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(Review originally written at 5 February 2008)

The movie has an original concept of a story set almost entirely aboard a train. It nevertheless knows to keep things going in a fast pace and to keep things interesting at all times. This is also thanks to the many characters that are pleasant in the movie. The much present light humor in this movie also makes this an entertaining one to watch as well. It's a movie in which there is always something happening.

But no, not everything in this movie works out as it should and it prevents this movie from being a true classic must-see in my opinion. Basically the core of the movie is that Shanghai Lily and Captain Harvey are still madly in love with each after haven't seen each other for years, before meeting again by coincidence on the Shanghai Express. However the love-story is ridiculously unbelievable, since Clive Brook is too wooden in his performance and Marlene Dietrich is too much of a femme fatale.

The movie is further more a good looking one, with especially some nice Oscar winning cinematography. Von Sternberg's movies from the '30's were among the most visionary of the era. It's one of the reasons why he is such a much praised director.

Movies in which Josef von Sternberg is directing Marlene Dietrich are always something above the usual, this movie forms no exception to this. They made quite a few movies together in the '30's. Von Sternberg by the way also directed quite some movies with Asian themes in them. He must have really liked the culture and he also seemed to have been inspired by its politics, much to the annoyance of the Chinese government itself, who wanted to ban this movie globally

A real good movie to watch!

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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