Awesome Welles

Three reasons why the man who Rita Hayworth left because she ‘couldn’t take his genius anymore’ is a good thing.

1. All the usual reasons that people cite.

Under here we can file Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Third Man, The War of the Worlds, Shakespeare, Jack White, Kafka and contraception.

2. F is for Fake

When a film takes magic, showmanship and theater (i.e. what preceded the cinema) as it topoi it often does so in a smug way, interpolating them in way that lets the cinema come out on top. For his 1972 film F is for Fake, our boy Orson, who had a background in all three, sets the proto-cinematic and the cinematic on an even plane.  Decades old staples of magic are aided throughout by cutting edge filmic wizardry. Its a an arthouse film but it’s not a ‘difficult’ film, as Welles guides us through a dense thematic mesh with the winking charm of the world’s coolest most urbane uncle.

3. Around the World with Orson Welles

Years before Palin bought his blow-up globe, Welles was swishing his cloak for the camera in St-Germain, Madrid, Chelsea, Vienna and the Basque country. I don’t think you can see the whole thing anywhere. The Forum des Images under Les Halles in Paris had a full version of the St-Germain episode and you can find various bits online. Apart from a few minutes when Welles wastes his immeasurably valuable time talking to some idiot american hippie, the whole of the Parisian episode is gold. He visits one of Boris Vian’s cellar clubs and holds forth on the value of train travel.

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