The Lady from Shanghai

Thursday, May 7 at 7:00pm | Regular admission prices

Part of our month-long celebration of The Films of Orson Welles! Click here for the full schedule

In this gorgeously lurid film noir, director Orson Welles–at his roguishly handsome best–plays a footloose Irish sailor with literary aspirations who is ensnared by the siren-like Rita Hayworth when he signs up to navigate the yacht of her crooked lawyer husband, Everett Sloane, and in the process creates a deadly ménage à trois bursting with fatal implications. Byzantine plot complications ensue, leading to the film’s dazzling and legendarily over-the-top Hall of Mirrors finale in which literally nothing is as it seems.

“Remarkable! The plot is a magnificent tangle of switchbacks and revelations, climaxing with one of cinema’s most outrageously inventive sequences.” – Tom Huddleston, Time Out London

Adapted by Welles from the pulp novel If I Die Before I Wake by Sherwood King, The Lady from Shanghai was complicated by studio interference (they wanted a sexy thriller for sexy star Rita Hayworth, while Welles wanted something else entirely), leading to the film’s infamously difficult-to-decipher plot. Adding to the drama, the multi-tasking Welles was in the process of breaking up with his then-wife and star Hayworth, making the film’s heady atmosphere of jealously, deceit and sexual longing (not to mention a little murder) reverberate with real-life implications. But despite Welles’ production problems, the film’s deliciously baroque visual style, its hard-boiled dialogue, and its coterie of sleazy ocean cruisers all add up to something that is at once strangely compelling and utterly entertaining. (Dir. by Orson Welles, 1948, USA, 87 mins., Not Rated)