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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When I start out to make a fool of myself, there's very little can stop me!
I did no research on the film prior to my first viewing of it because it was part of a Welles box set I had recently purchased. A box set I chiefly got because I wanted to own A Man For All Seasons and to also re-evaluate Waterloo. So I stick Orson and Rita in the player and I'm treated to class and confusion in equal measure.

On the surface the story seemed a...
Published 18 months ago by Spike Owen

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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars flawed but should be seen
Coming straight from a viewing of The Third Man, one of my all time favourites, and a great performance from Welles, The Lady From Shanghai was a bit of a dissappointment. Welles's acting is the foremost problem. It's as if he was unsure of what to make of the character, where to place him so to speak. Welles who would usually steal the whole scene with the...
Published on 6 Dec 2005 by thomas12321


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When I start out to make a fool of myself, there's very little can stop me!, 12 Jan 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
I did no research on the film prior to my first viewing of it because it was part of a Welles box set I had recently purchased. A box set I chiefly got because I wanted to own A Man For All Seasons and to also re-evaluate Waterloo. So I stick Orson and Rita in the player and I'm treated to class and confusion in equal measure.

On the surface the story seemed a simple one, man meets gorgeous woman and saves her from a couple of thugs, they click straight away and man gets offer of work on a cruise with woman and her famous lawyer husband, and then...

Well it becomes murder mystery of plotted devilment and much shenanigans. Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles) himself doesn't really know what is going on, he is as confused as the viewer is, and that is wonderful to watch as he is pulled all over the place by pretty much everyone in the film. Obviously being pulled by the heart strings by a femme fatale of such beauty as Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth) has its moments, but you just know that things are going to go pear shaped.

So many wonderful things in the film, it has Welles visual style all over it, see a scene in an aquarium that is marvellous and the ending sequences in a fun house are majestic on the eye. The narration from O'Hara is joyously self mocking, while we get good light relief by way of a court case where Everett Sloane considerably lights up proceedings.

Yet the film is still something of an oddity, and in fact it's a choppy viewing experience because (as I was to find out after) studio bosses cut the film by pretty much a whole hour, and that is just not only frustrating to us the viewer, but very unfair on Welles' vision. I'm positive that a full original cut of this film would have been lauded and revered wholesale. As it is, though, we have an excellent and intriguing film, one that hints at greatness to rival the more praised of Orson's productions, but thankfully what remains is a fiendishly engrossing film that keeps on giving rewards with each subsequent viewing. 9/10
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A historical turn by hayworth in the heat of wickedness, 20 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
Orson Welles has in in essence designed a film noir but this has aged into profoundly unique and twisted art , much more than a murder mystery,that the motives of all the characters are obscure or they are conceived as a failure is insignificant as there is a twist here which every cineaste will observe as a multilayered work of genius .
The meeting between Elsa -RITA HAYWORTH -and Micheal -ORSON WELLES -in New York's
Central park opens the overture to a brittle romance with intense and torrid emotional exchanges ,the encounter is just as accidental as this unique drama destined to become a legendary cult classic .

ELSA is enroute to San francisco on their private yacht with her husband and some pals and hires Mike as a navigator and the turbulent journey begins , sailing through Panama canal .

The murder mystery is a planned event and it hatches on the yacht in the vast background of the mighty blue mysterious ocean and the rocky cliffs and exotic beaches where the romance mingles with evil negativity in a tongue in cheek manner .
Finally in a bizarre conspiracy almost like a prank, Micheal is framed for the murder of one of the guests on the yacht with irrefutable evidence and the murder trial ensues in San Francisco.
Frisco is shot as never before and even the 70s Chinatown borrowed from this classic ,the atmosphere is electric and chilling with menacing shadows and the corrupt cops around every corner .
The satire on the penal codes and judiciary is too obvious to be missed in a brilliant performance by Welles in the court with some eclectic and mischievously rampant dialogues delivered in total contempt of the law and order as extant until this day.
The movie is anti -establishment and anti -imperialist in it's tone but it is not so at cost of admiring any other system but just describing humanity in it's miserable paradigm .

Rita Hayworth cut and dyed her long red mane to blonde and this is an affective ,sinister and her most interesting act, which will grow in strength with time galore as she expressess every shade of the complex character she plays with her body language and her exotic facial expressions .

Hayworth has a tragic grace laced with a surreal glamour which is both hypnotic and haunting and you cannot take your eyes off her whether it is the short lived romance with Welles set on the yacht against the rippling ocean which enhances her mystique or whether it is her bizarre approach to the opposite sex which she regards as justly exploitative ,nevertheless a character that is unforgettable in all it's nuanced glory .

Despite being butchered by the studio, the movie has enough memorable and profoundly artistic visuals from New York to Frisco and Welles and Hayworth are magically intense and the melancholy they arouse is both bittersweet yet romantic in a surreal sense .
this is dark romance entangled in the guise of a court room drama . which overshadows most similar works by its profound passion .

The exceptionally unique set design and musical composition with the sound and the cinematography in the maze of mirror sequences makes this totally unique and memorable unlike any other movie ever made by Hollywood and the credit goes to the script and direction by Welles and the performance he extracted from Rita Hayworth as the wickedly divine angel -Elsa .

