OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The Lady From Shanghai

Must-See Cinema! A newly restored version of the Orson Welles classic!

Original poster art for The Lady From ShanghaiThere’s such outrageous brilliance in Orson Welles’s brash and sexy noir melodrama from 1947. There are some opaque plot tangles, perhaps due to 60 minutes being cut from Welles’s original version by the studio, but the sheer brio and style make it a thing of wonder, whisking the audience from the streets of New York City, to the open seas, to a tense courtroom and then to a bizarre house of mirrors.

This is arguably Welles’s best acting performance: theatrically romantic, with warmth, wit and a gust of pure charisma. He plays O’Hara, an Irish merchant seaman induced to sign on as part of the crew of a luxury yacht belonging to wealthy lawyer Bannister (Everett Sloane), having fallen in love with his young wife Elsa (Rita Hayworth) – a beautiful woman with a shady past in the far east whom Bannister evidently blackmailed into marrying him. Soon O’Hara is mixed up in a murderous plot cooked up by Bannister’s partner Grisby (Glenn Anders). Welles creates a dreamlike (though never surrealist) fluency and strangeness, along with a salty tang of black comedy and an electric current of doom and desire between O’Hara and Elsa. It has an irresistible energy.

– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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