Repertory Picks

Lusty Pre-Code Hollywood in Tucson

Take Marlene Dietrich at the height of her stardom, stick her in tight quarters with fellow screen siren Anna May Wong, and surround them with a band of lowlifes, and you have the recipe for pre-Code Hollywood at its lavish, salacious best. Released in 1932, Shanghai Express was the commercial pinnacle of Dietrich’s collaboration with the filmmaker Josef von Sternberg, following the tensions that arise on a train moving through a studio fantasy of war-torn China. Despite the seedy setting, every shot oozes intrigue and glamour, a testament to the sultriness of the film’s cigarette-puffing, perpetually preening star and the imagination of its visionary director. Classic Hollywood lovers in Tucson, Arizona, have one chance to see this movie on the big screen, when the Loft Cinema plays it tonight in the glimmering restoration we completed for our recent Dietrich–von Sternberg box set last year.

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