Sunday, July 25, 2010


“When I start out to make a fool of myself there’s very little can stop me. If I’d known where it would end, I’d have never let anything start, if I’d been in my right mind. But once I seen her, I was not in my right mind, for quite some time.”

The film opens with brilliant opening line, leading us into a complex and involving mystery film made by Master Orson Welles. Welles wrote a brilliant screenplay out of Sherwood King’s pulp novel and made an impressive thriller. A sailor named Michael O’Hara (played by Welles) is hired as crewman on the luxury yacht of the wealthy lawyer but crippled man named Banister (Everett Sloane). His femme fatale wife Elsa (Rita Hayworth) knew O’Hara as once seduced by her charm he saved her once from trouble. Now they are on cruise and O’Hara no longer remain untouched by ravishing Elsa. Here enters a stranger named Grisby who offered O’Hara the proposition to kill him. Its complicated, bizarre world full of deception, fraud and murder where the innocent hero led into a big mess.

Though courtroom drama seems quite amusing, the film has brilliant climax where characters have shootout in a hall of mirrors shattering their multiple images; showing us the auteur stamp. Despite Orwell’s touch, goddess like charm of Rita Hayworth and gritty finale, the movie failed at box office. Needless to say that the film has breathtaking camera work with Welles favorite low angles including few deep focus shots too. Welles was just wonderful using the background as a kind of comment on the foreground. The film ends with another wonderful line corresponding to the one on the beginning- “Everybody is somebody’s fool. The only way to stay out of trouble is to grow old.”

Recommended to Welles fans or even those who love to watch film noir.


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