Critic’s Choice: Marlene Dietrich stars in Josef von Sternberg’s ‘Shanghai Express’ in Pasadena

Clive Brook and Marlene Dietrich in the 1932 film “Shanghai Express,” directed by Josef von Sternberg.
(Paramount Pictures / Photofest)
Film Critic

Josef von Sternberg was not only one of the great directors of the 1920s and ’30s, he was also an art collector in the circle of the enterprising dealer Galka Scheyer. She’s the subject of the current “The Maven of Modernism” exhibit at the Norton Simon in Pasadena, and that enterprising museum is showing some of Von Sternberg’s films along with it.

Closing the series is 1932’s “Shanghai Express,” a stunning black-and-white extravaganza starring Von Sternberg’s muse Marlene Dietrich as the enigmatic Shanghai Lily. “It took more than one man,” she states enigmatically, “to change my name to Shanghai Lily.”

“Shanghai Express,” 6 p.m. Friday, Norton Simon Museum, 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena,

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