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The Lady from Shanghai Details


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, despite his innocence. The film is best remembered for its final sequence when the plot comes to a literally smashing climax in the famous "hall of mirrors" sequence, with Elsa and Banister shooting it out amidst shards of shattering glass. Orson Welles, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in the film, is sometimes self-indulgent in his use of visual tricks and techniques, which at times sacrifice plot for visual brilliance, but he pulls it together in the end to produce a stunning, difficult film. Rita Hayworth gives one of her best performances as the deceptive, seductive temptress, hard-edged and cynical. The film confounds, unsettles and disorients the viewer, very much as Welles intended to do. While not an easy film, it is well worth the attention required to follow it, and Welles offers no easy solutions or any false happy endings to his tour-de-force mystery. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi

  • Release date:June 9, 1948


Rita Hayworth
as Elsa "Rosalie" Bannister
Orson Welles
as Michael O'Hara
Everett Sloane
as Arthur Bannister
Ted de Corsia
as Sidney Broome
Erskine Sanford
as Judge
Gus Schilling
as Goldie
Lou Merrill
as Jake
Evelyn Ellis
as Bessie
Harry Shannon
as Cab Driver
Alvin Hammer
as Reporter
Edythe Elliott
as Old Lady
Eddie Coke
as Policeman
Richard Wilson
as District Attorney's Assistant
Jessie Arnold
as Schoolteacher
Joe Palma
as Cab Driver
Norman Thomson
as Policeman
Harry Strang
as Policeman
Dorothy Vaughan
as Old Woman
Jack Baxley
as Guard
William Alland
as Reporter
Peter Cusanelli
as Bartender
Jean Wong
as Ticket Seller
Steve Benton
as Policeman
Philip Van Zandt
as Policeman
Mary Newton
as Reporter
Byron Kane
as Reporter
Grace Lem
as Chinese Woman
Milt Kibbee
as Policeman
Maynard Holmes
as Truck Driver
Joseph Granby
as Police Lieutenant
Philip Morris
as Port Steward
Mabel Smaney
as People


Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Harry Cohn
Orson Welles
Sherwood King
Book Author
Charles Lawton
Heinz Roemheld
Composer (Music Score)
Morris W. Stoloff
Musical Direction/Supervision
Viola Lawrence
Sturges Carne
Art Director
Stephen Goosson
Art Director
William Castle
Associate Producer
Richard Wilson
Associate Producer
Wilbur Menefee
Set Designer
Jean Louis
Costume Designer
Lodge Cunningham
Sound/Sound Designer