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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minor Orson Welles film, meaning still worth a look
This starts off veryyy slowly. Welles' narration in a strong irish accent kicks in as soon as the credits drop and is at first pretty painful. Luckily, it doesn't take long to accept it. The last half hour of the movie is great, as are bits of the first hour. Stick with it, I almost gave up on it, as it does pay off at the end. A weak 4 out of 5 stars, but definitely...
Published on Aug. 8 2003 by Roger Zeus

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars If only they had listened to Welles...
This movie isn't bad, it has some scenes that do make it worth watching. The end is especially fabulous. Unfortunately, this film was subjected to the cutting table without Welles' aproval of the cuts. The film was originally an hour longer, and I think that perhaps it would have been better if many of the cut scenes had been kept. Welles was in South America at the...
Published on Jan. 9 2002


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minor Orson Welles film, meaning still worth a look, Aug. 8 2003
By 
Roger Zeus (Richmond, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lady from Shanghai (DVD)
This starts off veryyy slowly. Welles' narration in a strong irish accent kicks in as soon as the credits drop and is at first pretty painful. Luckily, it doesn't take long to accept it. The last half hour of the movie is great, as are bits of the first hour. Stick with it, I almost gave up on it, as it does pay off at the end. A weak 4 out of 5 stars, but definitely worth a look. I bought mine cheap and used so I'm not complaining. The camera-work, especially at the end, makes the movie. Even though the story is pretty typical Hollywood fare, Welles' direction is anything but.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orson Welles 7 years past Kane , and better. Beyond film noir., Sept. 9 2014
By 
Big Bill - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Orson Welles is remembered more for Citizen Kane than this film , but I don't know why. This movie isn't just film noir , it is
black cinema. Screenplay by Welles , directed by Welles , and featuring Welles . He has control of everything , and as you watch it
you realize that every scene , every camera angle , is for a reason. The film revolts the viewer as it unfolds , it is sort of like a train wreck ; a terrible thing , but you can't help but watch. The characters are repugnant , obviously on purpose. The camera shots ,
particularly on faces , are too tight , too close , and this too , is in my opinion , designed to revolt the viewer. The characters
all seem to hate each other , and if it weren't for the fact that they are trapped together on a yacht , or by marriage , or by
bussiness associations , you would expect them to flee each other. To further irritate the viewer ( me at least ) Welles assumes a phony Irish brogue accent that seems out of place , and not necessary to the story. The convoluted plot involves murder , but who is doing what to whom is a multilevel mystery. Without describing it , the finale is nothing less than superb.
So far my description may not motivate you to want to see it , but it is so well done in its' weird direction , that it is a must see.
Welles had control of Citizen Kane too , but this is seven years later , and he is more accomplished at his craft , and it is fascinating
in its' offbeat way. Forget Mars , forget Kane , see this. In Glorious Black & White.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the TRial a complex story beyond the surface, May 1 2013
By 
Anthony Marinelli "marilread" (toronto on canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lady from Shanghai (DVD)
Columbia Pictures was a strange concoction. In many ways the most american of all studios with its two reelers and B movies and also its cover girl star Rita Hayworth. The big star on the lot and a personal favourite of the movie mogul, a studio which he built and he assembled a large production team which built very marketable products over time..especially in Rita and they did not have many large stars on the lot. They had the Three stooges, and they used their large stars to sell so many of their marketing products, this was largely the business smarts of its head Harry Cohn, thats how he built his studio, and the down to earth common values of so much of these two reelers. Rits needed good profitable films and they were always on the search for material so when Orson called about a minor film the studio decided to go all aout and make a big expensive production for his star Rita..his wife and on the verge of divorce it was the couple's last chance to put their marriage back together largely at Rita's insistence. Welles agreed and the film. The film came out at 2 and a half hours. All we have is the 85 minute version, delayed two years for release and the couple split after the marriage. Welles one success in america THe STranger had just come out so they were hopeful with this film..it basically tells a complex tale about a cruise in the Panama and caribbean and then an assortment of minor characters, and here as Bogdonavich the analyst of the film notes they are put together with Dickensian skills. There are various murderous and low lifes and they act in a way which you will not see in films..they murder but in a frenzied way which seems rather unique like something we have never seen before..the charm of this film. Welles the innocent man is hunted and goes to trial and is eventually released but is alone at films endinnocent or just stupid he ends up alone..again a complex tale like the later film the Trial. As a Hayworth film it does not satisfy since she is not the central focus of the film, and Welles to Cohn's chagrin takes away the sex appeal and physical allure she has in other films and changes her physical appearance since he wants us to concentrate on what he wants to tell..heighten the visuals towards the backgrounds and scenes and they are expertly shot..and the dialogue is well written also..but Rita is not the Rita of old..and if you listen to the commentary by Bogdanovich and an interview afterwards you will understand so much about Welles and this film..was Rita in real life supposedly abused trying to reconnect with Welles and for what reason..and the relationship as written, are they reflections on their personal life and eventual split. Rita's career fizzled after this and her mogul mentor tried hard to build her up like Zanuck did betty grable, but ultimately failed in both instances due to the limits of the stars. Bogdonovish talks of the old system, which he likes in certain ways, an dif someone on top liked you, you had great opportunities if you bothered to take their advice or suggestions..Rita and Betty both walked away..in ways they were doted on..and when they removed themselves from the presence of their benefactors their career and lives came crashing down..this film was heavily edited and reshot and should be viewed with the similar Trial..but test audiences gave the thumbs down on the script and Welles perhaps the personal demise of his
marriage interfered never bothered to or wasnt allowed any say in the editing..he was off to Europe for the Third
Man and ten years in Europe
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI [1948] [Blu-ray] [US Import], April 7 2015
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI [1948] [Blu-ray] [US Import] A 4K Digital Restoration in High-Definition Video and Audio!

