Lady from Shanghai
Crime, Film-Noir, Drama | USA, 1947 |24th April 2017(UK) | Powerhouse Films |Dir.Orson Welles | Rita Heyworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane,The Lady from Shanghai (Dual Format Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
Everyone loves a good puzzle. The anticipation while you put it together, the satisfaction once it’s complete; it’s great. Mysteries are like puzzles (duh), except you have to watch someone else put the pieces together. You never know if they’re hiding extra pieces up their sleeve or throwing out pieces that don’t fit or making a different puzzle altogether.
So here’s the deal with The Lady from Shanghai: it’s definitely a puzzle (duh), but Welles puts the pieces together so many times and in so many different ways that by the end of it all you’re not sure if you’ve got the final picture or if the edges of the pieces are just so worn away that they’ll fit together any way you place them.
It’s a fair point to make that, however, these pieces come together, by themselves they’re enough to make a well-paced 90-minute puzzle entertaining. One piece wants to kill another (something about making puzzles with his girlfriend), and alliances which were already fuzzy to begin with become even shadier and indeterminate. Between the backstabbing, double crossing, and betrayals, it’s impossible to know where any piece belongs in the bigger picture.
The Lady from Shanghai is definitely good (duh), but whether it will rise to the level of greatness for you will depend on what kind of puzzles you like and how you like to see them put together. If you like your plots to be clear-cut and coherent, this might leave you scratching your head in confused disappointment. But if some great performances and a spectacular conclusion are enough to round the edges off some murky motivations, this might just be the film for you.
* Audio commentary with filmmaker and Welles expert Peter Bogdanovich
* Simon Callow on ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ (2017): appreciation by the acclaimed actor and Welles scholar
* An Interview with Rita Hayworth (1970): interview filmed for the French TV programme Pour le cinéma
* A Discussion with Peter Bogdanovich (2000): the renowned filmmaker and author talks about Welles and The Lady from Shanghai
* Joe Dante trailer commentary (2013): a short critical appreciation
* Original theatrical trailer + image gallery
* Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by film critic Samm Deighan, a chapter from William Castle’s memoirs about the making of the film, and Welles’ 9-page memo to Harry Cohn.
Experiment in Terror
Crime, Mystery, Thriller | USA, 1962 | 12| 24th April 2017(UK) | Powerhouse Films | Dir.Blake Edwards | Glenn Ford,Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers | Buy:Experiment in Terror (Dual Format Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
In Experiment In Terror you get some pretty nasty bits of violence, a couple of very pointed moments of ‘almost swearing’ and hints at sexual assault. It also comes as no surprise that over 50 years on, even though we’ve been fed just about the lengths of violence and coarse language that we can possibly be taken to, that the more suggestive tone of this film seems to make it far more gripping and disturbing.
From the moment Ross Martin collars Remick in a garage, wheezes threats at her, it’s obvious that Experiment In Terror is going to be an experiment in more than just that. What is perhaps the biggest relief about the film, however, is that its not just Blake Edwards using it a testing ground to see what he could get away with, but a very fine crime drama and noir as well.
Not everything progresses without the odd bump in the road – Martin doing a very unconvincing bit of cross-dressing to threaten Remick once again is especially daft while Glenn Ford, who is otherwise as solidly dependable as he always was, doesn’t hold as much fascination as he perhaps should have done. It’s safe to say that even the former misfire provides entertainment, even so.
* Audio commentary by film critic Kim Morgan
* All By Herself: Stefanie Powers on ‘Experiment in Terror’ (2017): exclusive filmed interview with the actress
* Isolated score
* Theatrical trailers + TV Spots
* Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet with a new essay by film critic Kim Morgan, and a new examination of the secret FBI files dedicated to screenwriters The Gordons by Jeff Billington.