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YMMV / Daughter of Shanghai

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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Shockingly enough for the 1930s, all the white characters are either evil or ineffective.
  • Actor Shipping: Anna May Wong and Philip Ahn had to deny that they were a couple. They insisted they were Like Brother and Sister.
  • Awesome Moments:
    • Lan Ying thinks on her feet when her father has literally been murdered in front of her. When the shot aimed at her misses, she pretends to have been hit and sneaks out of the car right before it's pushed into the river. She gets away and immediately goes for Mrs Hunt's - where she knows the police will be.
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    • Her Refuge in Audacity where she easily talks her way backstage at Hartman's club, is able to get enough information and gets hired on the spot - fully exploiting the Dirty Old Man's Male Gaze. She gets there quicker than the actual detective, with only a name and a vague location.
    • When Detective Lee is tied up in the telephone room, he's able to get free enough to make a call to the police and ensure that Mrs Hunt gets busted.
  • Cliché Storm: The film does hit pretty much every point that an adventure serial would in the 1930s.
  • Evil Is Cool: Mrs Hunt is a wealthy woman who has been running a successful smuggling ring for ten years. She has never been caught, and Lan Ying and her father never suspected her once. Too bad she's Surrounded by Idiots.
  • Fight Scene Failure: Kim's fist fighting in the climax falls short on being dramatic.
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  • Fridge Brilliance: Doing the math around how long Mrs Hunt says she's known Lan Ying and her father, and how long the ring has been in operation confirms that Mrs Hunt has been watching them from the start.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Fans of Anna May Wong watch it just to see her play a non-stereotypical Chinese character.
  • Les Yay: There's a girl in the club who congratulates Lan Ying on her dance, and seemed to be quite into it.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The smugglers cross it in the opening scene. When they're being pursued by a government plane, they drop their human cargo into the ocean to be drowned.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
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  • Stoic Woobie: Lan Ying loses her father in the first ten minutes and gets drawn into the smuggling world - and at points she's nearly gang raped by the sailors and drowned by the villains. She could easily have fallen apart but she keeps a cool head.
  • Tear Jerker: Lan Ying's composed but no less sad talk to their maid as she's brought home after her father's death. She asks her to say a prayer in Chinese.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: They seem to establish Olga as being a rival of sorts to Lan Ying. But she never figures into the plot, except to scowl at the latter whenever she does something right.
  • Values Dissonance: There's the slightly uncomfortable character of Sam - Mr Quan's Jive Turkey of a butler. He is of course the only black character in the movie.
  • Values Resonance: The film stars two Asian-American leads, both of whom are actual characters and not stereotypes. Both are competent in their own ways, and save each other's skin multiple times during the film. Considering how hard it seems to be to get Asians in leading roles in Hollywood today, this film is very resonant. It's also pretty feminist, given that Lan Ying is a very active character and Mrs Hunt's status as the criminal mastermind.
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