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The Lady from Shanghai

September 5, 2010

The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
Director: Orson Welles
Actors: Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane

Synopsis: Michael O’Hara (Orson Welles) becomes obsessed by a glamorous woman (Rita Hayworth), but the subsequent boating trip he takes with her, leaves him mired in a murder mystery…

Review: This is Orson Welles’ very own distinctive and highly idiosyncratic take on classic film noir. Not content at merely replicating this much-furnished genre, Welles toys with noir’s conventions for his own playful ends. From the laconic, anti-dramatic voiceover, and the deliberately convoluted plot, to the marvellously satirical courtroom scene (Welles can barely conceal his contempt for this hackneyed narrative trope), Welles conveys the impression of a relaxed master-at-work, content in the spontaneous conjuring of some cinematic gold-dust – the closing hall-of-mirrors scene being a case in point. (December 2006)

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