Shanghai Express

Shanghai Express ★★★★★

There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about this story, but there is nothing that is not extraordinary in the way this story is told. The thrilling tracking shots in the opening scene. All those sensual dissolves. The clack of train tracks or footsteps or a shutter being slammed shut. Every moment, sound and image propelling the action forward. And finally a von Sternberg movie with an ensemble equal to the technical wizardry.

I even liked Clive Brook’s Doc Harvey, a perfect representative of all the men who aren’t good enough for the women who inexplicably love them.  (ie, all men).

And then there’s Dietrich. At her most iconic. There really are no words to express the potency of a single flick of her wrist or shift of her eyes or drag of her cigarette. A punk goddess.

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