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Orson Welles overrated or genius?

topic posted Sat, August 7, 2004 - 11:57 AM by  Phoenix_Rising
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I love Orson Welles' work; always show Citizen Kane to my film class. Found his MacBeth to be interesting and challenging. I really like Lady from Shanghai. Saw It's All True, but don't remember it too well. A Touch of Evil creeped me out but I haven't seen it in a long time. Haven't seen F is for Fake.

He's brilliant in the Third Man; even liked him in The Stranger.

Since you're a pretty lively group I wonder what do you think?
posted by:
Phoenix_Rising
Providence
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  • I love Orson myself. And his work is much more interesting to watch when you know his 'boy genius' biography and the story of his rise and fall in Hollywood. I recommend seeing F for Fake if you can find it (I found a VHS at Blockbuster of all places) - I really loved it and would put it near the top of the list in his ouvre.

    Also I love his The Trial from 1962 with Anthony Perkins. It very successfully captures the surreal tone of Kafka's writing, but in a subtle way that emphasizes character and story over style. Speaking of his post-Hollywood stuff, I had a chance to see a really crappy video copy of Chimes at Midnight (1965) and thought it was a very good movie, but I'm hoping a better version with be released some day on DVD.

    I vote genius. Sure, it's a pretty hard to stomach him in blackface in his otherwise excellent version of Othello, but everyone makes mistakes.
  • I've always been a big fan of Orson Welle's radio work, too. People sometimes forget that he was the original "Shadow" on radio (with Agnes Moorehead at his side!). Also, his work (again with Agnes!) with the Mercury Theatre was fantastic. Of course, "War of the Worlds" was something of a phenomenon, wasn't it! I also like the fact that the Mercury Theatre broadcasts can be found at book stores for very reasonable prices.
  • For anyone who has not seen it, I recommend Welles' Othello. I think it's one of the best Shakespeare film adaptations ever. Welles actually took some film roles(i.e. The Third Man) just to get the money to make it. It took three years to film and the majority of it was filmed in Italy.
    • I think my favorite Wells Shakespeare is "Chimes At Midnight". I have never before or since seen a more convincing period battle.
      • they were doing an Orson Welles marathon at the Castro theatre in SF last month...i got to see touch of evil and i really enjoyed it.

        i agree about the radio programs...the mercury theatre stuff is really amazing. when i lived in wisconsin i used to listen to a really good old time radio drama program on the radio, now it's online on sundays...

        www.wpr.org/otr/

        he keeps a schedule posted so you can find your favorites...

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