The Lady from Shanghai ()

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


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Cast verified as complete

Elsa Bannister
Michael O'Hara
Arthur Bannister
George Grisby
Sidney Broome (as Ted De Corsia)
Carl Frank ...
District Attorney Galloway
Louis Merrill ...
Jake Bjornsen
Evelyn Ellis ...
Cab Driver
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Alland ...
Reporter (uncredited)
Schoolteacher at Aquarium / Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Wong Artarne ...
Ticket Taker (uncredited)
Jack Baxley ...
Guard (uncredited)
Steve Benton ...
Policeman (uncredited)
Vernon Cansino ...
Man (uncredited)
Doris Chan ...
Chinese Girl (uncredited)
George Chirello ...
Man (uncredited)
Li (uncredited)
Eddie Coke ...
Policeman (uncredited)
Tom Coleman ...
Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Peter Cusanelli ...
Bartender (uncredited)
Al Eben ...
Policeman (uncredited)
Edythe Elliott ...
Old Lady (uncredited)
Heenan Elliott ...
Guard (uncredited)
Court Clerk (uncredited)
Charles Ferguson ...
Man in Courthouse (uncredited)
Man in Background Outside of Cantina (uncredited)
Joseph Granby ...
Police Lieutenant (uncredited)
Robert Gray ...
Reporter (uncredited)
Reporter (uncredited)
Spectator in Courtroom (uncredited)
Truck Driver (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ...
Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Byron Kane ...
Reporter (uncredited)
Policeman (uncredited)
Preston Lee ...
Chinese Man (uncredited)
Chinese Woman (uncredited)
Billy Louie ...
Chinese Girl (uncredited)
Jury Foreman (uncredited)
Philip Morris ...
Port Steward / Officer Peters (uncredited)
Sam Nelson ...
Captain of Yacht Circe (uncredited)
Mary Newton ...
Reporter (uncredited)
Joe Palma ...
Cab Driver (uncredited)
Guard (uncredited)
Gerald Pierce ...
Waiter (uncredited)
Joe Recht ...
Garage Attendant (uncredited)
Mabel Smaney ...
Woman (uncredited)
Policeman (uncredited)
Norman Earl Thomson ...
Policeman (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ...
Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Policeman / Thug (uncredited)
Old Woman (uncredited)
Big Coke Drinker with Vest (uncredited)
Richard Wilson ...
Assistant District Attorney (uncredited)
Jean Wong ...
Ticket Seller (uncredited)

Directed by

Orson Welles ... (uncredited)

Written by

Sherwood King ... (story based on a novel by)
Orson Welles ... (screenplay)
William Castle ... () (uncredited)
Charles Lederer ... () (uncredited)
Fletcher Markle ... () (uncredited)

Produced by

William Castle ... associate producer
Orson Welles ... producer
Richard Wilson ... associate producer
Harry Cohn ... executive producer (uncredited)

Music by

Heinz Roemheld ... (musical score)

Cinematography by

Charles Lawton Jr. ... director of photography
Rudolph Maté ... (uncredited)
Joseph Walker ... (uncredited)

Film Editing by

Viola Lawrence

Art Direction by

Sturges Carne
Stephen Goosson ... (as Stephen Goossón)

Set Decoration by

Wilbur Menefee ... (set decorations)
Herman N. Schoenbrun ... (set decorations) (as Herman Schoenbrun)

Costume Design by

Jean Louis ... (gowns)

Makeup Department

Clay Campbell ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Helen Hunt ... hair stylist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer ... makeup artist (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Sam Nelson ... assistant director
William Castle ... second unit director (uncredited)
Arthur Marks ... assistant director (uncredited)

Sound Department

Lodge Cunningham ... sound recordist

Special Effects by

Lawrence W. Butler ... special effects (uncredited)


Paul Baxley ... stunts (uncredited)
John Daheim ... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Wilson ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Donald Ray Cory ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Edward Cronenweth ... still photographer (uncredited)
Irving Klein ... camera operator (uncredited)
Richard H. Kline ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Don Murphy ... grip (uncredited)
Ned Scott ... still photographer (uncredited)

Music Department

Morris Stoloff ... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Herschel Burke Gilbert ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Arthur Morton ... orchestrator (uncredited)

Other crew

Dorothy B. Cormack ... script supervisor (uncredited)
Errol Flynn ... technical advisor: yacht scenes (uncredited)
Mary D. Mascari ... cast section (uncredited)
Nancy Saunders ... double: Rita Hayworth (uncredited)
Virginia Van Upp ... story continuity (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot 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, 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

Plot Keywords
Taglines One who keeps his nature keeps his original nature in the end. See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • If I Die Before I Wake (United States)
  • Black Irish (United States)
  • Take This Woman (United States)
  • The Girl from Shanghai (United States)
  • La dame de Shanghai (France)
  • See more »
  • 87 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $2,300,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend United States $7,927, 30 Aug 1998

Did You Know?

Trivia 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 »
Goofs 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 »
Movie Connections Edited into Une histoire seule (1989). See more »
Soundtracks Please Don't Kiss Me See more »
Crazy Credits There is no director credit. Welles' main credit reads "Screen Play and Production Orson Wells". See more »
Quotes Michael O'Hara: Maybe I'll live so long that I'll forget her. Maybe I'll die trying.
See more »

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