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Favourite Orson Welles Film

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Favourite Orson Welles Film

Old 06-24-04, 02:00 PM
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Favourite Orson Welles Film

The American Film Institute here in DC/Maryland is doing a Orson Welles retrospect, and I (believe it or not) haven't seen any of his films. I caught 'The Third Man' last night and plan on seeing his other films in the showcase, but was wondering what are his essential films (if not all), and importantly what are your personal favourties films of his?

The series includes:

Orson Welles

THE THIRD MAN
THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI
OTHELLO
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS
TOUCH OF EVIL
MACBETH
THE IMMORTAL STORY
THE STRANGER
F FOR FAKE
MR ARKADIN
THE TRIAL [LE PROCES]
CITIZEN KANE
JOURNEY INTO FEAR
Old 06-24-04, 02:10 PM
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What? they aren't screening The Muppet Movie?

Seriously, my faves are:

1) CITIZEN KANE
2) TOUCH OF EVIL
3) THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS
4) THE THIRD MAN
Old 06-24-04, 02:14 PM
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Yeah, the Music Box here has a similar thing going on with their weekend matinee series. I caught The Magnificent Ambersons last weekend. Definitely see that, even though the authorship of parts is murky the film is still extraordinary.

The Lady from Shanghai is a hoot.

And The Third Man is a Carol Reed film starring Orson Welles . . . (but you knew that already . . . right?)
Old 06-24-04, 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by sundog


And The Third Man is a Carol Reed film starring Orson Welles . . . (but you knew that already . . . right?)
yeah I guess my saving grace here is that I didn't denote 'directed by' versus 'starring'...
Old 06-24-04, 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by Talkin2Phil
What? they aren't screening The Muppet Movie?

they already screened that a few months back (seriousily, as part of a Jim Henson retrospect)
Old 06-24-04, 02:21 PM
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Figured that . . . just want to make sure others know the case.

Also, I remember enjoying The Trial more than Kane, but it's been so long I may just be fondly remembering it. Regardless, its still a fine movie. Perkins is great.
Old 06-24-04, 02:25 PM
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Just checked the Music Box listings, and they're even showing Jane Eyre another one "just" starring Welles. Watched this on TCM years ago and in the intro to the film they made a case that Welles may have had influence on some of the more baroque shots. I may check it out to revisit that aspect.
Old 06-24-04, 02:29 PM
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Until just recently, I admit I hadn't seen an Orson Welles movie either. But then I rented Citizen Kane . . . while I must admit that I did enjoy it and place it as one of my favorites, I must ask "Why is it considered the greatest movie of all time?"

I then checked out "Touch of Evil" and found it entertaining, but didn't feel it was very effective.
Old 06-24-04, 02:30 PM
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Also, for any Welles fans there's a restoration underway for his Chimes at Midnight (1965). Unfortunately I had to pass up a work print screening. So that's on the horizon.
Old 06-24-04, 02:31 PM
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You're in for some fun.

See as many as you can, the guy was a genius. My short list would be:

The Stranger -one of my favorite films
Citizen Kane - nuff said
Lady from Shanghai - Good film noir
Touch of Evil - another classic
------------

Some other comments

Othello - I love this film. It barely missed the cut above
The Trial - Good but it physically nauseated me (very Kafkaesque)
Mr. Arkadin - was pretty incoherent and bored me
Macbeth - extremely low budget and tough for me to get through

I haven't seen the others. I've seen clips of F for Fake and it looked like bad 70's stuff to me but I don't know for sure.
Old 06-24-04, 02:42 PM
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I'm definitely going to see the The Stranger. All the reviews of the recent Young Adam mention the Welles film as a major influence.
Old 06-24-04, 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by sundog
I'm definitely going to see the The Stranger. All the reviews of the recent Young Adam mention the Welles film as a major influence.
really? I didn't know that, well now that springs my interest in checking 'The Stranger' out then as well.
Old 06-24-04, 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by chente
You're in for some fun.

See as many as you can, the guy was a genius.
between this series and the upcoming Ingmar Bergman retrospect I'm going to practically living at the Silver Theatre.
Old 06-24-04, 03:01 PM
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The Magnificent Ambersons, but I've only seen it once so it's possible my opinion will change when it finally gets a new release.

