Lady from Shanghai
  • Lady from Shanghai
  • Lady from Shanghai

Lady from Shanghai

4.5 4

Cast: Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane, Ted de Corsia


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Another first-rate effort by Orson Welles, the artfully baroque noir The Lady from Shanghai has only gotten better with age. Not only does this Columbia DVD showcase the movie in a pristine full-screen transfer (which matches the theatrical release), it also comes with an excellent commentary from director/historian Peter Bogdanovich. Thankfully free of anySee more details below


Another first-rate effort by Orson Welles, the artfully baroque noir The Lady from Shanghai has only gotten better with age. Not only does this Columbia DVD showcase the movie in a pristine full-screen transfer (which matches the theatrical release), it also comes with an excellent commentary from director/historian Peter Bogdanovich. Thankfully free of any cheap sociological insight, Bogdanovich reads liberally from interviews that he held with his mentor Welles. Instead of being an "artiste," Welles' insights into his own work are superb and surprisingly unclouded by the fact that this was yet another picture that the studio ultimately took out of his hands and buried on the "B" side of a double bill. Even though Columbia re-edited the movie and threw out a substantial portion of the still stunning "hall of mirrors" gun battle, Welles indicates that he was most unhappy with the traditional score the studio superimposed onto the movie. There are many "expert" commentaries on DVD but few match Peter Bogdanovich for insight that is delivered in a consistently entertaining fashion.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
Disorienting and dislocating, 1948's kaleidoscopic noir masterpiece The Lady from Shanghai marked another artistic triumph and commercial failure for master filmmaker Orson Welles. It also chronicled the disintegration of his short-lived marriage to screen siren Rita Hayworth -- playing at times like an abstract commentary on their turbulent private life. Against his better judgment, the surprisingly sophisticated sailor Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles) takes a job on the luxury yacht of alluring Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth), landing himself in the middle of murder. The Lady from Shanghai has an all-but-nonsensical plot and a distant, nightmarish quality, generated partly by the tension between the meticulously photographed images shot on location and a soundtrack Welles obviously reconstructed in the studio. Ultimately, it's difficult to know whether to believe anything that happens: Perhaps it was all just a nightmare; some perverse fantasy of masculine paranoia climaxing in the oft-imitated hall of mirrors sequence. However one reads the film, it stands today as one of a privileged handful of Welles' finest efforts.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
This story about murder and betrayal becomes murky long before its conclusion, but Orson Welles's quintessential film noir is about moral chaos, and Welles's stunning visuals speak for themselves. Shot in sharp black-and white, the story of innocent narrator Michael O'Hara's twisted journey into the netherworld is told through deep shadows, skewed compositions, and unsettling close-ups. Enchancing the surreally ominous atmosphere is the choice of settings, such as the San Francisco Aquarium love scene, in which the convoluted tale reaches its appropriate climax in an abandoned fun house that embodies O'Hara's nightmarish confusion. Finding the perfect image for shattered relationships and fractured personalities, Welles's famous final shootout takes place in the fun house's hall of mirrors, as O'Hara learns the truth in a place that trades on deception. Judging the narrative too Byzantine for his taste, Columbia chief Harry Cohn demanded that Lady from Shanghai be reedited, redubbed, and rescored before it was released. It still failed at the box office, rendering Welles a Hollywood outcast for almost a decade.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Special Features

Digitally mastered audio and video; Audio: English [mono], French, Spanish, Portuguese; Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai; Exclusive featurette; Peter Bogdanovich audio commentary; Production notes; Vintage advertising; Talent files; Theatrical trailer; Bonus trailers; Scene selections; Interactive menus

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rita Hayworth Elsa "Rosalie" Bannister
Orson Welles Michael O'Hara
Everett Sloane Arthur Bannister
Ted de Corsia Sidney Broome
Glenn Anders George Grisby
Gus Schilling Goldie
Erskine Sanford Judge
Carl Frank District Attorney
Lou Merrill Jake
Evelyn Ellis Bessie
Harry Shannon Cab Driver
Sam Nelson Yacht Captain
Eddie Coke Policeman
Robert Gray Actor
Joe Palma Cab Driver
Richard Wilson District Attorney's Assistant
Billy Louie Chinese Girl
George "Shorty" Chirello Actor
Vernon Cansino People
Artarne Wong Ticket Taker
Wong Show Chong Li
Tiny Jones Woman
Edythe Elliott Old Lady
Peter Cusanelli Bartender
Joseph Granby Police Lieutenant
Al Eben Policeman
Norman Thomson Policeman
Edward Peil Guard
Harry Strang Policeman
Gerald Pierce Waiter
Maynard Holmes Truck Driver
Jack Baxley Guard
Dorothy Vaughan Old Woman
Steve Benton Policeman
Milt Kibbee Policeman
Philip Van Zandt Policeman
William Alland Reporter
Alvin Hammer Reporter
Mary Newton Reporter
Byron Kane Reporter
Charles Meakin Jury Foreman
Jessie Arnold Schoolteacher
Mabel Smaney People
Joe Recht Garage Attendant
Jean Wong Ticket Seller
Grace Lem Chinese Woman
Philip Morris Port Steward
John Elliott Clerk

Technical Credits
Orson Welles Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
Clay Campbell Makeup
Sturges Carne Art Director
William Castle Associate Producer
Harry Cohn Producer
Lodge Cunningham Sound/Sound Designer
Stephen Goosson Art Director
Viola Lawrence Editor
Charles Lawton Cinematographer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
Wilbur Menefee Set Decoration/Design
Sam Nelson Asst. Director
Heinz Roemheld Score Composer
Robert J. Schiffer Makeup
Herman Schoenbrun Set Decoration/Design
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard Wilson Associate Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [:56]
2. Danger ahead [6:19]
3. "My name's Bannister." [2:28]
4. A few drinks [4:00]
5. George Grisby [4:37]
6. Money's everything [2:42]
7. "Please Don't Kiss Me" [1:08]
8. Chinese love proverb [7:11]
9. Sharks [3:00]
10. $5000 proposition [3:19]
11. Is suicide wrong? [3:16]
12. "You're going with me." [3:36]
13. Partners in crime [2:06]
14. Aquarium meeting [3:58]
15. Settling accounts [3:32]
16. Target practice [1:57]
17. "You was framed." [:46]
18. "George has been murdered." [1:55]
19. Greatest living trail lawyer [4:18]
20. The trial begins [2:50]
21. Arthur testifies [1:53]
22. Cross-examining himself [:50]
23. Elsa under oath [4:30]
24. One way out [6:50]
25. "You're the killer." [2:42]
26. Fall guy [1:28]
27. Magic Mirror Maze [2:17]
28. "I don't want to die!" [2:49]

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