The Lady From Shanghai


The seething misogyny hovering around Orson Welles' confused, ominous noir simply begs you to read the film as a visualisation of his malfunctioning marriage to co-star Rita Hayworth. Chomping on his accent, Welles' Irish drifter finds himself ensnared in a mesh of lust, murder and betrayal by Mrs Bannister (Hayworth, whose famous red locks are hacked off and dyed blonde), the seductive wife of a crippled lawyer. Jumbled by its director's indulgence and the studio's butchers, the film's murky plot eventually gives way to some fascinating visual set-pieces: the kissing scene set in an aquarium and the climactic hall-of-mirrors shoot-out... They're up there with the darkest imaginings of Welles' genius.

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