International Settlement


1h 15m 1938

Film Details

Also Known As
Shanghai Deadline
Release Date
Feb 4, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,573ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

After Peiping is bombed by the Japanese, American passengers on an ocean liner bound for Shanghai are advised not to continue unless it is absolutely necessary. Del Forbes, a soldier of fortune, tries to talk naïve Joyce Parker, a would-be journalist from Sacramento, into returning, but she remains. When Maurice Zabello, an ailing gunrunner, offers Del $10,000 to impersonate him in Shanghai and collect £200,000, nearly one million dollars, from Joseph Lang for a cargo of munitions, Del accepts. In Shanghai's International Settlement, an area governed since 1843 by thirteen foreign nations for trade purposes, Del registers as Zabello at a hotel, whereupon the clerk informs Monte Silvers of the Far East Export Company. In his room, Del is shot at by Lenore Dixon, who thinks he is Zabello, but she misses and he disarms her. He offers not to call the police if she will have dinner with him that night, his only evening in Shanghai, and she agrees. In the hotel lobby, Del runs into newsreel cameraman Wally Burton talking with Joyce, who has been unable to get a room. Del invites them to join him at Ferrold's, where Lenore sings, and then goes with a hired man to meet Lang. After receiving custom certificates for the munitions from Del, Lang gives him a money belt filled with the pounds sterling, despite the suspicions of Lang's Scottish partner Murdock. On their return to the settlement, the hired man is knifed to death and Del is held up, but he gets away and finds his way to the ship only to learn that Zabello has just died from heart failure. Wanting to return the money to Lang, but unable to locate the building where they met, Del goes to Ferrold's, where Lenore suggests that they meet later at the Green Dragon, at which time they can begin the night as if they have just met. Lenore tells Silvers about the date, and during dinner at the Green Dragon, Del explains his predicament. Lenore reveals that she wanted to kill Zabello because he murdered her father, a Nicaraguan official. Now concerned for Del's safety, Lenore takes him to see Lang. After learning from a spy of their plans, Silvers gets to Lang first with his men. They kill Lang and wound Murdock, who escapes, before Del arrives. Silvers then demands the belt and tells him that Lenore, who is waiting outside, is working with him. During a fight, Del is shot in the arm. Just then the city is bombed by the Japanese, and as Lenore comes into the room, the roof collapses. Silvers escapes with the money belt, and Lenore awakens to find Del unconscious and pinned under a beam. She brings a doctor, who gives Del a transfusion with Lenore's blood to save his life. When Del revives, he pushes Lenore away in disgust and collapses. While she searches for help, Del revives again and escapes the building. Lenore finds Wally and Joyce, but when they arrive back at the building, they find it in flames and believe that Del has died. After Americans are warned to leave Shanghai, Lenore and Joyce board a ship, while Wally remains, promising to visit Joyce in Sacramento. Lenore finds Del on the boat, but he walks away from her. However, Joyce tells him about the transfusion, and he goes to Lenore's cabin, where he finds her with Silvers, actually her estranged husband. Lenore gets Silvers' gun and orders him to give the money belt to Del. Silvers is then killed by the near-dead Murdock, who succumbs himself. Finally, Del reminds Lenore of the Chinese saying that if one saves a life, one is afterwards responsible for that life.

Film Details

Also Known As
Shanghai Deadline
Release Date
Feb 4, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,573ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Shanghai Deadline. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the studio purchased the motion picture rights to the novel Shanghai Deadline by La Salle Gilman (New York, 1936) on April 1, 1937. A May 1937 Los Angeles Times news item stated that the studio was "practically ready to go" with the film, which "concerns a girl correspondent in the Orient." At that time, the film was to star Claire Trevor and Michael Whalen, with Alan Dinehart and Keye Luke in supporting roles. In August 1937, Los Angeles Examiner reported, "Doubtless every studio will hasten to make story capital out of the Sino-Japanese war. But Darryl Zanuck, who thinks in terms of headlines, is as usual leading the parade. Shanghai Deadline...is being rushed before the cameras. It's a newspaper yarn about a reporter caught in the midst of the hostilities." At that time, Brian Donlevy was cast as the reporter, and Norman Foster was scheduled to direct. The film ultimately did not begin production until November 1937, and the final film, in which the main character is a soldier of fortune rather than a reporter, contains no reference to the novel by Gilman in the screen credits. It is not known if any material from the novel was used in the final film. A memo in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library states, "The ending of this picture was changed considerably from the script submitted." Correspondence in the PCA file also indicates that in August 1937, the consul from the Republic of China wrote to the Hays Office desiring to know the content of the film when they learned that Twentieth Century-Fox was planning the picture. Jason Joy, Twentieth Century-Fox's liaison with the PCA, replied in a letter to PCA director Joseph Breen that although it was impossible to indicate the "exact nature" of the film at that time, "we have no intention of making a picture based upon the controversy between China and Japan. Our story, in the main, deals with a group of people of various nationalities and temperaments who are caught in a hotel in Shanghai. I am sure that the resulting comedy-drama will be inoffensive to anyone."
       In a New York Times article, this film was called a "special" of Sol Wurtzel's "B" unit at Twentieth Century-Fox. Daily Variety commented, "This is the first feature picture dealing with the bombing and military devastation of Shanghai ready for release" and noted, "News clips are effectively inserted with the studio material." According to publicity for the film, actor Bruce Wong assisted director Eugene Forde in the handling of the hundreds of Chinese actors used. The film begins with a montage of shots of the war in China, with narration by Lowell Thomas. The song "Don't Dare Me To," music by Harry Akst, lyrics by Sidney Clare, was submitted to the PCA for approval for this film, but ultimately was not used.