Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.
Sure there are lots of strange, even occasionally surreal aspects to the film, Welles' "Oirish" accent, that he's almost always in three-quarter profile facing the left, the massive close-ups and occasional crazy-cutting, the talking in Chinese to name but a few, but it also contains memorable, bravura scenes which only Orson could devise, like his deconstruction of the clichéd courtroom scene, his and Rita Hayworth's rendezvous at the aquarium with massive shape-shifting marine life glowing and glowering behind them, the upshot in the Chinese Theatre and of course the terrific climax in the hall of mirrors.
The motives of the characters and consistencies of the plot are at times seemingly thrown to the wind but somehow you're swept along, rather like Welles Black Irish Michael O'Hara, like a cork on the sea and left at the end deposited on the shore, breathless, confused but exhilarated. I know there are those who think it's a terrible movie and who blame the money-men saboteurs, but I loved it, warts and all. Although you never get used to that brogue, Welles is great in the lead role, Hayworth too in a misunderstood role. Then characters like the greasy, grisly Grisby and the lame, sardonic husband (the way he drawls the word "lover") really get under your skin as they're meant to. And there's more, those close-ups showing the sweat, dread bewilderment and blankness of his characters' faces, the great dialogue, especially the analogy of humans with sharks, the little dots of humour with the various reactions of the public in the gallery of the court scene ("You're kidding, right?") and the chase scenes so reminiscent of "The Third Man", to name but a few.
Someday I'd love to see the film Welles had in his head, but then you could say that about almost all his projects going right back to "Citizen Kane". I'm a fan and in the end have to be grateful for the small mercies of just whatever he was able to get released through the studio system, flaws, tampering and all. And I love film noir, so this was great for me to watch and I think it is a great watch too.
- Jan 23, 2016