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The Essential Orson Welles - The Lady from Shanghai

Welles directed himself and his estranged wife Rita Hayworth in this visually inventive noir classic. Welles plays Michael O’Hara, a young Irish sailor who becomes embroiled in a deadly romantic triangle with beautiful, duplicitous Elsa Bannister (Hayworth, shockingly blond) and her equally deceitful attorney husband (Everett Sloane – Citizen Kane’s loyal Mr. Bernstein here in a memorably sinister role).

Orson Welles in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, 1948.

The convoluted storyline roams from Manhattan to Acapulco to San Francisco, and the memorable set pieces include a rendezvous at an aquarium and the often-imitated finale in a funhouse hall of mirrors. Film critic Richard T. Jameson called it “the pivotal work of Welles’s career, one of the greatest glories of the American cinema, and undoubtedly the trashiest masterpiece in motion picture history.”

1948, 87 minutes, black and white, DCP | Written and directed by Orson Welles; with Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders, Ted de Corsia, Erskine Sanford, Gus Schilling, Carl Frank, Louis Merrill. | Digital restoration in 4K by Sony Pictures Entertainment- Sony Pictures Colorworks.

Screen legend Orson Welles was a pioneering filmmaker and raffish public personality, best known for the remarkable achievement of Citizen Kane. This series presented by the Academy will focus on Welles as a trailblazing director, presenting nine of the 11 films completed in his lifetime (several of them screening in brand-new restorations). As a body of work, these films – from the serene grandeur of The Magnificent Ambersons to the noir intrigue of The Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil – reveal the dexterity and inventiveness of Welles's craftsmanship. The series will offer examples of his dazzling technical expertise, such as overlapping dialogue, potent bursts of montage and bravura cinematography, and explore the themes that fascinated him, from anti-heroes corrupted by power to the dangers of pursuing uncomfortable truths. These films are a testament to Welles the tireless visionary, who, whether in the lap of studio luxury or exiled in Zagreb, approached each motion picture as a mystery that only he could unravel.

The series runs from May 3 through June 7. For more screenings, please visit our Events page.


Event Information

Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

$5 general admission
$3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID.

*Admission to both screenings on May 24: The Lady From Shanghai and Mr. Arkadin.
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