Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

The Lady from Shanghai 1947

Directed by Orson Welles

Vintage film noir gloriously restored. Baroque plot complications engulf footloose Irish sailor Orson Welles on a Caribbean cruise with a crooked lawyer and his sultry wife Rita Hayworth (then Mrs Welles).

USA In English
87 minutes B&W / DCP



Orson Welles. Based on the novel If I Die Before I Wake by Sherwood King


Charles Lawton Jr.
Rudolph Maté
Joseph Walker


Viola Lawrence

Art directors

Sturges Carne
Stephen Goossón

Set decorators

Wilbur Menefee
Herman Schoenbrun

Costume designer

Jean Louis


Lodge Cunningham


Heinz Roemheld


Rita Hayworth (Elsa Bannister)
Orson Welles (Michael O’Hara)
Everett Sloane (Arthur Bannister)
Glenn Anders (George Grisby)
Ted de Corsia (Sidney Broome)
Erskine Sanford (Judge)
Gus Schilling (Goldie)
Carl Frank (District Attorney Galloway)
Louis Merrill (Jake Bjornsen)
Evelyn Ellis (Bessie)
Harry Shannon (Cab Driver)


In this insanely lurid film noir, director Orson Welles – still lush and handsome – plays an Irish sailor ensnared by a siren-like Rita Hayworth when he signs up to navigate the yacht of her crippled husband, ‘the greatest criminal trial lawyer in the world’. Thanks to studio interference, the plot is borderline incomprehensible, but the film’s baroque visual style, its hard-boiled dialogue, and its coterie of sleazy ocean cruisers add up to something weirdly coherent. A fabulous new 4K restoration gives us the perfect excuse to clamber aboard and gape.

“A glittering film noir! Everett Sloane is an entertainingly outré villain – a two-legged tarantula on crutches – and there are several bold, flashy set pieces in San Francisco, including a chase through a Chinatown theater, a love scene at the aquarium in Golden Gate Park, and a fun-house shoot-out… In the title role, Rita Hayworth [the soon to be ex-Mrs Welles], her hair colored platinum, has both bathing-beauty allure and an exciting sadistic streak – there’s a stiletto hidden in the cheesecake.” — Michael Sragow, New Yorker

“Be warned: This is a film that collects obsessives.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York