Episode 13: The Lady From Shanghai

Craft Disservices makes its belated return in style as we reflect on Orson Welles’s 1948 noir classic “The Lady From Shanghai”!

Writer and game designer Robin D. Laws joins the show to talk about another near-masterpiece from the iconoclastic actor/director. Michael O’Hara thought he knew about trouble, but when he falls for the beautiful wife of a bitter, ruthless lawyer, he finds himself drawn into a game of revenge, murder, and tarrrrrget practice!

Orson Welles burst onto the Hollywood scene in 1941 with his debut feature, “Citizen Kane”, employing the techniques he honed in theater and radio to subvert the cinematic trends of the time. But more often than not, he found his creativity stymied by studio bosses who were unwilling to indulge his fancies and a viewing public who weren’t ready to take the journey he was offering them. On this episode, we discuss the struggles Welles had with the studio in getting the picture made, his casting (and shearing) of his estranged wife Rita Hayworth, the questionable veracity of self-aggrandizing Hollywood tales, how Welles’s techniques inspired later filmmakers, the milage of auteur theory in a commercial market, and the true ambitions of the film’s many signature setpieces.

Plus, we talk about the definition and origins of film noir, a movie about drunk people, Harry Cohn: Hollywood Super-Villain, sailing (unsteadily) with Errol Flynn, screwing over William Castle, picking your adaptation at random, “Latin crime jazz”, the conscientiousness of Chinese opera performers, synonyms for “trashy”, the Wong Kar Wai remake that never happened, Aaron capes for his boy Yorgos Lanthimos, Robin doubts the Brechtianism of Welles, and we debut the “I Have to Fight You” podcast!

This is without a doubt the best murder for hire, put yourself on the witness stand, bad Irish accent, hall of mirrors shootout, scary aquarium, mariachi luau film ever made!

The Lady From Shanghai Scores
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Metacritic: NA
IMDB: 7.7/10

Check out Robin’s podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff!

Get Robin’s books on Amazon!
Beating the Story
Hamlet’s Hit Points

Buy The Lady From Shanghai on Blu-ray!

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