The Lady From Shanghai Imagery

The Lady From Shanghai Imagery


The park in which the main characters appear for the first time is significant for the whole movie because of the image it creates. The initial scene introduces the viewer into a dangerous world, a dark world dominated by uncertainty. In this dark world, Elsa appears pure and innocent but surrounded by the shadows of her past. A sharp contrast is created between Elsa and the park at night and the viewer is left to believe that the most dangerous person in the park is Michael, when in reality, is Elsa.


At one point in the film, Michael O’Hara is ready to quit working for Elsa and her husband but he is stopped by a woman working on the yacht named Bessie. When Bessie talks about Elsa, she presents her in a tragic light, seeing her as only a child trapped in a marriage. Bessie sees Elsa as a victim, an innocent girl in need of protection. This image created by Bessie convinces Michael to remain on the yacht and continue working for Elsa.


When Grisby is concerned, there are many elements that amplified the imagery of an ugly, inhuman person. Through the filming techniques used, Grisby is presented almost always in such a way to make the viewer feel disgust and suspicion. Grisby is presented as a one-dimensional character, with no good characteristics and the close-ups and the way he is filmed complete this image.


From the beginning, Elsa is presented as a seductress, able to twist the mind of every man. Her husband is willing to do everything for her and little by little, Michael falls into the same trap as Arthur did. The idea that Elsa is a seductress is amplified during the scene when Michael looks at her while she is swimming and sunbathing on a rock. Then, Elsa is presented in such a manner that the image of the seductress is completed.

Dangerous man

From the start, Michael is presented as a dangerous man. He walks alone in a dangerous place, is a man who chose a dangerous job and the image of the dangerous man is completed when he admits that he once killed a man. Through all these elements, a sense of mystery and danger is created around the name Michael O’Hara, image maintained until the end of the film.

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