East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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What if it wasn’t him?

Something popped up through my socials, and made me think. Yeah, that’s dangerous, I know.
In a nutshell, a person was being very critical (let’s put it this way) of this newfangled habit popular authors have, of getting their books written by anonymous ghostwriters, and then published under their own names.

What would have happened had Dante Alighieri commissioned The Divine Comedy to some anonymous hack? He’d be undeservedly regarded as a genius, while the true genius would have been forgotten!

And it’s true, you know.
Also, it really does not matter.

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The Shanghai Gesture


Our story has nothing to do with the present.

There is this card, at the very beginning of Joseph von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture – a simple card, that shifts the action of this unusual pulpish noir shot in 1941 from the real world to a parallel dimension.
The card was placed there upon request by the censors – that were afraid the movie could have some bad effects on the morale of the men fighting in the Pacific.
It was 1941.

That card is one – but only one – of the many elements that make it one of the films I like to re-watch.
It’s stylish, cruel, as dark and as they come, and wildly exotic.

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