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Film / Shanghai Surprise

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A 1986 British-American adventure comedy directed by Jim Goddard that has a missionary (Madonna) hiring a fortune hunter (Sean Penn) to help her find opium for the wounded and adventure and romance ensues.

The movie also stars Paul Freeman, Richard Griffiths, Phillip Sayer, Clyde Kusatsu, George Harrison, and Victor Wong.

It was released on August 29, 1986.

Tropes for the film:

  • Boom in the Hand: Title refers to a type of bomb disguised as a pouched belt, which the villain loses his hands at the start of the film.
  • Contortionist: Glendon Wasey visits a famous courtesan who lists contortion under one of her many skills.
  • Going Commando: Gloria Tatlock, as when she and Glendon are riding on separate rickshaws and next to each other and as she reaches towards him, a gust of wind blows her blue skirt back and she's spread eagle, wearing nothing underneath.
  • Period Piece: Takes place in 1937 Shanghai.
  • Pop-Star Composer: In addition to producing, George Harrison did the soundtrack. "Breath Away" and "Someplace Else" later appeared on his album Cloud Nine.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Glendon goes to a fancy restaurant and is mistaken by all and sundry for another character named Phil- who is never mentioned before or after this scene, no is Glendon's resemblance. Nonetheless, the fact that Glendon looks like and is mistaken for Phil is a vital plot point without which the movie makes no sense (it's the reason Glendon was picked for the mission, it's how he gets an entree with a lady named China Doll, etc.)