A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
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>
When Glenn Anders arrived on the set his first day, Orson Welles immediately ordered him to lie down on a stretcher under a sheet and play dead. The actor did as instructed and while he lay there, he said, a studio rep handed him a pen and a contract to sign. At that point, Anders claimed, he still knew nothing about the film or the part he was playing. Over the course of shooting, Anders became so upset about Welles' bullying, the crew dubbed him "Glenn Anguish." See more »
The narrator mentions they arrive back in San Francisco in 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 »
Well, Mr. Bannister's picnic party was most typical of him. A lot of trouble and a great deal of money went into it, but it was no more a picnic than Bannister was a man.
See more »
There is no director credit. Welles' main credit reads "Screen Play and Production Orson Wells". See more »
Made in 1946 and released in 1948, The Lady and Shanghai was one of the big films made by Welles after returning from relative exile for making Citizen Kane. Dark, brooding and expressing some early Cold War paranoia, this film stands tall as a Film-Noir crime film. The cinematography of this film is filled with Welles' characteristic quirks of odd angles, quick cuts, long pans and sinister lighting. The use of ambient street music is a precursor to the incredible long opening shot in Touch of Evil, and the mysterious Chinese characters and the sequences in Chinatown can only be considered as the inspiration, in many ways, to Roman Polanski's Chinatown. Unfortunately, it is Welles' obsession with technical filmmaking that hurts this film in its entirety. The plot of this story is often lost behind a sometimes incomprehensible clutter of film techniques.
However, despite this criticism, the story combined with wonderful performances by Welles, Hayworth and especially Glenn Anders (Laughter) make this film a joy to watch. Orson Welles pulls off not only the Irish brogue, but the torn identities as the honest but dangerous sailor. Rita Hayworth, who was married to Welles at the time, breaks with her usual roles as a sex goddess and takes on a role of real depth and contradictions. Finally, Glenn Anders strange and bizarre portrayal or Elsa's husbands' law partner is nothing short of classic!
22 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?