The Lady From Shanghai (1948) (NR)

Suspense/Thriller 87
By Jon Dolan
It has been argued that Orson Welles's classic noir from 1948--about a gullible Irish seaman (Welles) who falls for a femme fatale (Rita Hayworth) and follows her into a labyrinthine murder plot--is a metaphor for his own dangerous relationship with his film's leading lady. But its cursive flow could just as easily be read as a series of well-crafted sneers from a young genius to the industry that was stifling his need to experiment. No doubt its gangly plot seems born to mislead (Columbia bigwig Harry Cohn offered a thousand bucks to anyone who could explain it for him). And Welles's studly yokel "hero"--who's at first fetishized and then framed by a gruesome crew of jaded fat cats--couldn't be a sappier sucker. It only makes sense that this Borgesian twister of a whodunit is legendary for its shoot-out in a hall of mirrors. And wouldn't you know it? Welles's character is the only one left standing. (Jon Dolan)
Orson Welles Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane Orson Welles Orson Welles


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