Killing you is like killing myself...
- The Lady from Shanghai review by Steve Mason
Another film by Welles that ran into production problems because the studio didn't know what the hell he was up to. And yet again it's hard to understand what was their problem. Welles transformed unremarkable pulp fiction with his wit and sensational visual imagination. And he also added a massively enjoyable contribution as the loquacious fall guy, calamitously beguiled by Rita Hayworth's luminous femme fatale. The only real lull is the period when the film runs through the incidents of its source novel.
Hayworth who had her trademark red hair cut and bleached for this film (to the studio's dismay), is breathtaking in close up, particularly in singing Please Don't Kiss Me, and is subdued and enigmatic to great effect.
The dizzy, disorientating expressionist finale in an amusement park including the shoot out in the Hall of Mirrors is cinema legend, peaking with its brilliant, sardonic final line: 'Killing you is like killing myself. It's the same thing. But, you know, I'm pretty tired of both of us'.
The script is darkly poetic, full of contrary philosophy: 'I never make my mind up about anything until it's over and done with'; and often hilarious. The curiously distorted support performances are fascinating. Its location shooting (rare at the time) in Acapulco, New York and San Francisco is piquant. And the divorcing Welles and Hayworth share great chemistry together.
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