3-4. Not unusual as far as Welles existentialism goes, though there is an odd tinge of positivity to the ending, in spite of the protagonist's insistence that forgetting or death may be the only way to escape Elsa's indelible mark. Everyone mentions the mirror maze sequence, but I actually thought the development of water as the 'world' stage was more prominent throughout.
A Wells noir film that is, despite being truncated & tampered with like many Wells' films, amongst his finest work. About an Irish sailor who falls under the influence of a wealthy mysterious woman & her devious crippled attorney husband, Wells' film deals with conspiracy & paranoia in a grotesquely cinematic way that is both immensely bold & skittish; like a fever dream turning into a nightmare before your eyes.
Technically my favorite film noir but I don’t even consider it that, it transcends the genre into a surreal Lynchian nightmare, starring possibly the most beautiful woman in film history aka Rita Hayworth. Welles at his most experimental and downright fun, at some point there’s a funhouse scene including a classic mirror room sequence and a giant slider which is the greatest thing Welles ever filmed.
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.