SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932) B/W 80m dir: Josef von Sternberg
w/Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Eugene Pallette, Lawrence Grant, Louise Closser Hale, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Emile Chautard, Claude King
Shanghai Lily (Dietrich), known as "the White Flower of the Chinese Coast," and her ex-lover (Brook) meet again on the great Chinese train as it makes its way to Shanghai. When Brook is taken hostage by a scheming rebel leader (Oland) who's on the train, Lily uses her somewhat tarnished virtue as ransom.
From The Movie Guide: "The fourth of the Josef von Sternberg-Marlene Dietrich collaborations (following THE BLUE ANGEL, MOROCCO, and DISHONORED), SHANGHAI EXPRESS is a mystical and exotic story of love and destruction, a film for which star and director became legends. ...
"Though von Sternberg insisted the film was based on a one-page treatment handed him by Harry Hervey, the story of SHANGHAI EXPRESS is clearly drawn from Guy de Maupassant's classic short story of a French prostitute during the Franco-Prussian war, 'Boule de Suif.' The final film, however, is all von Sternberg, his enigmatic creation, Dietrich, filling the screen with her stunning persona. Dietrich, as always, gave von Sternberg the exact performance he had envisioned, but feuds and hard feelings ran rampant between the director and the rest of the cast. Von Sternberg was something of a tyrant on the set, and actors received the brunt of his wrath. Lending further credence to his tyrannical image on the set, von Sternberg, who had nearly lost his voice from shouting, dismissed a suggestion from Sam Jaffe to use a megaphone, instead hooking up a public address system."
SHANGHAI EXPRESS won an Oscar for Best Cinematography (Lee Garmes). It was also nominated for Best Picture (losing to GRAND HOTEL) and Director.