6.7/10
2,355
61 user 30 critic

The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 January 1942 (USA)
In Shanghai, dragon-lady 'Mother' Gin Sling operates a gambling house for wealthy patrons but she clashes with influential land developer Sir Guy Charteris who wants to put her out-of-business.

Writers:

Josef von Sternberg (adaptation), Geza Herczeg (collaborator for adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $0.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Macao (1952)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Nicholas Ray
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Princess is destined to marry the Emperor, until her sister steps in.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Franchot Tone, Grace Moore, Walter Connolly
Hudson's Bay (1941)
Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Highly fictionalized early history of Canada. Trapper/explorer Radisson imagines an empire around Hudson's Bay. He befriends the Indians, fights the French, and convinces King Charles II to sponsor an expedition of conquest.

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Paul Muni, Gene Tierney, Laird Cregar
Sundown (1941)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

In 1941, a mysterious Somaliland native woman helps the British against the Nazis.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gene Tierney, Bruce Cabot, George Sanders
Anatahan (1953)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In June 1944, twelve Japanese seaman are stranded on an abandoned-and-forgotten island called An-ta-han for seven years. The island's only inhabitants are the overseer of the abandoned ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Akemi Negishi, Tadashi Suganuma, Kisaburo Sawamura
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When an heiress finds out that the friendly young man she's met at Sun Valley is really an investigative reporter, she ruins his career by falsely claiming they're married.

Director: Robert B. Sinclair
Stars: Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Reginald Gardiner
China Girl (1942)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In November 1941, American news photographer Johnny 'Bugsy' Williams manages to escape from the Japanese and finds himself back in Burma where he meets the beautiful Miss Haoli Young. ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gene Tierney, George Montgomery, Lynn Bari
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Although she comes from an aristocratic family, beautiful Prudence Cathaway defies convention by joining the WAAFs and becoming romantically involved with an AWOL soldier.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Fontaine, Thomas Mitchell
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The life story of the famous pianist and band-leader of the 1930s and 1940s.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Tyrone Power, Kim Novak, Victoria Shaw
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Jimmy is drafted and ends up in Fred's troop on his way to Europe. Jimmy becomes vicious with his gun, wins a medal, and weds Fred's nurse girlfriend, Rose. Back home years later, Rose ... See full summary »

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Gladys George, Franchot Tone
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

George Taylor returns from WWII with amnesia. Back home in Los Angeles, while trying to track down his old identity, he stumbles onto a 3-year old murder case and a hunt for a missing $2 million.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: John Hodiak, Nancy Guild, Lloyd Nolan
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In a 1950s British village, a teenager, who is in love with her Latin language teacher, disappears, prompting the police to investigate the teacher, amidst public rumors of rape and murder.

Director: Anthony Pelissier
Stars: Gene Tierney, Leo Genn, Glynis Johns
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Tierney ... Poppy
Walter Huston ... Sir Guy Charteris
Victor Mature ... Doctor Omar
Ona Munson ... 'Mother' Gin Sling
Phyllis Brooks ... The Chorus Girl
Albert Bassermann ... The Commissioner
Maria Ouspenskaya ... The Amah
Eric Blore ... The Bookkeeper
Ivan Lebedeff ... The Gambler
Mike Mazurki ... The Coolie
Clyde Fillmore Clyde Fillmore ... The Comprador
Grayce Hampton ... The Social Leader
Rex Evans Rex Evans ... The Counselor
Mikhail Rasumny ... The Appraiser (as Mikhail Rasumni)
Michael Dalmatoff Michael Dalmatoff ... The Bartender (as Michael Delmatoff)
Edit

Storyline

A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy Charteris, wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, forcing Gin Sling to vacate by the coming Chinese New Year. Under orders from Gin Sling, who has found out Poppy is Charteris' daughter, the smarmy Doctor Omar leads Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling and alcohol. Gin Sling, realizing that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her, plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has a suprise of his own to spring on Gin Sling. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

People Live in Shanghai for Many Reasons... Most of Them Bad! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Chinese

Release Date:

15 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La pecadora de Shanghai See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (1981) (restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The mural that appears in the casino was painted by Keye Luke. See more »

Quotes

'Mother' Gin Sling: [of an ordinance that would outlaw her establishment] I've lived by my own ordinances for a long time now, and I intend to disregard all others.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[after the cast credits] ... And a large cast of "HOLLYWOOD EXTRAS" who without expecting credit or mention stand ready day and night to do their best - - and who at their best are more than good enough to deserve mention. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man with Bogart's Face (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Carroll
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Played on piano by Rex Evans at Gin Sling's dinner party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Three Marlene .
4 October 2004 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Marlene Dietrich,even if she does not appear is present here :she's the marvelous Gene Tierney,the terrifying Ona Munson and the cynical Victor Mature."The Shanghai gesture" is one of my favorite Sternberg movies.I love the lines which warns us at the beginning of the film:it's not real Shanghai,it does not take place in the present.

"The Shanghai gesture" is an unclassifiable work: a film noir?a melodrama?Most likely an extravaganza ,an incredible exotic story which smells of the intoxicating perfume of poisonous flowers.The gigantic dive looks like a cobweb which the high priestess Mother Gin Sling spins ."Why not Mother Whiskey Soda? " Tierney asks.

All the characters are not what they seem ,they just pretend.Tierney has two names (one of them is the well-chosen "Poppy") and we only learn her real identity in the second half in a scene which seems completely "out of the movie".Mature is Doctor Omar ,doctor of nothing! Even the women in the cages and the sailors who buy them just pretend .Nothing is real.

Tierney's downfall is depicted in lavish detail:from the elegant woman of the beginning to the wreck Gin Sling invites to her Chinese New Year feast .Directing is absolutely breathtaking,when the camera circles around the dive where a cast of thousands -Sternberg even pays a tribute to the extras in the cast and credits,which is rare ,to my knowledge ,the first and last time it had been made-surrounds the heroine ,or in the final scenes ,when the shots merge with the firecrackers of the New Year.

"The Shanghai gesture" may be a guilty pleasure.But this kind of pleasure ,I ask for more!


57 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 61 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 TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed