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Orson Welles: The One Man Band
July 13, 2007 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Orson Welles: The One Man Band - a movie that takes a look at the last years of Mr. Welles. German/English with English subtitles. Full .avi download available.
posted by Burhanistan (18 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha! That opening scene is magnificent! This looks good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 PM on July 13, 2007


Looking forward to viewing this! I'm really hoping it will include some kind of argument about dishes of peas in July...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:52 PM on July 13, 2007


Looks good from the first few minutes. Thank you - of course a post by Burhanistan with the first two favorable comments by flapjax at midnite and miss lynnster is probably going to be good.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:32 PM on July 13, 2007


I cannot think of Orson Welles without also thinking of Optimus Prime.
posted by maus at 12:07 AM on July 14, 2007


I cannot think of him without thinking of General Dreedle.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:03 AM on July 14, 2007


This is a very interesting film. Worth seeing for that trailer for "F for Fake" alone. Amazing! Welles comes off as rather less imperious than he's often thought of. The loving remembrances of his longtime partner Oja Kodar also bring to light a view of Welles that goes against the popularly-held version of Welles as some sort of full-of-himself, cranky old elitist. At a public question-and-answer session, he's asked: "How much obligation do you feel to a mass audience?" Welles answers: "I would love to have a mass audience. You're looking at a man who's been searching for a mass audience, and if I had had one, I'd be obliged." The film shows that he had far more of a sense of humor about himself than one would expect. One of his films shows him as the brunt of two English tailor's mockery and scorn for being so fat! That, as well as some other little films shown in this documentary are actually, well, they're Monty Python-esque! Incredibly silly! Most unexpected! And then, in contrast, the gorgeously mysterious footage from "The Merchant of Venice"... Clearly Welles was a man of very wide interests, impossible to pigeonhole. Between the interview footage, all the various clips from unfinished projects, remembrances and so forth, this is a film that does a great service to Orson Welles, I think: it dispels some common misperceptions and offers us a more balanced look at this fascinating gentleman.

Thanks so much for posting this, Burhanistan.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:19 AM on July 14, 2007


This is also available on the Criterion DVD release of F for Fake. It is damned odd to see Welles doing comedy sketches with Tim Brooke-Taylor of the Goodies, among others. I can't remember: does the film cover what those were going to be for? An Orson Welles comedy series on ITV or something?

Definitely watch the whole thing if you've got time: later in the film there's rather rare footage from The Other Side of the Wind, and some fascinating footage of Welles reading from Moby Dick.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:28 AM on July 14, 2007


Brilliant, and I'll say again that the F for Fake DVD is the pride of my collection.

PS - I dig your style, Burhanistan.
posted by carsonb at 6:52 AM on July 14, 2007


dLed, thanks, Burhanistan!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:41 AM on July 14, 2007


Saw this on the DVD for F for Fake. Excellent doc.
posted by brundlefly at 11:38 AM on July 14, 2007


Or, what Lentrohamsanin said.
posted by brundlefly at 11:39 AM on July 14, 2007


Okay, so I'm in the middle of it now. I am SO glad you posted this, Burhanistan. Seriously.

First off, I loved watching Oja Kodar. I've only read about her, and her love and dedication for him and for his creativity is so clear, it really touches me. And then watching him vagabonding around with his suitcase of films, with creativity that is flowing through his veins and impossible to shake, screw what anyone thinks or if anyone sees it or how goofy or over the top they are... I just so related to his struggle, it really kind of stunned me. It definitely endeared me to him.

His obsessive love of creativity is kind of infectious. Over the years I've really struggled with my own creative expectations & needs (the only talents I possess are creative ones), so this film actually has hit me on a different level than I expected. Over the last few years I kind of got to the point where I felt like nobody cared if I did great work but me, as though my efforts didn't make any difference. I don't like feeling like I'm being difficult, so I found myself in creative situations where I had to force myself to just sit on my hands and smile. I just wanted people to be happy & I wanted to fit in... but I was miserable and lost all of my energy. I don't want to be someone who spends all of her time doing mediocre stuff on command.

Over the last month I've really finally started to shake that and want to be creative for my own sake again. Little by little I feel my spirit is coming back and am finding myself getting excited about crazy creative ideas again. So the timing of watching this is very good. Makes me feel like I should get a suitcase and start hauling my ideas around. :)

Seeing that room filled to the top with Orson's films... and seeing how hard he worked, even though it never got him anywhere. It kind of choked me up a little. It made me really a little teary eyed and made me really feel a bit emotional, actually. The man struggled, but never gave up. Kind of made me realize that even if nobody ever sees those films, they do matter. Somehow. Just because they exist. For better or worse, at least they were created.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:34 PM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is great. Thank you.

(As has also been said but bears repeating: F For Fake is one of the greatest things in the history of forever.)
posted by basicchannel at 12:55 PM on July 14, 2007


Somebody find F for Fake for me somewhere online :)
posted by empath at 1:27 PM on July 14, 2007


basicchannel writes "F For Fake is one of the greatest things in the history of forever."

I first saw that film in a half-burned out house in Phoenix full of artists, ending up there somehow after being dumped by my girlfriend in McKinleyville, CA, and hitchhiking back towards New Mexico. Kinda got stuck there for a little while. Very strange period of my life, but a great film.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:42 PM on July 14, 2007


I felt the need to share this on the 'filter a few moments into the opening. Welles had his own specific atmosphere that was present in most all of his work. At the end of the day, I don't think it matters if one's creative expression ever really finds wide acceptance. What matters was that it was voiced unreservedly and not watered down.

Also, maus: Welles voiced Unicron, not Optimus Prime. Not sure if you had that confused or just had the association there even though you knew. It's only fitting that he should play the voice of the biggest, and baddest transformer who was the destroyer of worlds and a law unto himself.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on July 14, 2007


At the end of the day, I don't think it matters if one's creative expression ever really finds wide acceptance.

Yes, I largely agree with that, particularly if the creator in question can achieve a reasonably happy and satisfied life without that wide acceptance. And though it's impossible to really know for sure, it would appear that Welles was able to remain positive in outlook, and reasonably content in his life. He was undoubtedly fortunate to have the love and support of his beautiful (both in body and spirit!) partner Oja Kodar, the importance of whom probably cannot be overstated. And he was able to keep working and creating, which is certainly what keeps an artist essentially happy and healthy in spirit, I believe. Still, it can't be denied that more recognition would've been a positive thing, and the essential tragedy is that he may well have had wider "acceptance" had the powers that be (in this case, the Hollywood establishment) seen fit to give him the chance (funds, essentially) that he needed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:38 PM on July 14, 2007


Wonderful. Thank you. I love Orson Welles.
posted by chance at 8:52 PM on July 15, 2007


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