Shanghai Express (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

Shanghai Express (1932)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Shanghai Express Photos

Movie Info

Two notorious women of the night are aboard a train that is hijacked by rebel Chinese.


Marlene Dietrich
as Shanghai Lily
Clive Brook
as Capt. Donald Harvey
Louise Closser Hale
as Mrs. Haggerty
Warner Oland
as Henry Chang
Lawrence Grant
as Rev. Carmichael
Emile Chautard
as Maj. Lenard
Claude King
as Albright
Neshida Minoru
as Chinese Spy
Willie Fung
as Engineer
Leonard Carey
as Minister
Forrester Harvey
as Ticket Agent
Miki Morita
as Officer
View All

Critic Reviews for Shanghai Express

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (10)

Nothing in an admirable film is better than the first meeting between Lily [played by Marlene Dietrich] and Hue Fei (Miss Anna May Wong).

July 8, 2020 | Full Review…

The first third of Shanghai Express is on a high artistic plane. One forms great expectations of dramatic development; of character-study; of technical finesse. But suddenly the whole thing collapses.

April 3, 2020 | Full Review…

Peak Dietrich merging with peak von Sternberg... Each artist and their respective styles coming together to create something distinct and dazzling.

August 23, 2019 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

The film has compensating strength in the star, who photographs more beautifully than before and, though she is acted off the screen by Anna May Wong, shows herself unique in Hollywood by being majestically beautiful.

September 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Shanghai Express is a picture of the new school, and when Marlene Dietrich promises Warner Oland to visit him at his castle if he will refrain from destroying Clive Brook's eyesight with a red hot poker, you will not find the situation banal.

February 2, 2011 | Full Review…

The finished product is an example of what can be done with a personality and photogenic face such as Marlene Dietrich possesses to circumvent a trashy story.

June 6, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shanghai Express

Marlene Dietrich stars as "Shanghai Lily", a woman of some ill repute traveling across China in a passenger train. The other passengers have nothing but contempt for her and her female companion (Anna May Wong). Well, everyone but Captain Harvey (Clive Brook). He and Marlene had a relationship years ago, but the Captain didn't trust her and threw her over. Since then, she's been wandering the Chinese countryside, destroying men's lives wherever she goes. When Mr. Chang (Warner Oland, known for his role as Charlie Chan) turns out to be the leader of a rebel force, we learn to what extent Marlene still loves the captain and to what extent she will go to protect him. Despite exotic locales and characters, it's Dietrich who is the sole reason for watching "Shanghai Express". She's incredibly beautiful, emotive, and her costumes are a movie unto themselves. Director Josef von Sternberg knows how to shoot his leading lady, and there are moments when Dietrich's face is as beautiful as a framed work of art.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Marlene is terrific in this as is Anna May Wong. Banton's creations for them are eye popping but the whole thing is almost undone by the dreadful perfomance by Clive Brook.. Marlene's passion for him comes across as a mystery since he is a block of wood throughout the film.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

marlene and anna may wong are simply divine amid the trademark von sternberg atmosphere of exotica. beautifully shot with many classic poses. lily's once and future lover clive brook is an awful stiff tho

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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