Friday, December 4, 2020

Marcel Dalio: What a (French) Character!

 

This is my entry for the annual What a Character! blogathon hosted by Paula at Paula's Cinema Club, Aurora of Once Upon a Screen and Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled. Click here for links to all participating blogs.

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I was watching Josef von Sternberg’s flamboyantly decadent noir The Shanghai Gesture (1941) a while ago. Taking in the dense and elaborate décor, sinister atmosphere and louche characters the maestro whipped together for this wickedly twisted cinematic excursion, I marveled that the censors had left so much intact. The setting is a palatial Shanghai gaming house, a den of iniquity if there ever was one, with vice of every kind lurking in its shadowy nooks.