Reviews

The Lady From Shanghai

4

Citizen Welles...

“Why don’t you try to understand?” asks Rita Hayworth’s femme fatale of Orson Welles’ Irish sailor. The question resonates with anyone befuddled by the plot of Welles’ studio-hacked 1947 noir, but Welles’ dazzling direction more than makes up for any lack of viewer understanding.

Welles was less interested in the tale of a drifter lured into trouble by Hayworth and her husband (Everett Sloane) than in classic noir staples: murder, voyeurism, male sexual anxiety. Whether that was due to his failing real-life marriage to Hayworth or not, the delirious set-pieces – the Magic Mirror Maze especially – render Welles’ genius for sly subtexts crystal clear.

Film Details