I told you... you know nothing about wickedness
A romantic drifter gets caught between a corrupt tycoon and his voluptuous wife.
A romantic drifter gets caught between a corrupt tycoon and his voluptuous wife.
Rita Hayworth Orson Welles Everett Sloane Glenn Anders Ted de Corsia Erskine Sanford Gus Schilling Lou Merrill Carl Frank Evelyn Ellis Harry Shannon William Alland Alvin Hammer Byron Kane Mary Newton Jessie Arnold Tom Coleman Theresa Harris Tiny Jones Arthur Tovey Jack Baxley Edward Peil Sr. Steve Benton Eddie Coke Al Eben Milton Kibbee Harry Strang Norman Thomson Philip Van Zandt Show All…
as gorgeous, scandalous, and twisty as i'd hoped, much funnier than i ever could have expected. wild as hell. highlights: mirrors (duh), aquarium, hayworth hats, juror sneezing repeatedly for some reason, sweaty face close-ups, the second most harrowing shark monologue of all time delivered in one of the most irritating faux accents of all time.
Performances : 7.2/10
Story : 9.3/10
Production : 7.7/10
Overall : 8.06/10
The Lady from Shanghaiis easily the worst Orson Welles production that I've seen. The camera work doesn't blow me away...which isn't necessarily fair, as it really is fine, I'm just used to so much more from Welles. The lighting doesn't quite work for the genre and the score was out of place. Also I didn't really love his performance as "black irish". The accent just seemed so awkward and forced. However, besides Citizen Kane this film is probably Orson Welles' best story. It twists around more than most Noirs dare to do and it features some of the most thrilling closing moments I've personally ever seen put to…
Decades Project: 1/4 of the 40's
"Everybody is somebody's fool."
Everyone loves a good puzzle. The anticipation while you put it together, the satisfaction once it's complete; it's great. Mysteries are like puzzles (duh), except you have to watch someone else put the pieces together. You never know if they're hiding extra pieces up their sleeve or throwing out pieces that don't fit or making a different puzzle altogether.
So here's the deal with The Lady from Shanghai: it's definitely a puzzle (duh), but Welles puts the pieces together so many times and in so many different ways that by the end of it all you're not sure if you've got the final picture or if the edges of the…
The Lady From Shanghai is my introduction to Orson Welles. As with every director I have just embarked on, I have no idea why it takes me so long to get to these classics. There is definitely some prejudice on my part, even if I know that I enjoy films from this era. Every time I watch one, I love it. Yet, it feels so demanding and different from modern film that I manage to talk myself out of watching one. When the DVD finally gets put into the player, however, it takes no time at all for me to realize just how stupid I had been. The Lady From Shanghai is yet another stellar example of this stupidity with…
"(They were) like the sharks, mad with their own blood, chewing away at their own selves." ~ Mike O'Hara
This is almost the perfect example of 1940s film noir, except for one thing: Orson Welles' gawd-awful Irish accent. He plays Michael O'Hara, a merchant sailor who gets mixed up with a beautiful damsel in distress, Elsa Bannister, who is played by a surprisingly blonde, short-haired Rita Hayworth. Hayworth, of course, was the former Mrs. Wells at the time, and her on-screen presence is remarkable. The camera loves her. And clearly she could still channel her feelings for her ex.
The story doesn't have a whole lot to do with Shanghai, but Elsa spent time there when she was younger, learned…
The more I learn about Orson Welles as part of this Film School Dropout challenge, the more I realize that the truth about him as a person is a complicated mix of what his fans and his critics have had to say about him over the years. Because yes, as academic apologists have asserted long after the fact, Welles was undoubtedly a genius whose undoctored work was years ahead of its time, unfairly chopped apart afterwards by studio hacks who didn't get what he was going for (see my review of The Magnificent Ambersons from the beginning of this week for more);…
Having not been the largest fan of director Orson Welles's previous acclaimed "masterpiece", Citizen Kane, I was somewhat nervous about the quality of this other film of his, 1947's The Lady From Shanghai. Now that I have watched it, as part of my film course, I can safely say... it's okay.
The problem with Welles is that is film-making style isn't necessarily my sort of thing. The 40s was a weird period of time for cinema, and probably the most restrictive and conventional time for Hollywood films to be created in, something that really doesn't click with me. So many movies with great promise were butchered and ruined by the demands of the studios, and unfortunately The Lady From Shanghai…
Orson Welles' ornate, twisting noir is a superb exercise in cinematic style. The plot has Michael O'Hara (Wells) being seduced into the ambit of the beautiful Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth), her crippled hot-shot lawyer husband Arthur (Everett Sloane) and his law partner, the scheming George Grisby (Glenn Anders). Grisby plans on staging his own disappearance with the help of Michael, but things go murderously wrong. The script has all the dark meanderings and tortured twists that you would expect from a film noir and the leading cast is uniformly first rate. It is Welles' stylish direction and brilliant set pieces (allied to Charles Lawton, Jr.'s magnificent photography) that set this film apart. Each individual scene is expertly composed and choreographed and they lead incrementally to a stunning German Expressionistic-heavy climactic scene in a hall of mirrors. A stunning climax to a first rate noir thriller.
No one made a film like Orson Welles. while his Irish accent is terrible and it's obvious the entire character of "Elsa"(Rita Hayworth) was just him projecting his hatred and disgust for his soon to be ex-wife (I mean listen to the end monologue, it's clear as day it's about Rita the person, not Elsa the character). This is a truly mind-boggling noir in which is quintessential Welles. Tongue-in-cheek jabs at the Hollywood studio system? Check. Real downer ending so depressing only could have made it? Check. Mind bending "how the hell did he do that for 1947" set design? Check.
He truly was a master of filmmaking and this is no exception. If anything check out the last 20 minutes as it's some of the best in Wells cannon, especially set-design and cinematography wise. Highly recommend.
"Seventy years ago, [Welles] brought his unique brand to film noir, and the result was The Lady from Shanghai, a stylish, restless work as messy as it is inspirationally offbeat, and that bore many of its director’s most idiosyncratic hallmarks."
Afterthoughts: It took me a while to get into this. I found a lot of the editing in the first half unbearably terrible which shocked and angered me coming from one of cinema's great master filmmakers. So many horrible cuts and an overusage of dissolves that my critical self struggled to shrug off.
However, the final third is incredibly intense, engaging and inventive, including a brilliant sequence reminiscent of German Expressionism, which leads right into the wonderful finale, followed by the quaint closing shot, which ultimately eradicates the technical misdemeanours of the first half and renders them forgotten.
ALMOST got Welles on 5 films now, a shamefully low total for such an important filmmaker. The Trial (1962) will be next.
AFI SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT: 2K Restoration, 70th Anniversary
This classic film noir has it all – a tight script, great scenes on location, and the seductive and beautiful Rita Hayworth. Orson Welles is in the role of the guy realizes he’s swimming with sharks, but can’t stop himself from doing so. Isn’t that a common theme in these movies? At Hayworth’s urging, he takes a job on her husband’s yacht; her husband (Everett Sloane) is a rich, invalid lawyer who is having his wife followed. Things are uneasy from the outset, and then take a turn for the worse when Sloane’s partner Grigsby (Glenn Anders) offers him money out of the blue to commit a murder – on himself, Grigsby. Glenn Anders looks like a maniacal Mike Ditka…
I love this movie. It's endlessly entertaining and rewatchable.