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The Lady from Shanghai back to product details

Welles at his Best
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written by notrust September 28, 2006 - 10:05 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I had been warned by people that this movie was really bad. So not expecting much, I sat down and watched it, but was really quite impressed. I don't know why this film gets so little recognition. I thought it was a lot more enjoyable and entertaining to watch than Citizen Kane, but apparently there are lots of people who just don't "get" this movie.

Like the 1940's test audiences whose reactions caused the movie to be shortened by about an hour. The 90 minute version we see is not what quite Welles intended. But even so, it's a fun movie to watch. I really don't understand why a sizable minority of people think so poorly of it. Oh, that's right, it's because they dyed Rita Hayworth's hair. What a crime!

The acting is good, but not really what the movie is about. The characters and the plot are not meant to be taken all that seriously, I don't think. Rita Hayworth is great to look at, and Orson Welles' Irish brogue is believable enough. Most of the other characters are sort of comic book villain types, so really intense method acting is not really appropriate.

Visually, it reminds me a lot of Night of the Hunter. Lots of creative camera angles and lighting, as well as great close up reaction shots of character's faces. The aquarium scene, shot at Steinhart Aquarium in SF, with grotesquely magnified sea creatures swimming past in the background is a was very memorable. There is a funhouse scene with mirrors that was imitated in lots of other films and TV but never done quite as well.

The plot is a little convoluted toward the end, but that can be forgiven in a movie this good. If I were to be critical of anything, it would probably be that.

If you appreciate great film noir, this is a must-see. And if you were not all that impressed with Citizen Kane, this may change your mind about Welles. And as you might guess, I thought the review below was "not helpful".

Bad hair, bad plot, and bad acting
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written by carolynsearches October 20, 2003 - 8:17 PM PDT
5 out of 16 members found this review helpful
Say it isn't so. Orson Welles is generally a fav of mine. But, this was so disappointing. Rita Hayworth with blonde hair - ickk. A plot that was bizarro -- not in an appreciable, David Lynch or French movie kind of sense - just in a "you must've failed connect-the-dots" as a child, sense. And, dare I say it, just plain poor acting.

There is a Dali-made-in-to-film feel to the scene shot in an amusement park (what is it with Orson and these things?), but, not even the wardrobe can redeem this movie.

If you are trying to complete your Welles repertoire, just sign this one off as one to miss.

12345678910

(Average 7.56)
256 Votes
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