Buried deep among the hundreds of old scripts in RKO Pictures’ archives was a 1941 melodramatic gem about an amnesia-stricken man who wakes up in the middle of a revolution in Mexico. Never produced, the screenplay for “The Way to Santiago”
is credited to Orson Welles.
Seventyfive years ago today, a broadcast of light music was interrupted for a special bulletin from Intercontinental news
A lost film by Orson Welles, originally produced to accompany a 1938 stage production of the 1894 William Gillette
play "Too Much Johnson
) has been rediscovered
in Italy, and is set for premiere at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival
on October 9th. The American premiere
will be at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, on October 16th. [more inside]
In the early eighties, Orson Welles was a fixture at L.A.’s Ma Maison, where Wolfgang Puck was the chef before he moved on to Spago. Nearing 70, and 40-plus years removed from Citizen Kane, which he made when he was just 25, Welles was fat and famously difficult, no longer a viable star but still a sort of Hollywood royalty—a very certain sort. The younger director Henry Jaglom was one of many aspiring auteurs who admired him but possibly the only one who taped their conversations. These took place in 1983 over lunch at the restaurant.
In 1990, Isaac Asimov was working on a TV series to bridge science fiction and science fact, "synthesizing his visionary ideas about where humanity is going." He passed away in 1992, and the series never progressed beyond the pilot, which was re-worked and released as the documentary Visions of the Future
(YouTube playlist, via Brainpickings
, which calls the video "essentially, the antithesis to the Future Shock [documentary] narrated by Orson Welles
"). [more inside]
Sight & Sound
's prestigious Greatest Films of All Time
poll is conducted only once per decade. The latest edition polled 846 film critics (up from 144 in the 2002 edition) and 358 directors. The results were revealed earlier today and, for the first time since 1962, Citizen Kane has not topped either the critics' or the directors' poll
. It has been unseated as the Greatest Film of All Time by Vertigo and Tokyo Story.
The magazine has also revealed the Critics' Top 50
. [more inside]
Orson Welles' final interview
, conducted October 10, 1985. He died two hours later, at age 70. via
) is a glimpse at society on the precipice of the information age, in this 1972 documentary based on the Alvin Toffler classic
about the world gone mad, due to technology and computers. Narrated by Orson Welles
. [more inside]
(Belgium, 1971, aka ‘The Legend of Doom House’) is a movie
that has been described as ‘bizarre, lurid and baffling;’ ‘a mysterious curiosity;’ and ‘exquisitely bonkers.’ An international cast led by Mathieu Carrière and Susan Hampshire (playing five
rôles) also included Orson Welles
. Its director, Harry Kümel
, is otherwise best known for his stylish lesbian
vampire flick Les Lèvres Rouges
’). The movie
was adapted from an unusual
, first published in wartime Brussels—the work
of Jean Ray
(aka Raymond Jean-Marie de Kremer): a convicted embezzler & prolific hack
, who was, nevertheless, one of the foremost exponents
of the fantastique
in French-language fiction. Please note that some of the links above are NSFW
(some nudity) & several contain SPOILERS
. [more inside]
Just wait till we're alone together. Then I will tell you something new, something cold, something sleepy, something of cease and peace and the long bright curve of space. Go upstairs to your room. I will be waiting for you...
As a rare October blizzard drifts a blanket of white across the Northeast just before Halloween, what better time to settle in and read (or watch) Conrad Aiken's
most famous short story, "Silent Snow, Secret Snow."
About a small boy who increasingly slips into an ominous fantasy of isolation and endless snow, it could be viewed as a metaphor about autism, Asperger's syndrome, and even schizophrenia before such conditions even had names. In addition to the 1934 short story, the tale has also been adapted as a creepy
1966 black-and-white short film
(also at the Internet Archive
) and as a Night Gallery
) narrated by Orson Welles. Or for a more academic take, see the essay "The Delicious Progress"
examining Aiken's use of white as a symbol of psychological regression.
The City's Most Beautiful Band
is a brazilian music band which popularity is growing over Internet
. Why? Because of its music videoclip, recently uploaded to Youtube and seen over 4.4 million times in just 17 days. The music's called "Oração" (Pray, in portuguese), the clip is 6'03'' long
, shot in one take. It would make Orson Welles
get jealous with such a good travelling shot
. Wonder why? Compare the clip with the opening scene of Touch of Evil
The long take
, an uncut, uninterrupted shot in film, is seen by some as the counter to CGI, the last great field for cinematic art
. The linked page features six clips from 1990 on, plus the opening shot
from Orson Welles' 1958 film, Touch of Evil
. Alfred Hitchcock's film from a decade earlier, Rope
, took the long cut further, with the whole film shot in eight takes of up to 10 minutes each, a decision shaped by the limit of the physical recording media
. With digital media, the long take could be pushed further, as with Russian Ark
, from 2002. The movie was shot in one long take, with the narrative working through the history of Russia, set within The State Hermitage Museum
, and captured in one day on the 4th take. If the long takes are a tad long for you, try the "short" long takes that are one-shot music videos
[videos inside] [more inside]
The Magnificent Ambersons
, Orson Welles' second film, has inspired a legend around the lost footage excised by the studio to make it more appealing to audiences. The film's making is a cautionary tale in letting the studio have creative control, and the finished product pained Welles to his dying day. The mythical status of the lost footage has inspired a few to try and track it down
. [more inside]
F for Fake (French: Vérités et mensonges) is the last major film completed by Orson Welles, who directed, co-wrote, and starred in the film. Initially released in 1974, it focuses on Elmyr de Hory's recounting of his career as a professional art forger; de Hory's story serves as the backdrop for a fast-paced, meandering investigation of the natures of authorship and authenticity, as well as the basis of the value of art. Loosely a documentary, the film operates in several different genres and has been described as a kind of film essay. [more inside]
"Now, I'm willing to admit the policeman has a difficult job, a very hard job. But it's the essence of our society that the policeman's job should
be hard. He's there to protect the free citizen, not to chase criminals—that's an incidental part of his job. The free citizen is always more of a nuisance to the policeman than the criminal. He knows what to do about the criminal." Orson Welles' musings on privacy and its erosion, police harassment, and the need for an International Association for the Protection of the Individual Against Officialdom.