Baffling murders, fascinating plot twists and remarkable camera work all contribute to this spellbinding, time-honoured “film noir” written, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Hired to work on a yacht belonging to the disabled husband of femme fatale Rita Hayworth, Welles plays an innocent man drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue and murder.

The subject of great controversy and scandal upon its initial release, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ shocked 1948 audiences by presenting Rita Hayworth with her flaming red hair cut short and dyed champagne blonde. Fifty years later, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ is considered vintage Orson Welles, his famous hall of mirrors climax hailed as one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Based on the novel “If I Die Before I Wake.”

FILM FACT: Other scenes were filmed in Acapulco. The yacht Zaca, on which many scenes take place, was owned by actor Errol Flynn, who skippered the yacht in between takes and can also be seen in the background in one scene at a cantina in Acapulco.

Cast: Orson Welles (Narrator), Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders, Ted de Corsia, Erskine Sanford, Gus Schilling, Carl Frank, Louis Merrill, Evelyn Ellis and Harry Shannon

Director: Orson Welles

Producer: Orson Welles

Screenplay: Orson Welles, Charles Lederer (uncredited), Fletcher Markle (uncredited) and William Castle (uncredited)

Composers: Heinz Roemheld, Doris Fisher and Allen Roberts (song "Please Don't Kiss Me")

Cinematography: Charles Lawton Jr., Joseph Walker (uncredited) and Rudolph Maté (uncredited)

Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and-White]

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 88 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment / Columbia Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘The Lady From Shanghai’ [1948] is an imaginative, complicated, unsettling film noir who-dun-it thriller, with fascinating visuals and tilting compositions, luminous and brilliant camerawork (by Charles Lawton, Jr.), and numerous sub-plots and confounding plot twists. Although the tale of betrayal, lust, greed and murder was filmed in late 1946 and finished in early 1947, it wasn't released until late in 1948 and it failed both at the box-office and as a critical success and sadly there were no Academy Award® nominations, which Orson Welles, was badly let down.

Irish sailor Michael O'Hara [Orson Wells] saves a beautiful woman from a robbery in Central Park; she turns out to be Elsa Bannister [Rita Hayworth], wife of the famed defence lawyer Arthur Bannister. Arthur Bannister [Everett Sloane] offers Michael O'Hara a job on his yacht, which is sailing from New York to San Francisco. During the voyage Michael O'Hara finds himself attracted to Elsa Bannister; at the same time, he becomes enmeshed in a Byzantine web of intrigue between Elsa Bannister, Arthur Bannister, and Arthur's partner George Grisby [Glenn Anders]. During a stop in Acapulco, George Grisby asks Michael O'Hara to pretend to murder him once they reach San Francisco so that he can collect his share of the insurance and run away to create a new life for himself. Michael O'Hara agrees, only to discover that he has been framed for a real murder; the only way out now is to allow none other than Arthur Bannister himself to defend his case in court.

