Wednesday, January 27, 2010
THE SHANGHAI GESTURE (1941)
The Shanghai Gesture (1941). Noir. Cast: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Victor Mature and Ona Munson. Based on the play by John Colton. Producer Arnold Pressburger. Director: Josef Von Sternberg. The Shanghai Gesture received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Original Music Score.
In Shanghai, Victoria Charteris, a beautiful British boarding school graduate, enters devious Mother Gin Sling's casino. She is quickly drawn in by the atmosphere. When Victoria sees Omar, she demands to be introduced, Omar is seduced by the beautiful Victoria, who calls herself "Poppy." When Mother Gin Sling, learns that wealthy Sir Guy Charteris, has bought her property and that she will be forced to close by the Chinese New Year. Mother Gin comes up with a plan to use Sir Guy Charteris's daughter to back-mail him, and so the trouble begins...
The Shanghai Gesture's characters are deeply involved in, drugs and revenge. In 1941, The film Shanghai Gesture,(32 rejections, before it was finally released), was considered too daring to be made. The Chinese government objected to the film 's depiction of China as immoral. The films heavy censorship causes some of the plot to be very hard to follow. But.. the film is still amazing.
Her first starring role was in a talkie called, Going Wild (1930). Munson appeared the next year in a musical comedy called, Hot Heiress in which she sings several songs along with her co-star Ben Lyon. She also starred in Broadminded (1931) and Five Star Final (1931). She briefly retired from the screen, only to return in 1938. When David O. Selznick was casting his production Gone with the Wind, he first announced that Mae West was to play Belle, but this was a publicity stunt. Munson skills as an actress electrified her screen test. For the remainder of her career, she was typecast in similar roles. Two years later, she played another madam, in the film noir, The Shanghai Gesture.