Lady from Shanghai, The (1947)

"I told you... you know nothing about wickedness"

Original Title : Lady from Shanghai, The
Director : Orson Welles
Writer : Sherwood King
Orson Welles
William Castle
Charles Lederer
Fletcher Markle
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : William Castle , Orson Welles , Richard Wilson , Harry Cohn
Music : Doris Fisher
Allan Roberts
Heinz Roemheld
Photography : Charles Lawton Jr.
Rudolph Maté
Joseph Walker
IMDB ID : 0040525
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poster for "Lady from Shanghai, The" by Orson Welles (1947)
Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles


Rita Hayworth Elsa 'Rosalie' Bannister
Orson Welles Michael O'Hara
Everett Sloane Arthur Bannister
Glenn Anders George Grisby
Ted de Corsia Sidney Broome
Erskine Sanford Judge
Gus Schilling 'Goldie' Goldfish
Carl Frank Dist. Atty. Galloway
Louis Merrill Jake
Evelyn Ellis Bessie, Bannister's Maid-Cook
Harry Shannon Cab Driver
William Alland Reporter (uncredited
Jessie Arnold School Teacher at Aquarium (uncredited
Jack Baxley Guard (uncredited
Steve Benton Policeman (uncredited
Vernon Cansino Man (uncredited
Doris Chan Chinese Girl (uncredited
George Chirello Man (uncredited
Wong Show Chong Li, the Bannister Chauffeur (uncredited
Edward Coke Policeman (uncredited
Peter Cusanelli Bartender (uncredited
Al Eben Policeman (uncredited
Edythe Elliott Old Lady (uncredited
John Elliott Court Clerk (uncredited
Keenan Elliott Guard (uncredited
Errol Flynn Extra (uncredited
Joseph Granby Police Lieutenant (uncredited
Robert Gray Reporter (uncredited
Alvin Hammer Reporter (uncredited
Maynard Holmes Truck Driver (uncredited
Tiny Jones Woman (uncredited
Byron Kane Reporter (uncredited
Milton Kibbee Policeman (uncredited
Preston Lee Chinese Man (uncredited
Grace Lem Chinese Woman (uncredited
Billy Louie Chinese Girl (uncredited
Charles Meakin Jury Foreman (uncredited
Philip Morris Port Steward/Peters (uncredited
Sam Nelson Captain of Yacht Circe (uncredited
Mary Newton Reporter (uncredited
Joseph Palmer Cab Driver (uncredited
Edward Peil Sr. Guard (uncredited
Gerald Pierce Waiter (uncredited
Joe Recht Garage Attendant (uncredited
Mabel Smaney Woman (uncredited
Harry Strang Policeman (uncredited
Norman Thomson Policeman (uncredited
Philip Van Zandt Policeman/Thug (uncredited
Dorothy Vaughan Old Woman (uncredited
Richard Wilson Assistant District Attorney (uncredited
Artarne Wong Ticket Taker (uncredited
Jean Wong Ticket Seller (uncredited


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, Rosalie, 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 Rosalie. 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.


Orson Welles takes on a pulp-noir novel and, at the least, makes it his own, Grade: A As I watched one of Orson Welles' last contributions to Hollywood as a filmmaker, I knew I was watching a great movie unfold, though at times I did not know why.The story in The Lady from Shanghai has the prime elements of a film-noir: average-Joe lead, femme fatale, conspicuous supporting characters, and a comprehensible if somewhat convoluted plot structure.It is an entertaining ride, and it's filled to the brim with Welles' unique gifts as a director, but there are scenes that tend to just not work, or don't feel complete in what was Welles' full vision (the latter is unfortunately too true- executive producer Harry Cohn and the Columbia execs are to blame for that). Welles co-stars with his then wife, the profoundly gorgeous Rita Hayworth, as Mike O'Hara, an Irish worker who can and does get angry at the right people.Hayworth is Mrs. Bannister, married to Mr. Bannister (Everett Sloane, who played Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane), who is accompanied by a friend Mr. Grisby (Glenn Anders, who has great control in his eyes).They want to go sailing on their yacht and take O'Hara along for the ride, and at first he's reluctant, but agrees since he's falling for the married Mrs.As their journey unfolds, O'Hara finds that Bannister and Grisby are not pleasant to be around, and more so with Grisby, who at first seems out of his gourd.Yet as the plot unfolds, O'Hara is drawn into a scam that Grisby is planning for insurance money, with results that I dare not reveal (although they have been discussed over and over by others). Whatever liabilities pop up here and there in the mystery part of the story (and those few noticeable moments where shots were studio dictated), the performances and the look of the film are what remains striking after over fifty-five years.Though he doesn't have the terrific Greg Tolland (Kane's DP) at his side, dependable Charles Lawton Jr. assists Welles in creating an atmosphere that is both elegant and stark, covered in shadows, deep focus, low angles, the works.A particular accomplishment is the fun-house mirror scene, which is merely a highlight among others.Welles himself is always dependable as an actor- even if his accent isn't anything special- and Hayworth herself makes a scene a little more lush, despite her path in the story. The Lady from Shanghai is worth checking out, especially for Welles, Hayworth, or film-noir buffs (fans of the Coen brothers might find this fascinating as well).It may just take a little while, repeat viewings (as was for Touch of Evil), for the underlying motives in the plot to sink in.
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Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles
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Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles
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Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles
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Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles
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Lady from Shanghai, The (1947) - Orson Welles