The novel from which the film was adapted, was in fact entitled “If I Die Before I Wake;” in addition to that title, other working titles for the film included ‘Black Irish’ and ‘Take This Woman.’ William Castle, who later found fame as the producer/director of gimmicky horror films such as ‘House on Haunted Hill’ [1959], ‘The Tingler’ [1959] and ‘Thirteen Ghosts’ [1960], already owned the rights to the book. He consequently acted as an associate producer and may have contributed to the script. Woody Allen paid homage to the famous Hall of Mirrors scene in his film ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’ [1993].

Orson Welles' rough cut of the film ran approximately 155 minutes. When it tested poorly with preview audiences, the editor Viola Lawrence, at the request of the studio, cut out over an hour of footage, bringing the film to its current length of 87 minutes. The Chinese opera sequence and the funhouse sequence were originally much more elaborate set-pieces; Welles was particularly proud of the latter and has insisted that it would have been, if anything, more memorable than the climactic shootout in the hall of mirrors. Only a few stills remain to suggest what the funhouse sequence in its entirety might have looked like. However, even more than the cuts Welles objected to the musical score, which consists largely of quotations from the song "Please Don't Kiss Me" which Rita Hayworth sings on the yacht.

Jump cuts in the editing, the almost Brechtian distancing effect of the stylised performances, the doubling of the film frame in the Chinese theatre scene, the deep focus that disorients by giving far backgrounds equal weight with extreme close-ups, the use of optical devices ranging from water tumblers to windshields, especially in the film's most famous set pieces, aquarium glass and multiple mirrors, all of these serve to forefront the experience of watching cinema and to push the envelope of what is expected and permissible on screen.

Whether you like the film or not, you must admit the final scenes are truly brilliant. Not only the technically impossible (how he did it is beyond me) Hall of Mirrors scene, but also the suspenseful Chinese theatre segment, the surreal/nightmarish funhouse, and the final scene between Elsa Bannister and Michael O'Hara, in which he performs one of the most coldest and unpunished actions during the Hays code years. And the films immortal final line, “Maybe I'll live so long that I'll forget her. Maybe I'll die trying.”

Had this film been left in its original form, I’m certain it would be Orson Welles’s masterpiece (hopefully someday, somehow, the lost footage will pop up, or at least the score will be replaced with the intended one). Whereas ‘Citizen Kane’ manages to be visually beautiful yet still leaves one cold, ‘The Lady From Shanghai’ possesses a soul, however a tragic, grotesque one. If a film can feel like an epic in only 88 minutes, imagine what the experience would have been like had it been in 150 minutes. We are never given many answers, like just what did Arthur Bannister have on Elsa Bannister, how was Elsa Bannister connected to the Chinese mafia, etc., but the mystery still keeps this film alive. However, even in its somewhat mutilated form ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ remains a well-acted and stylish example of the film noir. Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane and Glenn Anders in particular stand out and the film is distinguished by its striking deep-focus and chiaroscuro cinematography and a number of offbeat touches that only a director like Orson Welles could have dreamed up.

Given Orson Welles's reputation as an embattled genius and the fact that much of ‘The Lady From Shanghai’ is superb, this is a film you really want to like. And one might, were Orson Welles's performance not so wretched and were the plot not as hard to navigate. All sorts of reasons have been put forward for the film's failure ranging from interference on the behalf of Harry Cohn to indifference on the part of Orson Welles. Whoever is responsible, the fact remains that this is a great film, but sadly let down by the studio’s 100% interference.

Blu-ray Video Quality – Taken from a 4K restoration and re-mastered for Blu-ray in a stunning 1080p encoded image, the 1.37:1 aspect ratio transfer is a true thing of beauty. Not a scratch, spot, or speck of dust remains, and yet the film doesn’t look overly processed at all retaining amazing sharpness and a grayscale so rich with deep blacks and crisp whites that it’s a pleasure to watch just for the sheer beauty of the photography by Charles Lawton Jr. Shadow detail is very fine, and contrast has been applied consistently and well, but this edition is reference definitely quality all the way.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono sound mix offers the sound design of its era presented without any aural artefacts. Quite a bit of the dialogue was obviously looped, so there is that arid quality that comes with extensive looping of entire scenes, but the dialogue is certainly clearly presented, but I found at times it was out of sync and very off putting and has been mixed with surety with the sound effects, but it is helped along with the stunning Heinz Roemheld’s composers background music.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Sadly none has been supplied, which is a crying shame, as I am sure Columbia Pictures have something deep in their vaults they could have supplied some hidden gems.

NEW Artwork with Double-Sided Packaging.

