The Lady from Shanghai
Orson Welles may have been a cinematic genius, but his 1948 film The Lady From Shanghai proves he was far from infallible. From its very first moments, it's painfully obvious that everything about the film is too far over the top--the ill-fitting Irish accent Welles puts on to play seaman/adventurer/slumming novelist Michael O'Hara, the overripe dialogue, the overheated double-, triple-, and quadruple-crossing plot involving a femme fatale (Rita Hayworth) and her sinister rich husband (Citizen Kane supporting player Everett Sloane, gnawing every bit of Mexican scenery he can get his chops on). But while it comes in a galactically distant third behind Carol Reed's The Third Man and Welles' own Touch of Evil in the trilogy of great Wellesian potboilers, Lady From Shanghai does validate the proto-auteur's visual genius in every frame, including the legendary shootout-in-a-hall-of-mirrors finale. Plus it boasts a special effect Industrial Light and Magic would hard-pressed to better: the toothsome Hayworth, Welles' wife at the time. Some geniuses have all the luck.