The Lady from Shanghai
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The Lady From Shanghai, a complex, involving puzzle-within-a-puzzle mystery story, is a showcase for Orson Welles, showing his singular talents and sensibilities as few other films have. The story is superficially simple: a seaman Michael O'Hara (Welles) is hired as a crew member on the yacht of the wealthy Banister (Everett Sloane). His beautiful but mysterious wife Elsa (Rita Hayworth) has met O'Hara earlier, when he saved her from a mugging. What ensues is a complicated and bizarre pattern of deception, fraud and murder, with O'Hara finding himself implicated in a murder,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The climax, a shootout in a funhouse hall of mirrors, is one of the bravura sequences in all film, a triumph of hey-look-at-me form over just-the-facts content."
‑ Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
"Welles and Hayworth were married at the time; he gives her closeups of unmatched rapture even while allegorizing his own fate as a free spirit caught in the trap of Hollywood's delusional pleasure dome."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"It derives its tension from its almost pointed meaninglessness, which would appear to be a subterfuge for a personal expression that's never quite achieved."
‑ Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
"... looms as the pivotal work of Welles's career, one of the greatest glories of the American cinema, and undoubtedly the trashiest masterpiece in motion picture history."
‑ Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View
"Visually brilliant, complex thriller, from the master of the baroque crime film."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"Be warned: This is a film that collects obsessives."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"Script is wordy and full of holes which need the plug of taut story telling and more forthright action."
‑ William Brogdon, Variety
"Given Welles's reputation as an embattled genius and the fact that much of Shanghai is superb, this is a film you really want to like. And one might, were Welles's performance not so wretched."
‑ , Film4
"One of Orson Welles' best films, this highlight of 1940s film noir stars Rita Hayworth at her most desirable. French director Francois Truffaut said it best: The raison d'etre for this work is "cinema itself"--the climactic mirror sequence is a stunner"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A masterpiece in the bizarre and the complex."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"For all the violations it suffered, The Lady From Shanghai seems strangely coherent in its extant form -- or rather, coherently incoherent, and in a way that seems quite deliberate."
‑ Calum Marsh, Village Voice
"The weirdest great movie ever made."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Though the plot is impossible to follow, there are many glimpses of Welles' signature atmosphere-making."
‑ Colin Kennedy, Empire Magazine
"Like most of Welles' Hollywood efforts, Shanghai was shanghaied by studio tampering ... but it also contains some of his greatest set pieces, topped by the delirious shootout in the funhouse hall of mirrors."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
"A brilliant movie, and everything in it is terrific."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
More reviews for The Lady from Shanghai on Rotten Tomatoes