The Lady From Shanghai Characters

The Lady From Shanghai Character List

Michael O’Hara

Michael is the main character in the movie, an Irish seaman who one night meets the beautiful Rosalie. Michael falls in love immediately is her and his naïve side starts to become more and more obvious. As a character, Michael is unsure of what he wants to do and thus he is easily manipulated. Even if at first he refuses to work for Rosalie, he accepts after she insists and this leads to him being manipulated both by Rosalie and by Grisby. Michael is a good man, who is plagued by his guilty conscience. Michael admits that he once killed a man and this confession foreshadows what he will be accused of. It is uncertain what happens in the end with Michael if he is cleared of the murder charges or not, but the movie ends io an optimistic note, proving once more that Michael is a hopeful man. After all the things he has gone through, Michael still holds thigh to the belief that greater good still exists and that justice will be made.

Elsa ‘’Rosalie’’ Bannister

Elsa is a very intriguing woman, surrounded by mystery and with a shady past. Elsa tells Michael that she was born in China, having Russian parents and worked in the most infamous places in China. This may suggest that she worked as a prostitute before marring and her power to seduce men can be an indicator in this sense. Elsa seduces Michael almost immediately and from that point on, she controls him completely. Elsa has great ambitions and plots to kill her husband, pulling Michael into her schemes. Elsa cares only about herself and because of this she kills Grisby, to make sure that there is no way she could be linked to her husband’s murder.

Arthur Bannister

Arthur is Elsa’s husband and one of the best criminal lawyer in New-York. The watcher finds about him before he appears on the screen when Michael mentions a case in which a man murdered his wife but wasn’t convicted because Arthur Bannister was his lawyer. Arthur Bannister is a clever man, who knows that someone wants to hurt him, so he hires a private investigator to find out who it is. What he fails to realize is that the person who wants him dead is his own wife. Arthur loves his wife and is willing to go and ask Michal to work for him just to please her. Arthur can also become quite jealous, and he does so when he finds that Elsa likes Michael and like each other romantically so he doesn’t involve himself as much into the trial. Arthur is killed at the end of the movie in the hall of mirrors with Elsa.

Mr. Grisby

Grisby is one of Arthur Bannister’s business associate with whom Michale meets during his time on the yacht. Grisby first appears during Elsa and Michael’s first encounter, when Michael takes Elsa to her car. Grisby makes numerous sexual allusions about Elsa and Michael and he is the one who sees them kiss for the first time. Grisby proposes Michael to ‘’kill’’ him, assuring him that he will not be convicted as long as there is nobody. Grisby proves himself to be a very ambitious man, plotting to kill Arthur and blame Michael for it. He is intelligent and he comes up with a plan to make sure that he will escape all suspicions. His ambition gets him killed in the end, Elsa feeling forced to kill him to protect herself.

Mr. Sydney

Mr. Sydney is a private investigator hired by Mr. Bannister. He finds about Grisby’s plot to kill Mr. Bannister and Elsa and calls to warn them after he is injured by Grisby.

A cab driver

A cab driver appears briefly at the beginning of the movie when Michael meets Elsa for the first time.


Goldie is a sailor who goes with Michael and Mr. Bannister to a bar after Mr. Bannister comes to offer Michael a job.


Jake is one of Michael’s old acquaintances, a war buddy who knows about Michael’s past. He too goes with Michael to a bar with Mr. Bannister and Goldie.


Bessie is Bannister’s maid who convinces Michael to work on the yacht.

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