THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI

February 19, 2012 · Print This Article

Returning to film noir movies this evening I watched THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI written and directed by Orson Welles starring the timeless beauty Rita Hayworth.  The version I watched suffered from very poor audio, but even with surround sound I still would have found the movie lacking in many areas, least of which would be likable characters.  There is no one to root for in this movie, therefore, without any emotional interest, the fate each character meets in the end has an equally emotionally-free impact.

Welles with a horrible Irish accent (was that really necessary?) approaches a stunningly beautiful woman, Hayworth, in a horse carriage in New York City.  As things go in movies in the 40s there is an instant attraction, of a sorts, and suddenly she is insisting he work on the yacht that is taking her and her rich, but crippled, husband to San Francisco.

On board things are very strange as her husband, Arthur Bannister a nationally famous trial lawyer, is ok with this dude just hanging around his wife.  Even weirder, Bannister’s law partner Grisby speaks with the manner of a lunatic and is plotting something.

Once they all arrive in San Francisco Welles just wants Hayworth to runaway with him, but he has no idea who she really is and what she really wants.  A totally screwball murder trial follows and then a zero-impact finale in a hall of mirrors.  I do not really see the point of a movie like this existing.

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