During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »
A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
Thelma Jordon is in love with a jewel thief, Tony Laredo, and he persuades her to go live with her rich aunt, and steal her jewels. During the robbery, she shoots her formerly-rich aunt, ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
According to Orson Welles, this film grew out of an act of pure desperation. Welles, whose Mercury Theatre company produced a musical version of "Around the World in 80 Days," was in desperate need of money just before the Boston Preview. Mere hours before the show was due to open, the costumes had been impounded and unless Welles could come up with $55,000 to pay outstanding debts, the performance would have to be canceled. Stumbling upon a copy of "If I Die Before I Wake," the novel upon which this film is based, Welles phoned Harry Cohn, instructing him to buy the rights to the novel and offering to write, direct and star in the film so long as Cohn would send $55,000 to Boston within two hours. The money arrived, and the production went on as planned. See more »
When Grisby is toasting to the murder plot with O'Hara, he holds up a glass that is 3/4 full of beer. When he raises the glass up to drink from it from the glass, it is almost completely full. See more »
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
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