A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
Michael O'Hara, against his better judgement, hires on as a crew member of Arthur Bannister's yacht, sailing to San Francisco. They pick up Grisby, Bannister's law partner, en route. Bannister has a wife, Rosalie, 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 his (Grisby's) murder so he can disappear untailed. He wants the $5000 Grisby has offered, so he can run off with Rosalie. But Grisby turns up actually murdered, and Michael gets blamed for it. Somebody set him up, but it is not clear who or how. Bannister (the actual murderer?) defends Michael in court. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Orson Welles' "The Lady From Shanghai" does not have the brilliant screenplay of "Citizen Kane," e.g., but Charles Lawton, Jr.'s cinematography, the unforgettable set pieces (such as the scene in the aquarium, the seagoing scene featuring a stunning, blonde-tressed Rita Hayworth singing "Please Don't Love Me," and the truly amazing Hall of Mirrors climax), and the wonderful cast (Everett Sloane in his greatest performance, Welles in a beautifully under-played role, the afore-mentioned Miss Hayworth--Welles' wife at the time--at her most gorgeous) make for a very memorable filmgoing experience. The bizarre murder mystery plot is fun and compelling, not inscrutable at all. The viewer is surprised by the twists and turns, and Welles' closing line is an unheralded classic. "The Lady From Shanghai" gets four stars from this impartial arbiter.
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