Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Review: Shanghai Express

Maybe it's the way she moves? She slinks. Maybe it's the way light and shadow play on her face? It's hypnotic. Maybe it's her voice? It purrs. Whatever the reason, she earned every accolade she received.

I recently saw a movie and it quite literally took my breath away. The movie was "Shanghai Express" with Marlene Dietrich and Clive Brook. The story is pretty basic, several expats are traveling together to Shanghai during the war on the Shanghai Express. Two of them bump into each other and it's quite clear there's history there. There's no severe plot or edge of your seat action, or anything like that, but it is not boring in the least.

It's beautifully cast, scripted, directed and filmed. There are some amazing, classic scenes that I'm certain wouldn't be the same if they were in color. There is one in particular (please see image below), that relates everything she's feeling without a single word being said, music, or anything. That's the true test of genius. To impart all of those feelings (which ones I won't tell you, because this movie can be rented easily) in one glorious shot.

I've been watching the "50 Movies You Must See Before You Die" on TCM. I haven't seen all of them, but I've seen a good 30. Some I had seen before and some I hadn't. I recommend you watch what you can as most of those are impossible to find and are unlikely to show again.

I'll leave you with a clip from "Shanghai Express" just to show you what you're missing....

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