A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Monday, May 9, 2011
The Lady from Shanghai
Orson Welles was an uncompromising creative genius with a distinct visual style and feel for the camera. He often clashed with the studio heads over how his films were cut and presented and this is the reason, I suspect, why his resume is so short yet filled with great works. The Lady from Shanghai was made following the massive success of Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. It is not his strongest work, yet it is visually exciting and entertaining nonetheless. Welles stars as Michael O'Hara, a tough Irish sailor who right off the bat admits his naievty in falling for a wealthy woman (Rita Hayworth) whom he rescues from an attack in the park. Somehow he is serving as a deckhand on her famous defense attorney husband's yacht and soon after that he is intwined in a murder plot full of double and triple crosses. The film opens as intriguing noir and Welles' narration is wonderfully ominous. The next few scenes play out well as well and then the film somewhat loses focus and becomes plodding during scenes on a yacht and a tropic isle. Then things pick up steam when the murder plot is introuduced and the film wraps up is the highly memorable House of Mirrors finale. Despite its plodding midsection and a plot that no man with any semblance of a brain would find himself in, The Lady from Shanghai is a fine addition to Orson Welles' directorial canon.