Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Lady from Shanghai

A common casting idea is to cast real-life couples as spouses or lovers (ie, Eliazbeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward). But when former couples are reunited for the silver screen, it's pretty much make or break.

Micharl O'Hara (Orson Welles), against his better judgement, hires on as a crew member of Arthur Bannister's (Everett Sloane) yacht, sailing to San Francisco. They pick up Grisby (Glenn Anders), Bannister's law partner, en route. Bannister has a wife, Elsa (Rita Hayworth), who seems to like Michael much better than she likes her husband. After they dock in Sausalito, Michael goes along with Grisby's weird plan to fake Grisby's murder so he can disappear untailed. Michael wants the $5000 Grisby has offered, so he can run off with Elsa. But Grisby turns up actually murdered, and Michael gets blamed for it. Somebody set him up, but it is not clear who or how.

The romance between Welles and Hayworth would've been a lot more believable had this been made before they got divorced. The movie itself was good, while the famed hall of mirrors scene managed to stand the test of time.

My Rating: *****

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