his films are more style over substance and this is definitely the case for Shanghai Express.

Anna May Wong is the scene stealer in my opinion, but the film is a little dull & relies heavily in its exotic backgrounds which are clearly Los Angeles Studios.

A film that has merit & must be soon but not a impacting film, a little so-so....
½ March 13, 2013
Haciendo zapping me quede pegada a esta pelicula porque me sonaba el titulo, sin darme cuenta la vi entera y al final quede contenta de haberla visto. Me causo gracia la violencia en la pelicula, habian balazos y apu√Īalamientos, pero ninguna gota de sangre, ni siquiera se les rompia la ropa.
½ April 7, 2012
Dietrich is dynamite in this movie which - whilst eminently enjoyable - should not be taken too seriously. Her best line: "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily." L
March 21, 2012
Complaints about some stereotypes aside, it's an exciting fim (yes, a film from the 1930s can be exciting). Marlene Dietrich is absolutely wonderful here.
Page 1 of 6