Citizen Kane didn't really live up to the hype for me, but what movie could?
Old 06-24-04, 03:44 PM
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Old 06-24-04, 04:01 PM
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The Magnificent Ambersons is a strange film. It was apparently cut all to hell by the studio before being released because a test audience in Pomona, CA was lukewarm about it. The movie is very disjointed but what is there is excellent. I understand that the cut footage was destroyed by the studio so it doesn't look like we'll ever see the original uncut version.
Old 06-24-04, 06:15 PM
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Originally posted by sundog
Also, for any Welles fans there's a restoration underway for his Chimes at Midnight (1965). Unfortunately I had to pass up a work print screening. So that's on the horizon.
Awesome! I've been waiting my whole adult life to see this film.
Old 06-24-04, 06:17 PM
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Originally posted by sundog
Just checked the Music Box listings, and they're even showing Jane Eyre another one "just" starring Welles. Watched this on TCM years ago and in the intro to the film they made a case that Welles may have had influence on some of the more baroque shots. I may check it out to revisit that aspect.
Welles is suspected to have played substantial behind-the-camera roles in The Third Man and Journey Into Fear as well.

Last edited by Numanoid; 06-24-04 at 06:29 PM.
Old 06-25-04, 06:21 AM
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Don't have a favorite, really. I like Kane, Ambersons, and Touch of Evil a lot. I've never seen Chimes At Midnight.
Old 06-25-04, 08:42 AM
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My top 3:

1) Citizen Kane
2) Touch of Evil
3) The Third Man
Old 06-25-04, 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
lol

that's funny.

I've always wondered how they got him to do it. Maybe because he never played a giant planet eating planet that transforms into a (much) smaller giant robot, and just wanted to for the experience.
Old 06-25-04, 11:40 AM
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Originally posted by tanman
I've always wondered how they got him to do it. Maybe because he never played a giant planet eating planet that transforms into a (much) smaller giant robot, and just wanted to for the experience.
Welles had little discretion when it came to selling his services. He would famously whore himself out for just about any production, regardless of quality. It was his means of acquiring the funds to produce his own works, which he obviously held to much higher standards.
Old 06-25-04, 04:19 PM
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Chimes At Midnight is my favorite Welles film.

It ain't Citizen Kane, brother, and thank God. This is quite possibly the only decent adaptation of Shakespeare to cinema. Typically, you find two methods of delivery in films based on the work of Bill: super loud and bombastic with those moments of quiet introspective lulls OR inept discomfort.

The first is pretty much a direct translation of how Shakespeare is traditionally performed in the theater. It works well in the theater, and it's at least watchable on screen, but you never escape that feeling of watching a filmed play. Any of the Oliver adaptations are pretty good examples of this, no matter how much anyone wants to call them CLASSICS. Brannagh, too. The second is fairly self-evident; go see ROMEO + JULIET, a film which fails not for its silly translation into the modern world and it's so-called MTV style, but rather the inability of its actors to say any of the lines without stumbling.

Welles somehow managed to escape from these two paradigms when he made Chimes at Midnight. Everyone in the film speaks the dialogue as if they grew up hearing it and speaking it. The level to which this enhances the film is basically unexpressable without seeing it.

Other than the delivery of dialogue, there's a lot to be said for this film, but I'm not going to say it here. Oh, I will note that for all of you who thought the battle scenes from Braveheart were something special-- they're cribbed directly from this movie. Well, everything except the SLOW MOTION.
Old 06-25-04, 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Giles
yeah I guess my saving grace here is that I didn't denote 'directed by' versus 'starring'...
Um... Welles doesn't "star" in The Third Man at all either. That would be Joseph Cotton. Welles is in it for all of 5 minutes. I wouldn't call that a starring role.
Old 06-26-04, 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by sundog
Also, for any Welles fans there's a restoration underway for his Chimes at Midnight (1965).
That is the best news I've heard all year. For those who've seen Chimes at Midnight, did you also see Gus Van Sant's part re-hashing of it in My Own Private Idaho? Worth a look for Chimes fans.

My current favorite Welles films (the order changes every now and then):

1 - Magnificent Ambersons (I drool at the thought of what Welles' original vision of this COULD have been)
2 - The Third Man (So not technically a Welles film, but still has Orson written all over it. And that infectious theme!)
3 - Touch of Evil (The opening scene is cinematic perfection)
4 - Citizen Kane (I've seen it countless times, and I still get shivers at the end)
5 - Chimes at Midnight (Of all Welles' films, this one elicits the strongest emotional reaction from me)

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