Privacy! You cannot... destroy... my PRIVACYYYY!!
June 11, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

"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. (part 2)

The show was Orson Welles' Sketchbook, a 1955 television series on the BBC. Each 15 minute episode consisted simply of Welles, alone in front of the camera, waxing philosophical (and sometimes poetic) about a particular topic, occasionally illustrated with a selection of his own hand-drawn sketches.

The first five episodes are available on YouTube:
Episode 1 - The Early Years (1, 2)
Episode 2 - Critics (1, 2)
Episode 3 - The War of the Worlds (1, 2)
Episode 4 - The Police (linked in post)
Episode 5 - Houdini/John Barrymore/Voodoo Story/The People I Missed (1, 2)

posted by Atom Eyes (14 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, the French.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I can't favorite this hard enough.
posted by basicchannel at 11:17 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ditto. Thanks, Atom Eyes.
posted by brundlefly at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2010

Also: The CLASSIC "I've got an atom bomb in my briefcase that I intend to use to blow up La Scala" bon mot! A classic bit that cops love!
posted by basicchannel at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2010

To counter Astro Zombies' link, here's Welles' profound rumination on Chartres from F For Fake.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:27 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

Is there an actual recording of Welles reading the phonebook and where can I hear it?
posted by Skygazer at 11:28 AM on June 11, 2010

To counter Astro Zombies' link, here's Welles' profound rumination on Chartres from F For Fake.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:27 AM on June 11 [1 favorite -] [!]

To be fair, that whole movie could counter AZ's link*.

*In that we love to mock Welles buffoonery, but he was (of course) truly great.
posted by basicchannel at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2010

My respect for Welles just quadrupled. Wonder what he'd say about the intrusiveness of the state in this century.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:32 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

The guy more than enough to justify his existence to me, personally. If you want to get into lost opportunities, or wallowing in his own life, then ... you first.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:17 PM on June 11, 2010

I can't stop hearing Orson and seeing The Brain speaking his words.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:43 PM on June 11, 2010

"Now I'm no anarchist...."

posted by cthuljew at 9:45 PM on June 11, 2010

I believe that during the period when these were made, or possibly shortly afterwards, my mother was working for Orson Welles as his PA.

I have no information beyond that because my mother is a complicated person who holds her cards very close to her chest. I only found out about it a couple of years ago, during a conversation in which I tried to ascertain once and for all whether she'd known a particular post-war British composer. ("So did you ever actually meet Benjamin Britten, mum?" "Ah..." (short pause), "dear Ben.")
posted by Hogshead at 5:02 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Cool. Probably knew Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger too?
posted by Skygazer at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2010

Oh, I wish she'd met Powell and Pressburger, but no. But she did also work for Douglas Fairbanks Jr, and at Windsor Castle. And she's got a little brooch that Rostropovich gave her after he co-opted her front room to rehearse in.

She has diaries covering this period of her life. I only learned that a few months ago. I may have to steal them to make sure she doesn't burn them.
posted by Hogshead at 6:36 AM on June 14, 2010

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