Archive for March 22nd, 2011

Director and Producer: Orson Welles

Screenwriters: Orson Welles, William Castle, Charles Lederer, and Fletcher Markle

Cinematographer: Charles Lawton Jr, Rudolph Mate, and Joseph Walker

Music: Heinz Roemheld

Studio: Columbia Pictures 1948

Main Acting: Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles

Double and triple crosses. A femme fatale with dubious motivations. A scheming rich husband. Unsympathetic characters with few redemptive qualities. I could be describing the majority of film noirs. I could also be describing The Lady From Shanghai. Welles got to direct his then beautiful wife Rita Hayworth and does the most perverse thing imaginable…he orders her to cut her flaming red hair short and bleach it blonde. Take the biggest female star at the time and render her unrecognizable—what more proof could you need to acknowledge that Welles was someone who welcomed controversy and thrived on tension and conflict. To make matters worse—or more appealing, depending on whom you ask—he created an ultra-convoluted story that is hard to follow and even more difficult to decipher. In fact, the knotted complexity of Welles’ noir classic picks up right at the beginning with Michael O’ Hara’s tongue-twisting opening monologue that begins: (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK/France 1954 103m) not on DVD

Aka. Monsieur Ripois

No more Manchester puddings

p  Paul Graetz  d  René Clément  w  Hugh Mills, René Clément  novel  “M.Ripois et la Nemesis” by Louis Hémon  ph  Oswald Morris  ed  Vera Campbell, François Javet  m  Roman Vlad  art  Ralph W.Brinton 

Gérard Philipe (André Ripois), Valerie Hobson (Catherine Ripois), Natasha Parry (Patricia), Joan Greenwood (Nora), Margaret Johnston (Anne), Germaine Montero (Marcelle), Diana Decker (Diana), Martin Benson (Art), Eric Pohlmann (landlord),

It is always delightful to walk in a city one loves, but to do so in pursuit of a woman, that is better still.”  Question, starter for ten, no conferring; name the city?  Only a Frenchman, right?  Paris?  Non, think again.  Roll through the rest of the great French cathedral cities, still non.  Exasperated I give you the answer…London.  No, that cannot be.  No Englishman would say anything so continental.  And you’d be right, no Englishman did.  Yet it’s still London all the same. 

            Knave of Hearts is better known as Monsieur Ripois, but that refers to the French language version of the same film.  That film can be tracked down, but how many know and have seen the English language original?  How many indeed have heard its star Gérard Philipe use the king’s modern Anglo-Saxon?  Sadly, the answer to both questions for many would not be in the affirmative.  I only finally got to see the film myself thanks to a friend’s generosity and when I did, it’s safe to say that it was like a breath of air being let in on a warm summer’s day (OK, it’s only May as I write, but it’s been warm enough).  (more…)

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