The Shanghai Gesture

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The Shanghai Gesture ★★½ 1942

A wildly baroque, subversive melodrama. An English financier tries to close a gambling den, only to be blackmailed by the female proprietor—who tells him not only is the man's daughter heavily indebted to her, but that she is the wife he abandoned long ago. Based on a notorious Broadway play. Von Sternberg had to make numerous changes to the script in order to get it past the Hays censors; the director's final Hollywood work, and worthy of his oeuvre, but oddly unsatisfying. 97m/B VHS, DVD . Walter Huston, Gene Tierney, Victor Mature, Ona Munson, Albert Bassermann, Eric Blore, Maria Ouspenskaya, Phyllis Brooks, Mike Mazurki; D: Josef von Sternberg; W: Josef von Sternberg, Jules Furthman, Geza Herczeg, Karl Vollmoller; C: Paul Ivano; M: Richard Hageman.