Finally, yes, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ is now a classic, but like so many Orson Welles films, that current evaluation doesn’t save it from the studio tampering of its time, like Columbia executives cut the picture from 155 minutes to its current 87 and ignored nearly all of Orson Welles’ editorial suggestions. Still amazing though, like ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ [1942], ‘Othello’ [1952], or ‘Touch of Evil’ [1958], is how much brilliance manages to shine through, despite artistic interference, budgetary constraints, or the comparably immaterial box office failure. There is, and was, no question about the genius of Orson Welles. If it’s just the film you want, without extras, this Mill Creek Entertainment / Columbia Pictures Blu-ray release of ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ offers sterling picture and sound quality for a very small price. The film is sometimes difficult and sometimes very perplexing, but Orson Welles’ masterful directorial touches make it well worth the effort, but hopefully in time the longer version will finally be released. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No1. Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN BUTCHERED, WELLE'S GENIUS SHINES THROUGH!, March 9 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lady from Shanghai (DVD)
Orson Welles was a man ahead of his time. Today he may very well have been placed on the pedestal reserved for the likes of David Lynch or David Cronenberg. Unfortunately, during his tenure, Welles generally ticked off the ruling class and as a result, all of his masterpieces suffered at the hands of lesser men, determined to ruin Welle's screen legacies by chopping them up. Such is the case with "The Lady from Shanghai", a convoluted thriller about a guy who meets a woman who may want to have her husband killed or may not and sets up another guy to frame Welles for....oh, hell! Trust me, it's a real mind twister and just like "The Big Sleep" the ending makes no sense. Columbia executives took Welles' masterpiece apart after he had already departed for greener pastures and what remains is a 98 min. movie that really makes no sense. Having said that, the film left a lasting impression on me and a favorable one.
Welles genius lays in his camera work, his ability to create mood and an unsettling atmosphere that can rival any film noir of his day or the present. Rita Hayworth, who by this time was ending her marriage to Welles, is the lady in question, her hair cut short and dyed blonde - both of which infuriated Columbia studio boss, Harry Cohen who put Hayworth on suspension shortly thereafter.
Columbia Home Video has done a remarkably fine job on the transfer of this movie. Contrast level is superb. Clarity is remarkable, even to the most minute detail in costume and set design. The moody film noir atmosphere is well represented. The audio, though mono, is also exceptionally well represented. No extras, save a brief little featurette and some stills. This is not a jam packed DVD but one that will definitely impress nevertheless. BOTTOM LINE: As vintage "Welles" its a classic bar none (except for Citizen Kane)!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood Masterpiece, Feb. 4 2002
By 
"juleswelles" (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lady from Shanghai (DVD)
The most tragic aspect of Orson Welles' career is the accepted wisdom that he only made three good films. In fact he made 13 films in a 40 year career (a tragically small number in itself) and ten of them were arguably masterpieces. That's a track record that bears comparison with anyone.
The Lady from Shanghai is a classic example of a misunderstood Welles masterpiece. The studio didn't understand the plot and the film got buried; in addition it was put forward that Welles intended revenge on his ex-wife Rita Hayworth by casting her as the bad girl (in fact Welles only interest was in making a great film and Hayworth's astonishing performance merely consecrates his success).
Welles fully understood the attractions, both of film noir themes (jealousy, greed, paranoia) and the mandatory visuals that go with the genre. The great cinematographer Stanley Cortez once said of Welles that he understood lighting better than anyone in the Cinema. Many scenes stand out as examples of Welles' brilliant visual invention - the lovers meeting at the aquarium and the final "hall of mirrors" shootout are just two outstanding set pieces amongst a miasma of unsettling camera angles, close-ups and deep, overbearing shadows. Welles' unique talent was in reinventing himself with every film, so whilst there are familiar Wellesian hallmarks in Shanghai (overlapping dialogue, deep focus etc) it is still a work of stunning visual originality, albeit shot in 16mm.
What the french call "mise en scene" (literally "composition") was everything to Welles, so the plot (an innocent man is drawn into a web of intrigue by a woman) was less important, save to the extent that it enabled Welles to delve into the emotional dynamics of the characters. For example, the fracturing relationship between Welles' (the actor) and Hayworth's characters is dealt with in an uncommonly sophisticated manner for what is essentially a femme-fatale/innocent-chump storyline.
So buy this and marvel at the work of Cinema's only natural (and greatest ever) inventor. And while you're at it, see The Trial, Othello, Chimes at Midnight, F for Fake, Macbeth and The Stranger as well.
