What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?
A Portrait of an Independent Career
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Introduction: "The High Priest of the Cinema"
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When I was twenty-three and ﬁnishing my ﬁrst book on Orson Welles, I had the good fortune not only of meeting the legendary and elusive ﬁlm-maker but also, even more improbably, becoming a character in an Orson My fascination with Welles had begun four years earlier when I saw Citizen Kane in a ﬁlm class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It ...
1. "God, How They'll Love Me When I'm Dead!"
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“God, how they’ll love me when I’m dead!” Welles was fond of saying in his later years, with a mixture of bitterness and ironic detachment. But that’s a half-truth at best. More than two decades after Welles’s death, his career is, in a very real sense, ...
2. "Committing Masterpieces"
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In F for Fake, Welles wryly tells the story of a ﬁctitious painter of fake Picassos. Challenged by Picasso about his transgression, the painter asks what is his crime, “Committing masterpieces?” It’s hard not to regard this mot as a commentary by Welles on his own checkered career in the Hollywood marketplace. During the early 1940s, he gave RKO two of ...
3. Orson Welles at Large
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With his directing career in ruins, Welles, still only twenty-seven in 1942, probably thought more seriously about the possibility of quitting moviemaking than at any other time in his life. It seemed the decision was being made for him. He was ...
4. "Twilight in the Smog"
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On July 4, 1970, the young cinematographer Gary Graver, who had been working on low-budget exploitation movies, read a brief item that had appeared two days earlier in Army Archerd’s Daily Variety gossip column: “Orson Welles, looking ...
5. "Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Store"
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Looking back over Welles’s career, his longtime associate Richard Wilson remembered the mood that prevailed when shooting began on It’s All True in the early 1940s: “All the struggles and the frustrations and missed opportunities that we associate with Orson now—none of that had happened yet. And nobody...
6. "No Wine Before Its Time"
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Welles would became impatient in later years when people tried to take him on what he called a “stroll down memory lane,” with its implication that his past was far more glorious than his present. When the respectful young director Rob Reiner tried to quiz him ...
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My foremost thanks are due to Gary Graver, Welles’s cinematographer and right-hand man for the last ﬁfteen years of the director’s life, a good friend of mine these many years and a bounteous supporter of my re-search into his and Welles’s work together. Gary’s wife and partner in the Orson Welles Archive, Jillian Kesner, also provided unstinting help with ...
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2006