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Now, Light Our Darkest Hour

As the hype builds for Michael Bay's latest assault on the eyes and eardrums: Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, let's take a walk down memory lane to happier times: Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 5, 2014 - 57 comments

Where is Parsifal? Misplaced film from BFI's 75 Most Wanted

In 1983, the film Where is Parsifal? was screened at Cannes and then it disappeared, more or less. BFI included it on their list of 75 most wanted films. The Telegraph summarized the "lost" title as "a farce loosely based on Molière’s Tartuffe, whose turbocharged cast includes Tony Curtis, Orson Welles and Donald Pleasence," but BFI noted that "the reviews were generally dreadful." In reality, the film wasn't so much lost as it was misplaced and/or over-looked. It has been available in Australia on VHS, and director Henri Helman kindly donated his personal 35mm print, with French subtitles, to be preserved in the BFI archive. But perhaps more interesting than the "lost" status of the movie is the people involved in its creation. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 2, 2013 - 3 comments

"I wish you could have seen TOO MUCH JOHNSON..."

A lost film by Orson Welles, originally produced to accompany a 1938 stage production of the 1894 William Gillette play "Too Much Johnson" (text) 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]
posted by orthicon halo on Aug 7, 2013 - 21 comments

The line between science fiction and true science is often thin

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 18, 2013 - 12 comments

This post is just in time for the annual spaghetti harvest.

In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 20, 2012 - 22 comments

"Mom.. this is Welles. I... I want you to know I'm OK."

The Man in The Red Bandana, a short video from ESPN about one of the 911 heroes.
posted by lobstah on Sep 6, 2011 - 13 comments

Restoring Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil"

As time has gone by, though, Touch of Evil has acquired a large cult following, and it now regularly appears on lists of the best films of the century. What is not generally known is that the film never accurately reflected Welles's intentions for it. In July 1957, the studio took over the editing of the film and prevented him from participating in its completion. In an odd turn of events, however, a 58-page memo that Welles wrote in 1957 was recently rediscovered, and a small team on which I was film editor and sound mixer has used that remarkable document to bring Touch of Evil as close as possible to Welles's original concept. - Walter Murch, 1998
posted by Trurl on Jun 14, 2011 - 37 comments

"If cinema is sometimes dreamlike, then every edit is an awakening." -Roger Ebert

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 28, 2010 - 74 comments

War of the Worlds and the Power of Mass Media

WNYC's Radiolab took a look into Orson Welles' 1938 radio production 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.)
posted by ichthuz on Nov 30, 2009 - 22 comments

Orson Welles's radio War of the Worlds recreated by the cast of Star Trek.

Orson Welles's radio War of the Worlds recreated by the casts of Star Trek.
posted by feelinglistless on Oct 30, 2009 - 23 comments

Master of the hoax finally goes straight.

Master of the hoax finally goes straight. Clifford Irving, author of the now infamous Autobiography of Howard Hughes, publishes his own autobiography, Phantom Rosebuds. Irving has already covered the story of that Hughes forgery pretty thoroughly in his earlier book, The Hoax, and Lasse Hallstrom retold the story in a film starring Richard Gere. Phantom Rosebuds though makes a case for the rest of Irving’s life - f for fake, the subsequent novels, the jail time and the dramatic consequences of the hoax which draw him into a world of espionage, renegade presidents, and rogue hitmen.
posted by blimp77 on Jul 11, 2008 - 5 comments

The Lost Films of Orson Welles

::Call me Ishmael::Don Quixote::A Lesson for all Actors::Father Mapple's Sermon::The Lost Films of Orson Welles:: [more inside]
posted by vronsky on Feb 14, 2008 - 23 comments

Your random audio links of the day.

Today's post of tenuously related audio brings you ten historic radio broadcasts, 529 eternal questions in popular music, and one mildly amusing black metal band prank call.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 29, 2007 - 11 comments

Orson Welles: The One Man Band

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 on Jul 13, 2007 - 18 comments

Orson Whales

Orson Whales, book/video/audio mash of the novel Moby Dick, Orson Welles from an Italian movie, Led Zeppelin and original artwork by Alex Itn. See also Ulysees.
posted by stbalbach on May 4, 2007 - 27 comments

War of the Welles: The Torturous Journey of The Other Side of the Wind to the Big Screen

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.)
posted by jonp72 on Apr 15, 2007 - 50 comments

bette, orson, charles and company

This evening, I entertained myself with these clips from YouTube and Google Video. Come inside if you like Bette Davis, Charles Laughton, Kubrick, Frankenstein, Shakespeare, and company...
posted by grumblebee on May 21, 2006 - 46 comments

Edison: 1, Mars: 0

Edison's Conquest of Mars! Garrett P. Serviss' unofficial, 1898 sequel to War of the Worlds, featuring Thomas Edison and Lord Kelvin as the heroes. It seems this book originated the space battle and the ray-gun, not to mention the aliens-built-the-pyramids plot. Sounds like a blast.
posted by brundlefly on Nov 17, 2005 - 20 comments

Do you hear it? It's a curious humming sound that seems to come from inside the object.

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of dance music to bring you a special bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News....
Today is the 65th anniversary of the famous Mercury Theatre presentation of War of the Worlds, as adapted for Radio by Orson Welles. The infamous broadcast (listen in Real Audio or RealAudio or TrueSpeech) caused no small amount of uneasyness, and even some outright panic as listeners, already unsettled by coverage of the impending war in Europe, were all to willing to believe that Martians had indeed landed in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The broadcast led to an FCC investigation and remains a touchstone in the evolution of the American media.
posted by anastasiav on Oct 30, 2003 - 15 comments

Magnificent Wellesian Flop to Be Remade as Mini-Series

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.
posted by tiaka on Jul 31, 2000 - 3 comments

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