Orson Welles

Orson Welles – Around the World with Orson Welles (1955) (HD)

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Sean Axmaker, Keyframe wrote:
When handed the raw materials from an unfinished documentary about Elmyr de Hory, an art forger whose life was being written up by biographer Clifford Irving, Orson Welles took the opportunity to make something far beyond the concept of the traditional documentary. F for Fake has been called the Orson Welles’ first essay film, a true enough statement if you limit the accounting to feature films, but he had been doing short-form non-fiction since 1955, when he made Around the World with Orson Welles (a.k.a. Around the World) for British television. Read More »

Orson Welles – The Merchant of Venice – Costume Tests (1969)

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This short clip (10mins) features colour footage shot of costume tests for Welles unfinished project “The Merchant of Venice” from 1969 and whilst there is no sound to the footage, the music is part of a score that Welles had commissioned for “The Merchant of Venice” by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. Read More »

Orson Welles – The Orson Welles Sketchbook (1955)

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Orson Welles’ BBC series is basically a bunch of monologues by Welles, with some illustrations by Welles, about — theatre; theatre critics; voodoo magic used to kill theatre critics; bullfighting; customs officers; the false nose; and many other topics, all connected to Welles’ career in film, theatre and radio.

Very very funny, charming as hell, and an absolute must for Wellesians. Read More »

Orson Welles – Campanadas a medianoche AKA Falstaff – Chimes at Midnight (1965)

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Orson Welles‘ (“Citizen Kane”) black and white low-budget film ingenuously chronicles the life of the fictional Shakespearean character named Falstaff (Orson Welles) in the period of 1400 to 1413. It’s lifted from five Shakespearean plays and Holinshed’s chronicles. This personal reading of English history is laced with nostalgia for “old” England as a merry place (shot on location in Spain) and mostly covers the two parts of Henry IV that revolve around the changing relationship between Falstaff and Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), the future king. Sir Ralph Richardson provides the narration for the tragi-comedy that speaks in modern terms to a contemporary audience about those who become driven by power. It’s a delightfully playful rip at history and the traditional way of filming Shakespeare that wisely mixes slapstick and tragedy, as the hero is both a clownish and tragic figure with the filmmaker’s sympathies clearly lying with the brokenhearted Falstaff after rejection by his former companion who when king heartlessly tells him “I know thee not old man.” Welles accomplishes this Shakespeare treatment in his own unique style, using his trademark low angle camera shots and deep focus cinematography, but without changing a word of the bard’s dialogue. Read More »

Orson Welles – The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

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Synopsis:
The young, handsome, but somewhat wild Eugene Morgan wants to marry Isabel Amberson, daughter of a rich upper-class family, but she instead marries dull and steady Wilbur Minafer. Their only child, George, grows up a spoiled brat. Years later, Eugene comes back, now a mature widower and a successful automobile maker. After Wilbur dies, Eugene again asks Isabel to marry him, and she is receptive. But George resents the attentions paid to his mother, and he and his whacko aunt Fanny manage to sabotage the romance. A series of disasters befall the Ambersons and George, and he gets his come-uppance in the end. Read More »

Orson Welles – Histoire immortelle (1968)

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synopsis

Immortal Story was directed by Orson Welles, who also stars as a fabulously wealthy, but bitter and dictatorial, European merchant. Soured on life, Mr. Clay (Welles) decides to play games with the lives of others. He decides to make the “immortal” legend of a sailor seducing a rich man’s wife come true and even picks the sailor (Roger Coggio) himself. Through Mr. Clay’s machinations, the sailor beds a beautiful younger woman (Jeanne Moreau) whom Clay pays to pose as his own wife. There’s little more to the story than that, but Welles weaves his short tale with an economy and expertise which proves he hadn’t lost his touch by 1969. Based on a story by Isaak Dinesen, The Immortal Story was originally made for French television; it was also the only Orson Welles-directed film to be released in color. Read More »

Orson Welles – The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: A Tribute to Orson Welles (1975)

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In 1975, the American Film Institute bestowed upon Orson Welles their third Lifetime Achievement Award. (The first went to John Ford and the second to James Cagney.) This program, which originally aired on CBS, features a host of actors and other celebrities — Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Joseph Cotton and Charlton Heston — who pay tribute to Welles’ brilliant but tumultuous career.

Throughout the night, many different people speak about the filmmaking contributions Welles made throughout his career, and clips from many of Welles’ films — Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, Falstaff etc. — are shown. It’s rumored that Welles didn’t want to show up unless the AFI would let him show some clips from his then in-production but now-incomplete film, The Other Side of the Wind, so the AFI indulged him and let him show a few clips. (The last screen grab is from one of the film’s scenes.)

For Welles fans, this is a must-see event, as it’s great to see him honored by so many of his colleagues. Read More »