Welles goes full Hitchcock in this thrilling example of American Noir. Hitchcock's 'Innocent Man on the Run' routine is blessed with Welles eye for poetic dialogue, strong characterisation & visual brilliance. Welles' belief in pure cinema shines through during the climatic chase through a Chinese theatre & dizzying fun house.
Wells continues to strike me as phoney especially in this film. He seems propelled forward by a melodramatic over-confidence that pushes him beyond boundaries he is far from mastering or realising. Citizen Kane was unexpectedly Wagnerian and unique but - with the exception of Othello and a couple other pieces - his output lacks identity while his efforts to explore subjects in depth, artificial and inconclusive.
*THAT* was better than expected. The moments and ideas that seem dated, the confusing bits of plot and unbelievable moments (and accent) are outgunned by the sheer joyfulness, the twists and genre switches, the chickens that come home to roost, the red herrings, and of course, one particular set piece of mindbending theatrical bravado. I am lucky: the last time I saw it I was about 10 years old, so recalled nothing.
Not up there with the very best film noirs, this is lifted up a notch by a fun performance from Orson Welles and a wonderful turn from Rita Hayworth. Pacing is brisk, there is some humour scattered throughout, and the final act throws in some absolutely gorgeous and dreamy imagery.