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The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  9 June 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 17,699 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 84 critic

Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.




(novel), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Glenn Anders ...
Sidney Broome (as Ted De Corsia)
Erskine Sanford ...
Gus Schilling ...
Louis Merrill ...
Jake Bjornsen
Evelyn Ellis ...
Harry Shannon ...
Cab Driver


Michael O'Hara, against his better judgement, hires on as a crew member of Arthur Bannister's yacht, sailing to San Francisco. They pick up Grisby, Bannister's law partner, en route. Bannister has a wife, Rosalie, who seems to like Michael much better than she likes her husband. After they dock in Sausalito, Michael goes along with Grisby's weird plan to fake his (Grisby's) murder so he can disappear untailed. He wants the $5000 Grisby has offered, so he can run off with Rosalie. But Grisby turns up actually murdered, and Michael gets blamed for it. Somebody set him up, but it is not clear who or how. Bannister (the actual murderer?) defends Michael in court. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll forget there ever was a woman like Gilda...when you meet the Lady From Shanghai! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 June 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Irish  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,927 (USA) (28 August 1998)


$7,927 (USA) (28 August 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Near the end of shooting, Orson Welles told Columbia executives that he wanted a complete set repainted on a Saturday for shooting on Monday. Columbia exec Jack Fier told Welles it was impossible, because of union rules and the expense that would be incurred by calling in a crew of painters to work on a weekend. Welles and several friends broke into the paint department that Saturday and repainted the set themselves, and when they were finished they hung a banner on the set that read "The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fier Himself". When the union painters arrived at work on Monday and saw that the set had been repainted by someone else, they refused to work, threw a picket line around the studio and threatened to stay on strike until a union crew was paid triple time for the work that had been done (which was why Fier had refused to authorize the work in the first place). To placate the union, Fier agreed to pay them what they wanted but put the cost on Welles' personal bill. In addition, he had the union painters paint a banner saying "All's Well That Ends Welles". See more »


Narrator mentions they arrive back in San Francisco on early-October, but in the document (prepared by Grisby) that Wells signs verifying his killing of Grisby, it is dated August 9th, supposedly the next day. See more »


Michael O'Hara: The only way to stay out of trouble is to grow old, so I guess I'll concentrate on that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no director credit. Welles's main credit reads "Script and Production Orson Wells". See more »


Referenced in Modern Family: The Big Guns (2015) See more »


Please Don't Kiss Me
Written by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher
Performed by Rita Hayworth (dubbed by Anita Ellis) (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good film, Great ending
10 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

Okay, the chemistry between Welles and Hayworth was not great, and, to put an end to the "even though they were married" lines, they divorced two weeks after the release of the film. However, as a film-noir and a piece of Orson Welles' body of work, this film is top notch.

Its biggest flaw, besides Welles accent, is that the beginning of the movie is very slow. However, it is necessary for the ending to payoff. It's unfortunate that the current world is moving at light speed, and that movies are chastised for taking ample time to develop their world. A modern example of length being put to good use is The Count of Monte Cristo. Still, that film doesn't compare to "Shanghai".

Once the trial, which is often hilarious, begins, the movie reaches the heights of greatness. It all climaxes with a visually stunning ending in the mirror room of a fun house and a fantastic performance by Hayworth.

The film sticks with you.

Also recommended: The Third Man

54 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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