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The Lady from Shanghai

USA 1948. Dir: Orson Welles. 87 min. DCP

A sheer pleasure: film noir at its most bizarre and baroque, and Orson Welles at the top of his game! Rita Hayworth (the then-Mrs. Welles) is one of noir’s definitive spider ladies as Elsa Bannister, beautiful wife of a disabled lawyer (Everett Sloane). She persuades Irish adventurer Michael O’Hara (Welles) to join the crew of her husband’s yacht — and promptly lures him into a complex web of intrigue, betrayal, and murder. The famously convoluted plot climaxes in the dazzling Hall of Mirrors shoot-out, one of the director’s most celebrated sequences. Welles’s brilliantly exotic film — “the weirdest great movie ever” (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader) — was a financial flop and effectively ended his career in Hollywood, where he wouldn’t work again for another decade!


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REVIEWS

★★★★★ "Outrageous brilliance ... A whirling thing of wonder."

Guardian | full review

"For its sheer visual modeling of burning passions in faces, forms, and attitudes, galvanized within picturesque surroundings, it might almost match Citizen Kane."

New York Times | full review