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2.0 out of 5 stars If only they had listened to Welles..., Jan. 9 2002
By A Customer
This movie isn't bad, it has some scenes that do make it worth watching. The end is especially fabulous. Unfortunately, this film was subjected to the cutting table without Welles' aproval of the cuts. The film was originally an hour longer, and I think that perhaps it would have been better if many of the cut scenes had been kept. Welles was in South America at the time the editing was done, and not given any say in it. Also the music is sometimes absurd. Welles was not happy with it, and asked for changes, but they were not made. Unfortunately Welles' Irish accent is not the greatest, and it is heard far more than he had originally wanted, because the producers thought that more narration was needed. And with all the things that were cut out, it probably was.
However, the final sequence in the crazy house makes up for a lot. Though much of that was cut out too, I can only imagine how fabulous it would have been if it had not been cut. It is very sureal, and reminds me of the Dali dream sequence in Hitchcock's Spellbound.
Overall, the film is worth seeing for the great cinematography and final scene. It is unfortunate that it has so many flaws over which Welles had no control.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orson at his slyest, strangest,and most outrageous...!!, Dec 17 2001
By 
Hans Castorp (Devon, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
...And that is saying alot,given his vast canon, and knowing that just about everything he did was pretty...well, you know what I mean! Anyway, this rare Welles entry is a definite must for any film buff, I think more accessible and eccentric than either the more famous "Kane" or "Ambersons". And definitely several cuts above "The Stranger",which was done only two years earlier. Rita Hayworth is the ultimate femme fatale,every bit as cunning as Barbara Stanwyk in 1944's "Double Indemnity". LADY FROM SHANGHAI may be my favorite Noir film, with a bamboozling plot, right up there with Chandler's "The Big Sleep". Neither of these have the exotic beach locals,including a canoe ride through a thicket of crocodiles,and my favorite, a tour through the San Francisco aquarium,where Orson and Rita fit right in with some of the strangest octopuses, and squids you'll ever see,even if they are in black and white. Then there's the final stroll through Chinatown,the Chinese Theatre, and the famous hall of mirrors scene. Does any other Noir film have anything close to this?? None that I know!!! A Must See,and not just for Mr. Welles's legions of fans!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orson at his slyest, strangest,and most outrageous...!!, Dec 17 2001
By 
Hans Castorp (Devon, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
...And that is saying alot,given his vast canon, and knowing that just about everything he did was pretty...well, you know what I mean! Anyway, this rare Welles entry is a definite must for any film buff, I think more accessible and eccentric than either the more famous "Kane" or "Ambersons". And definitely several cuts above "The Stranger",which was done only two years earlier. Rita Hayworth is the ultimate femme fatale,every bit as cunning as Barbara Stanwyk in 1944's "Double Indemnity". LADY FROM SHANGHAI may be my favorite Noir film, with a bamboozling plot, right up there with Chandler's "The Big Sleep". Neither of these have the exotic beach locals,including a canoe ride through a thicket of crocodiles,and my favorite, a tour through the San Francisco aquarium,where Orson and Rita fit right in with some of the strangest octopuses, and squids you'll ever see,even if they are in black and white. Then there's the final stroll through Chinatown,the Chinese Theatre, and the famous hall of mirrors scene. Does any other Noir film have anything close to this?? None that I know!!! A Must See,and not just for Mr. Welles's legions of fans!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orson at his slyest, strangest,and most outrageous...!!, Dec 17 2001
By 
Hans Castorp (Devon, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
...And that is saying alot,given his vast canon, and knowing that just about everything he did was pretty...well, you know what I mean! Anyway, this rare Welles entry is a definite must for any film buff, I think more accessible and eccentric than either the more famous "Kane" or "Ambersons". And definitely several cuts above "The Stranger",which was done only two years earlier. Rita Hayworth is the ultimate femme fatale,every bit as cunning as Barbara Stanwyk in 1944's "Double Indemnity". LADY FROM SHANGHAI may be my favorite Noir film, with a bamboozling plot, right up there with Chandler's "The Big Sleep". Neither of these have the exotic beach locals,including a canoe ride through a thicket of crocodiles,and my favorite, a tour through the San Francisco aquarium,where Orson and Rita fit right in with some of the strangest octopuses, and squids you'll ever see,even if they are in black and white. Then there's the final stroll through Chinatown,the Chinese Theatre, and the famous hall of mirrors scene. Does any other Noir film have anything close to this?? None that I know!!! A Must See,and not just for Mr. Welles's legions of fans!
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The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles (DVD - 2000)
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