The fact WELLES -RITA married at the start of filming and divorced after the shoot finished shows that true art is taxing and takes it's toll even on genuinely talented individuals ,but the results are honourably exquisite in a story which is best described as a romantic satire on the social milieu in the era it was made and it is more relevant today as the nature and behaviour of the characters is captured in a timeless frame in classic images immersed in divine shades of wickedness which oozes off the screen and provokes your senses setting them on fire .
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir classic with still-contenporary shadings, 13 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Welles takes the lead and also directs with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Rita Hayworth taking the role of the femme fatale. At the time, Welles was accused of creating a deliberately confusing and disjointed film to spite her, forcing her to cut and bleach her famous flowing red locks for the part. Welles plays a seaman (Mike O'Hara) who rescues Hayworth from muggers in a park at the beginning of the film. Hayworth is married to a famous trial laywer (Bannister) who is also crippled and twisted, both physically and mentally. Bannister persuades Welles to serve on his private yacht taking him, his wife and his partner on a cruise along the Mexican coast. During the voyage - shot with wonderfully atmospheric lighting - O'Hara is asked by Bannister's partner to help him fake his own death, for a "small fee". Now obsessed with Hayworth, and feeling that he must rescue her from this environment, Welles agrees. The stage is now set for a twist, with the partner's mysterious death, leaving O'Hara looking the clear murderer. Bannister - who is now sure of O'Hara's involvement with his wife - agrees to defend him, determined to loose this case. Just before the jury gives its decision, O'Hara manages to escape from the courtroom, setting things up for the finale, which takes place in the hall of mirrors of a deserted fun park. Apart from the awfulness of Welles' cod-Irish accent, and his inability to show much credibility in the fight scenes, the film's wonderful lighting and cryptic dialogue - delivered straight by the actors - bowls along well, with some wonderful set pieces such as Welles and Hayworth in the aquarium, Bannister cross-examining himself in the court scenes and the finale in the hall of mirrors.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars movie review, 8 Aug 2011
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The Lady from Shanghai is a drama with many twists which makes it quite enthralling. I really enjoyed it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The lady from Shanghai, 9 May 2014
By 
Sandra Osborne "ISandra osborne" (Harrow Middlesex England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
I chose this rating as I love classic films.
Orson wells is shadowed by Rita Hayworth with her performance
A film to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon bag of pop corns feet up perfect!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius at work, 8 May 2014
This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
One of his finest films. Welles proves adept at a genre - film noir - which he helped to create.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orson Welles - need we say more?, 6 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
Most films by Orson Welles are interesting, and if they're not, that's probably interesting too. With a classic cinematic final too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're a friend of thrillers/suspense and simple turning to complex..., 14 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
... then you really may enjoy this piece.

This is only the second Welles I've seen thus far (yes, embarrassing, I know), but I dare say this exceeded my expectations. I was fearfully expecting a film with too much complicated artistic touches, that many critics adore, but which I would not come to praise.

What was offered, to my pleasure, was a well woven story with not too much deviations. The plot stayed together well enough and there was something happening all the time - something I like in a film. I don't like it pacing at one spot too long. At times there were longer shots of dialogue, which didn't really stick, but that was probably because they were at the beginning of the film, where I was still quite stuck on the funny-sounding way Orson spoke. Maybe it's some accent thing, I don't know.

Nonetheless it was sort-of-mumbling -sounding, and looking as if he barely moves his lips. Well, one got used to that eventually. But if you do not, this edition offers a variety of subtitles to choose from. :P

Anyway, this film is recommended to all you friends of thrillers and suspense from another friend of thrillers and suspense. :)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orson Welles over-eggs it., 18 Jun 2011
By 
Ms. E. L. Preston (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
Good noir plot and great noir characters. Lighting/photography sparkles. Only drawback is Orson's dominating and unconvincing Irish accent. A re-make with Colin Farrell maybe?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welles + Hayworth + Great Story = A Noir Classic!, 23 May 2011
This review is from: The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] (DVD)
Orson Welles had a lot to prove following his incredible successes of "Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons", and with "The Lady From Shanghai", he pulled off another masterpiece of 1940s Americana.
Based on a pulp novel "If I Die Before I Wake" which is not particularly well structured but has an interesting storyline, this film is one of those rare pieces of cinema- a film better than the book! Of course, it's not completely faithful, but all of Welles' alterations are for the better. The overall atmosphere of the film is one of art for art's sake, but art amidst sordid surroundings of double-crossing lawyers, femme fatales, the high seas and the flawed justice system in the United States. Welles again proves his talent as an actor as well as director, giving a strong turn as Irish sailor Mike O'Hara, complete with annoying accent, but then again, you can't really blame the guy for trying!
Rita Hayworth smoulders as a femme fatale, all blonde hair and white swimsuit. Her performance as the essential villain of the piece is gripping, provocative and gives the viewer an emotional rollercoaster ride. The supporting cast are, for the most part, excellent, revelling in the slick dialogue and strong characters.
The film's storyline, like most noir, is extremely complex to follow, but it doesn't really matter- Welles gives the viewer time to digest what has just happened before moving on to the next big set piece. The film flows beautifully from shot to shot and from scene to scene- it's typical Welles cinematography: fluent, fluid and above all, spectacular. You need only watch the concluding five minutes to get your full share of the sense of editing and cinematography that was, and indeed still is, innovative and beautiful.
Overall, "The Lady From Shanghai" is an excellent film noir with Orson Welles' own personal signature; and it's a signature that's loud and clear in this perfect synthesis of commercial pulp fiction with art-house Americana. A true classic!
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The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003]
The Lady From Shanghai [DVD] [1947] [2003] by Orson Welles (DVD - 2003)
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