) [more inside]
took a look into Orson Welles' 1938
of H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds
, which caused mass panic in the United States when listeners mistook a radio drama for actual reporting. They then explored the question of whether such hysteria could be recreated in a similar way, recounting stories from Quito, Ecuador in 1949
and Buffalo, New York in 1968
. (There was one other attempt in Santiago, Chile in 1944
which is not mentioned in the Radiolab synopsis.)
Seventy years ago today was the original broadcast of "The War of the Worlds". Listen to it, uninterrupted, here.
The program reportedly caused a mass panic across much of the Northeast. [more inside]
Orson Welles in the Arena
with Jeanne Moreau, Peter Bogdanovich, John Huston, Charlton Heston. More Arena documentaries:
: David Lynch on surrealism
: Philip K. Dick
Get me a jury and show me how you can say "in July" and I'll… go down on you.
Orson Welles, famed for his acting and directing in such classics as Citizen Kane
, also spent his later years doing occasional voiceover work for commercials -- most famously, this spot
for Findus Frozen Peas. [more inside]
What is the connection between cute semi-naked japanese girls,
and Orson Welles' F is for Fake
? Momus explains
The Other Side of the Wind
is the lost last film
of Orson Welles, a reputed unseen masterpiece
, that may finally see the light of day
in late 2008. The film tells the story of Jake Hannaford (played by John Huston
), an aging movie director who has to film a low budget sex-and-symbolism flick to avoid getting overtaken by the Movie Brats
of the Spielberg/Coppola generation. After providing voiceovers to two documentaries on the Persepolis ceremonies
of 1971 and an intimate portrait of the Shah of Iran
, Welles obtained Iranian financing
to finish The Other Side of the Wind. Unfortunately, after the Islamic Revolution of 1979
, the bank accounts of his Iranian financier were seized, which led to the negatives for the film getting locked in a French vault. After Orson Welles died in 1985, his lover/collaborator Oja Kodar
had to settle his estate with Orson's estranged (but never divorced) wife Paola Mori
. There the matter might have rested, if not for an unfortunate coincidence. (More inside.)
may be best known as the director and star of Citizen Kane
, but before he made movies he was a star of the radio. Although he gained notoriety by narrating War of the Worlds
in 1938, he was also the voice of Lamont Cranston
, The Shadow
, and had a successful run as the creator and star
of the Mercury Theater On The Air
, which, after gaining sponsorship, became known as the Campbell Playhouse
. Even after the heyday of radio, Welles provided his voice for The Black Museum
series (based on real-life cases from the files of Scotland Yard), and The Lives of Harry Lime
, a prequel to his role in the film The Third Man
Life Beyond Earth and the Mind of Man. Direct Google Video link
to a fruitcake-tastic half-hour film of "a symposium held at Boston University on November 20, 1972 that explores the implications of the possible existence of extraterrestrial life within the galaxy and the universe. " Well worth scrubbing through for some good moments if you don't have time to watch the whole thing. Other cool old NASA videos on google video
include Who's Out There?
, starring a cigar smoking Orson Welles squinting a lot and reading off the cue cards, and Debrief: Apollo 8
: "Happiness is bacon squares for breakfast".
The new War of the Worlds movie will premiere in June '05.
Based on H.G. Wells book, (e-text)
, the story terrified thousands of American radio listeners and caused a panic on October 30, 1938. That night, a series of increasingly alarming breaking news reports (narrated by a young Orson Welles) about an invading force of Martians interrupted the Mercury Theater show on WABC radio in NYC. Welles had announced at the start of the hour that he was reading a story, but most of the audience tuned in late and thought it was all real. More information can be found here
Wav files of the original broadcast can be downloaded (or purchased) from here.
"They're bombing New Jersey!": Check out a picture of the NYTimes front page and full text of the article they ran the next day
. War of the Worlds has been made into several films, including this one from 1953.
War of the Worlds (this is not about Bush)
Don't own a television? Want an alternative? Live performance, live orchestra, no net. October 30, 2002 8-9 PM Eastern. Glenn Beck recreates Orson Welles chilling performance that captivated a nation along with full orchestrations and foley effects. this is a radio broadcast
Magnificent Wellesian Flop to Be Remade as Mini-Series
Ok, have I got something for you. Well, I think so. Actually, the title could have read : "Teenagers ruin Orson Welles' carrier", or there are a couple of other ideas, not going to bore you with them.
A&E to remake The Magnificent Ambersons at $14 mil, it will star Madeleine Stowe, Jennifer Tilly, James Cromwell, Jonathan Rhys-Myers and Thora Birch (Talk about a bad cast. Tilly? Each!)
"For those who don't
know, Welles' second film was cut by over 40 minutes (mostly at the end)
by order of his studio while he was away making (or trying to make)
"It's All True" in Brazil. The loss of these 40 minutes is generally
considered one of the great tragedies in film history, as much for the
effect on Welles' subsequent career as for the masterpiece that might
have been. (Not that it isn't a masterpiece of sorts, as it is.)"
Problems with this? Chances are that the original Welles script will be buried under too much new content. Then again, We could see the 40 minutes worth of cut content (Damn Teenagers). A&E claims that they have the technology and the resources to make the script better, stronger, and more agile with better reflexes than befoure. Heh. I'm goofy that way.