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Most relevant reviews
- michelangelo147...Aug 05, 2008by
1947 Sizzling Rita Hayworth in a 'Scoured' Welles Film
The story of "The Lady from Shanghai" has elements of a film-noir: a femme fatale; average guy lead; conspicuous supporting caricatures; a dark, dense, dubious plot. Welles' visions as a director are 'scoured' by the far too heavily involved exec. producer, Harry Cohn, & Columbia's execs. Their hour of scenes cut from Welles' masterpiece made it choppy, or rather, cut off the depths of Welles' directorial vision. Had Cohn & Columbia left Welles' film alone (nine pages of cuts & changes Welles delineates in a famous letter to Cohn) this likely would've been Welles' tour de force. Welles directed the film & played the lead role of O'Hara. Welles wrote the adapted screenplay based upon Sherwood King's novel. Keep all of that in mind, imagining what's been scoured out, while watching.
Michael O'Hara's (Welles) a charming Irish sailor who's become a drifter when he spots & rescues a gorgeous woman, Elsa Bannister (Hayworth), from being attacked in Central Park. Their unusual circumstances of first meeting hint towards the following ones that will lead to O'Hara being drawn into Bannister's eerie Shanghai realm.
Rita Hayworth was the estranged wife of Welles by mid-1946. She played the role of Elsa Bannister partly to try to save their marriage. Elsa is the 'Lady From Shanghai': a temptress whose eroticism seduces O'Hara. Elsa's husband, a criminal lawyer, Arthur Bannister's her willing cuckold, played by Everett Sloane: Welles' long-term collaborator. George Grisby (Glenn Anders), is a deranged psychotic with a bizarre death wish, who is a menace to Arthur, his law partner.
As with a good film-noir, there are haunting, memorable scenes with grand visuals. Hayworth physically performs the love theme song sumptuously well; plus, her Acapulco interlude is visually vivacious. The cast ensemble delivers Welles' dialogue meticulously well--with one exception: Welles' himself! His Irish brogue is oft times too thick to understand. The famous final scene at the fun fair was scoured by Columbia, thus, reducing it to a shard of Welles' original scene. Throughout, Welles' visual angles are deployed to play with viewers' spatial perceptions. That seems parallel to Michael O'Hara's morals being played with by Elsa Bannister.
Even with the missing hour of scoured scenes, "The Lady from Shanghai," is a film-noir with which to be reckoned~Read full review