Movie Diary 6/22/2020

The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947). The movie partakes of various conventions of film noir – fistfights in dark places, courtroom scenes, moonlight embraces – but also seems to satirize them, as it cranks up the funhouse style. It is probably also about the movie business, with Rita Hayworth as Exhibit A; somehow her Elsa, a perfectly plastic product of the system, comes across as a victim in this scenario, even though she is a perpetrator. A movie like this exposes the bogusness of, say, Gilda, one of the era’s factory-made hits.

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