Orson Welles’ last directorial foray in mainstream Hollywood before taking a much-needed break progressively toys and experiments with the medium as the narrative saunters toward its wonderfully shattered ending. The Lady from Shanghai foreshadows Touch of Evil in many ways but differs in its psychedelic nature, which is an interesting twist since the film focuses on a Gilda-like trio of individuals that Welles’ character compares to a group of hungry sharks. The journey into fractured subjectivity works first of all on a level that transcends language. Welles’ trademark, like his French counterpart Jean Renoir, is to elevate cinema to its own aesthetic form; why say with cinema what could more easily be said with mere words? Because of this element in The Lady from Shanghai, the film at times feels directionless from a style point-of-view. The disintegration of the marriage in the film apparently coincided with that of Welles and Rita Hayworth outside of it. Cinephiles in a way should be thankful for this. Instead of exploiting Rita’s Rita-ness, Welles chops off her hair, dyes it, and identifies her with a ferocious carnivore. The aloofness of Welles’ character, and his willingness to ride the tide of his new cronies and participate in a highly dubious scheme, effectively keeps the film within the broad category of “film noir” while expanding its parameters at the same time via aesthetics. And btw, the shameless Orientalism of this film has to be mentioned. It exists at every level.