ORSON WELLES promotes his wife Rita Hayworth as THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI in 1946
The novel that became the basis for the Orson Welles movie, The Lady From Shanghai was written by Sherwood King in 1938.
Welles claimed he saw it in a drug store in Boston in 1946, and that he called Harry Cohn before the opening of AROUND THE WORLD and asked Cohn to send him $40,000. and also to buy the book, so he could make it into a movie for Columbia.
While this is a great story, as every Welles Scholar knows, it is also one that it totally FAKE.
The book by Sherwood King had already been brought to Columbia by William Castle years before. But in any case, the novel provided Welles with the one and only chance he had to work with his wife at the time, Rita Hayworth.
See shots of Rita and Orson at the Wellesnet Facebook page HERE.
Here is the first page of the Sherwood King book:
IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE
By Sherwood King
"Sure," I said, "I would commit murder. If I had to, of course, or if it was worth my while," I said this as though I meant it too. I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it at all.
"The way I figure it," I said, "a man's got to die some time. All murder does is hurry it up. What more is there to it?" You know—talk. What any young fellow might say, just to show he's not afraid of anything.
There had been a murder out our way. On Long Island. Some society woman had shot her husband. He hadn't been doing anything, just raiding the icebox for a midnight snack. But (she said) she'd thought he was a burglar… five bullets worth. The police were holding her- some insurance angle.
Anyway, that's what started Grisby talking about murder. I'd been driving him down to the railroad station every other day or so, whenever he'd come out to see my boss, Bannister, the lawyer. They were partners, only Bannister didn't get down to the office much. He had a twisted leg—something he'd got in the War. It made him walk funny… you could hardly get him outside, except to appear in court, and then only when he had to. But it didn't matter. He could work just as well at home, provided Grisby kept him in touch and came out often, and he did.
So this time driving down to the station we were talking about murder and Grisby asked me what I thought and I told him. Afterwards I remembered he'd been building up to it from the very first. Nothing definite. Just letting me know one way and another that he thought I was too good to stay chauffeur to a man like Bannister for long. That he thought I was too smart not to have my eye on the main chance.
And there I was, taking it all in, trying to talk and act up to the role he'd given me and all the time not meaning a word of it, not a word.