Designer: Lynne Day
Company: Ashton Drake
Story Card Edit
In 1942, Monolithic Studios took a chance that paid off with their newest star. Gene Marshall's role in Shanghai Lowdown was that of a seemingly innocent girl in the power of the mysterious Madame Owatabi Chai Yum. But is she REALLY as innocent as she appears or is she just another femme fatale...?
One of the most striking moments in the film was one that went down in Monolithic history. In Madame Owatabi Chai Yum's den of iniquity the floorshow is about to begin. Through the heavy haze of devilishly scented thick smoke and over the clatter of busboys' trays, a single trumpet slices the air. The lights in the club black out, leaving the patrons (and the movie audience) in the heavy darkness, breathless with anticipation.
Suddenly, a blinding spotlight hits the back of a young dandy in a startlingly white top hat and tails, slowly swaying in time to the sultry trumpet's mournful call. The dancer seems infused with an unearthly glow, as if an angel (or devil!) had mystically appeared in the middle of this not-so-divine decadence. A hand slowly reaches up to tip the white topper and...
POW! It's Gene, wearing a costume that Hollywood copied many times throughout the ensuing decades--and one that became a signature outfit for Gene. In fact, at a special screening marking the tenth anniversary of the release of Shanghai Lowdown, Gene once again wowed the crowd by appearing at a fundraiser in the costume from the film--looking not a day older and twice as provocative.