Orson Welles

..and why not?
marios

Orson Welles

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 20:40

I was just wondering...

Apart from "Citizen Kane", "Touch Of Evil" and "The Magnificent Ambersons", what other Welles-directed films are essential (or at least worth watching)?

I have "F For Fake", "Mr Arkadin" (aka Confidential Report), "The Stranger" and "Lady From Shanghai" on my list. His adaptation of "The Trial" might also be worth watching i guess.

Has anyone here seen all the ones i mentioned? Which one should i definitely try and see next?

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Postby St Jeemo the Humourless » 13 Feb 2007, 20:49

I have seen them all including the Shakespeares, they are all worth watching. They all have moments of sheer genius
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Sneelock

Postby Sneelock » 13 Feb 2007, 20:51

I say 'all of the above'
(add 'Chimes at Midnight' if you don't mind Shakespeare movies)

I know a lot of people think 'Kane' eclipsed everything the guy ever did. I'm not one of those guys.

I think he's as important as Hitchock in the grand scheme of things. sometimes what the movie director is doing enriches the experience. Orson Welles is dead, long live Orson Welles.

"Mr. Arkadin" is the toughest to endorse because it's a technical mess but it's a wonderful counterpoint to 'Kane' and shows what I liked about Orson. the man made movies. different movies under different sets of circumstances.

when the costumes didn't arrive for 'Othello' - he reset the scene in a bathouse. I think he was a bona fide genius. He took stock Republic western sets and made them Shakesperean.

Keaton could look at something and figure out how to make it funny. Orson could look at something and make it cinematic.

the absolute top of the heap in a lot of ways. I think everything he did is worth a look.
Last edited by Sneelock on 13 Feb 2007, 20:53, edited 1 time in total.

marios

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 20:51

I guess i can start with the one that is most available. Thanks.

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Postby Matt Wilson » 13 Feb 2007, 21:03

Of the ones you mentioned not seeing try and view The Lady from Shanghai, Marios. Pretty much top notch film noir despite Welles' questionable Irish accent.

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Feb 2007, 21:06

Matt Wilson wrote:Of the ones you mentioned not seeing try and view The Lady from Shanghai, Marios. Pretty much top notch film noir despite Welles' questionable Irish accent.


All Irish accents are questionable.
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marios

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 21:18

Matt Wilson wrote:Of the ones you mentioned not seeing try and view The Lady from Shanghai, Marios. Pretty much top notch film noir despite Welles' questionable Irish accent.


I know it's the logical one to see next, but i always had my doubts about it. If it's indeed "a top notch film noir" i'll try and get to it sooner rather than later though.

The Modernist

Re: Orson Welles

Postby The Modernist » 13 Feb 2007, 21:22

= marios = wrote: His adaptation of "The Trial" might also be worth watching i guess.


Very much so. It would appear on paper (boom boom) an unfilmable book, but Welles really sustains the nightmarish claustrophobia brilliantly. The film is full of great expressionist photography and is certainly not an also ran in his canon.

marios

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 21:39

Thanks G.

Has anyone here seen RKO 281, the TV film about the making of Citizen Kane? Liev Schreiber was quite convincing as Welles and the film itself wasn't bad.

Angus MacFadyen was also quite convincing (stunning similarity!) as Welles in The Cradle Will Rock.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 13 Feb 2007, 21:40

With Welles, it's always a matter of the finished product vs. what Welles wanted to do. He never had the leverage of a Hitchcock or Ford or Chaplin to do what he wanted. His career was a constant battle with studio heads. He was only signed on as director for Touch of Evil (what I think is his finest movie) because Charlton Heston, who'd already been signed to act on it, insisted.

That said, all his movies (at least the ones I've seen) have moments of brilliance. It's quite an acheivment, really.
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Postby Matt Wilson » 13 Feb 2007, 21:40

davey the fat boy wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:Of the ones you mentioned not seeing try and view The Lady from Shanghai, Marios. Pretty much top notch film noir despite Welles' questionable Irish accent.


All Irish accents are questionable.


Not if Matt Damon did one.

marios

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 21:42

toomanyhatz wrote:With Welles, it's always a matter of the finished product vs. what Welles wanted to do. He never had the leverage of a Hitchcock or Ford or Chaplin to do what he wanted. His career was a constant battle with studio heads. He was only signed on as director for Touch of Evil (what I think is his finest movie) because Charlton Heston, who'd already been signed to act on it, insisted.


What's funny is that it was a misunderstanding on Heston's part. He accepted the role because he thought Welles was the director. When he found out that he was only attached to the project as an actor he demanded that the studio offers him the directing job.

The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 13 Feb 2007, 21:49

toomanyhatz wrote:With Welles, it's always a matter of the finished product vs. what Welles wanted to do. He never had the leverage of a Hitchcock or Ford or Chaplin to do what he wanted. His career was a constant battle with studio heads.


