7.7/10
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The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 24 December 1947 (France)
Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.

Director:

Orson Welles (uncredited)

Writers:

Sherwood King (story based on a novel by), Orson Welles (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rita Hayworth ... Elsa Bannister
Orson Welles ... Michael O'Hara
Everett Sloane ... Arthur Bannister
Glenn Anders ... George Grisby
Ted de Corsia ... Sidney Broome (as Ted De Corsia)
Erskine Sanford ... Judge
Gus Schilling ... Goldie
Carl Frank Carl Frank ... District Attorney Galloway
Louis Merrill Louis Merrill ... Jake Bjornsen
Evelyn Ellis Evelyn Ellis ... Bessie
Harry Shannon ... Cab Driver
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Storyline

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, Elsa, 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 Elsa. 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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One who keeps his nature keeps his original nature in the end. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

24 December 1947 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

If I Die Before I Wake See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,927, 30 August 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,927, 30 August 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For one shot simulating O'Hara's point of view as he hurtled down the slide, Charles Lawton Jr. and camera operator Irving Klein slid the entire length of it on their stomachs with the camera on a mat. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs. Bannister is lunging for the exit in the mirrored room, the "broken glass" in the foreground stays in frame as the camera pans to the right, spoiling the illusion of a cracked window. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael O'Hara: When I start out to make a fool of myself, there's very little can stop me. If I'd known where it would end, I'd never let anything start... if I'd been in my right mind, that is. But once I'd seen her, once I'd seen her, I was not in my right mind for quite some time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits shown over a water background. See more »

Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Na Baixa do Sapateiro (Bahia)
(uncredited)
Written by Ary Barroso
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Noir Experience
23 March 2003 | by objxsSee all my reviews

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!


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