Shanghai Express

Scene from the film Shanghai Express
scene from the film SHANGHAI EXPRESS

Anna May Wong stars alongside Marlene Dietrich in this Best Picture nominee about political intrigue, murder, espionage and romance aboard a train rolling through 1931 China during the country's civil war.

A rich evocation of a Far East that never was, this exotic fantasy of intrigue and illusion from director Josef von Sternberg tells the story of a fallen woman and the stoic British officer who loves her. As their train rattles from Peking to Shanghai, the journey reveals the tales of their fellow passengers. Anna May Wong plays an American-educated Chinese woman with a complicated past who is being pursued by Warren Oland, a warlord who wants Lily as his mistress.   

“Irresistably enjoyable... a triumphant fusion of sin, glamour, shamelessness, art, and, perhaps, a furtive sense of humor.” (Pauline Kael) 

This screening is part of our ongoing series From Silent Film Star to American Icon: Celebrating Anna May Wong, presented in partnership with the Wharton Studio Museum and Cinemapolis in honor of Silent Movie Month in Ithaca.

This series is made possible by generous support from the Asian-American Studies Program, the East Asian Program at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Department of History, the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. 

SHANGHAI EXPRESS – Trailer (1932) from California Film Institute on Vimeo.