Indeed.
And yet why did his career trail off so disappointingly? To say he was simply the victim of a philistine hollywood appears to be too pat, and one I think Welles was guilty on falling back on himself. If ever an auteur could find a home within hollywood then surely it was the early seventies. If Kubrick, a very difficult personality, could do it why couldn't Welles?
I'm not sure there wasn't an element of self-destructive sabotage about Welles' career; that he rather too much liked the idea of the artist in exile and was content to play that role.
Perhaps I'm being overly harsh on him here, I'd welcome others thoughts.

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Postby Matt Wilson » 13 Feb 2007, 21:54

Not all of Welles' films were reedited by snip-happy producers anyway. Besides Kane, The Trial is untouched by any outside interference--so what you see is exactly how Welles wanted it.

And Moddie is right about there being a certain amount of self sabatage to Orson's career. It was as if sometimes he didn't really want to stay and cut his movies prefering to move on to the next project. That way he could bemoan the final cut of the picture without having to do the work himself. This happened to Ambersons in fact.

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Postby St Jeemo the Humourless » 13 Feb 2007, 21:54

= marios = wrote:Thanks G.

Has anyone here seen RKO 281, the TV film about the making of Citizen Kane? Liev Schreiber was quite convincing as Welles and the film itself wasn't bad.

Angus MacFadyen was also quite convincing (stunning similarity!) as Welles in The Cradle Will Rock.


I have RKO 281 but havent watched it yet, I also have Kane, The Stranger, Lady From Shangai, Touch of Evil, Confidential Report (Mr Arkadin). I like a bit of Orson me :D
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Postby Sneelock » 13 Feb 2007, 21:56

I think it was his boon and his bane that he was a larger than life character. he burned a lot of bridges.

my feeling is that his body of work is strong. those films were made under the least desirable working conditions and yet his voice is strong.

in fact, I've been watching the reputation of these films grow. 'Touch of Evil' was not always regarded as highly as it is now and 'Lady from Shanghai' seems to be gaining more consensus. good.

'F for Fake' was WAY ahead of it's time. sure, it's a mixed bag but I don't think his litter is Kane and a bunch of mutts. this guy was put on earth to make movies. he tried with all his might to do other things. thank god his fortune required him to make movies.

I think his filmography is very strong.

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Postby St Jeemo the Humourless » 13 Feb 2007, 22:04

Matt Wilson wrote:Not all of Welles' films were reedited by snip-happy producers anyway. Besides Kane, The Trial is untouched by any outside interference--so what you see is exactly how Welles wanted it.

And Moddie is right about there being a certain amount of self sabatage to Orson's career. It was as if sometimes he didn't really want to stay and cut his movies prefering to move on to the next project. That way he could bemoan the final cut of the picture without having to do the work himself. This happened to Ambersons in fact.


Ambersons was cut behind his back while he was filming Its All True in Brazil, Robert Wise took the studio's shilling to edit it against Welles express wishes and notes as to how the film should end, the whole happy ending was filmed after Welles was effectively sacked, and the actors were held to their contracts to shoot extra scenes

The Trial was also affected by the slashing of the budget just before production started.

I feel he was in a Catch 22 situation, no one would trust him with a big budget so he grabbed money from where he could and filmed on the hoof, which led to him not being able to get big budgets ........
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Postby toomanyhatz » 13 Feb 2007, 22:05

I don't deny there may have been some self-sabotage (and also arrogance- Hitchcock knew how to compromise with studio heads, wheras Welles treated them as inferior beings) but why do you say his career trailed off? Even if you make the case that Kane was his masterpiece (which as I said I'd disagree with) I don't think his other early films are any better than his late ones.
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marios

Postby marios » 13 Feb 2007, 22:09

Matt Wilson wrote:Not all of Welles' films were reedited by snip-happy producers anyway. Besides Kane, The Trial is untouched by any outside interference--so what you see is exactly how Welles wanted it.

And Moddie is right about there being a certain amount of self sabatage to Orson's career. It was as if sometimes he didn't really want to stay and cut his movies prefering to move on to the next project. That way he could bemoan the final cut of the picture without having to do the work himself. This happened to Ambersons in fact.


He was always away when his films were being edited, you're right. He was always in Brazil or Mexico or some other place, instead of staying and fighting the studio.

It's a good thing he left notes on how he wanted Touch Of Evil to be edited so that at least now we have HIS version of it. I don't know if he did something similar with The Magnificent Ambersons, but there isn't much extra footage of that anyway as it was destroyed to make room in the studio archive (UCLA has a slightly different version of the film with some scenes that are not in the original film, but it can't be enough to restore it to its intended structure anyway).

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Postby Bungo the Mungo » 13 Feb 2007, 22:11

Sneelock wrote:this guy was put on earth to make movies.


Yes. I think that sums Welles up very nicely!