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A spy movie and light noir for Dan Hodges
Posted by Solomon
on 3/27/2016, 2:23 pm
It's "The Shanghai Drama" (1938), a French movie set in Shanghai just prior to the Japanese invasion in July of 1937. It comes complete with the "in-between" or soft or conflicted femme fatale (Christl Mardayn) who has been railroaded into her role by circumstances and Louis Jouvet, by whom she had a daughter (Elina Labourdette) 16 years earlier. They're Russian emigres. She thinks him dead but he reappears. Tying things together is Raymond Rouleau as a French journalist.
The political background of the story is essential. It seems to reflect basically the communist (left) vs. the nationalist right. The left-wing leader (Linh-Nam), however, makes an appeal for peace and unity among all classes, so he's not a doctrinaire anti-bourgeoisie communist. The right-wing is represented by a secret society called the Black Dragon, and they're the villains of the piece out to do Linh-Nam in.