The Lady from Shanghai
This double bill pairs two filmmakers who are magicians of the cinema, directors who employ the artifice of cinema to dazzle and deceive. The Lady from Shanghai, which appeared in "The Divine Rita", my freshman fall series at LACMA in 1996, can be counted on to draw film noir fanatics as its inclusion in our bicentennial "California Noir" series and our "Through the Looking Glass" series in 2007 demonstrated. Hayworth, directed by ex-husband Welles and shorn of Gilda’s long red mane, is reincarnated as a quintessential noir seductress: a platinum blonde married to a rich, older and crippled lawyer, she spins her web around a naïve young sailor (Welles) who soon finds himself on the wrong end of a rigged murder trial. Rich in plot twists, exotic settings and cynical dialogue, the film has been described as a fever dream in which Welles’s vanquishes the cool, enigmatic, and iconic Hayworth. Though Welles stages memorable scenes on a yacht, in the San Francisco aquarium and in a Chinatown theater, it is the shootout in the hall-of-mirrors that may be the most bravura sequence this gifted director ever committed to celluloid. In critic Foster Hirsch words, “the funhouse (is) the ideal metaphor for the world view that prevails in noir. The multiple reflections of the film’s duplicitous husband and wife are representative of their uncertain, shifting identities.”
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.