Noir Canon


Directed by Orson Welles

USA, 1947, 1h 27min, DCP, In English and Cantonese with English Subtitles

Noir Canon

AFS Cinema

6406 N I-35 Suite 3100 Austin, TX 78752

Watching a Welles film, one is constantly aware of his deep love of his medium, but with THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI it feels as if he’s completely intoxicated by his passion for cinema and its enormous expressive potential.” – Geoff Andrew, BFI

Welles creates a dreamlike (though never surrealist) fluency and strangeness, along with a salty tang of black comedy and an electric current of doom and desire. It has an irresistible energy.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

It was a failure, and it lost a lot of money – but these are sensible, practical objections to what is a glorious rotting mess, the dump outside of town, always seething with fire.” – David Thomson, “Have You Seen…”

Strapped for cash, Orson Welles made a spur-of-the-moment deal with Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn to direct and star – alongside Welles’ wife at the time, Rita Hayworth – in an adaptation of a pulp novel. As you would expect with Welles, he turns the story of a convoluted murder plot into something of much greater import than the novel presupposes. The hall-of-mirrors climax of this film is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest moments in all of Hollywood cinema.


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