Friday, June 11, 2010

War of the Welles'

I'm working on reviews for films from the sublime to the ridiculous, so hope you don't mind if we schedule a "video-day" with one of my favorite directors, Orson Welles.

Welles was something of a renaissance man, and the way he raised money for his films was to act in other people's movies, do commercials, appear on TV shows, tour his magic act, or put on a show. Here's one of his fund-raising efforts, the short program "Orson Welles' Sketchbook" which aired on the BBC from May to July of 1955. At that time, Welles was working on "Confidential Report" (aka "Mr. Arkadin"), and he would create another series for "The Beeb" "Around the World with Orson Welles."

Here, Welles talks about "The Night That Panicked America"—the Hallowe'en broadcast of the Mercury Theater's adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," that, for its first portion, seems to be live coverage of an actual Martian invasion. Welles, was an extremely creative man, so you can count on him being creative with the story. But, it's an interesting story, writ large in the Welles manner, and has a punch-line that circles back to Welles, cagily inflating himself in an extremely self-deprecating manner.

The "posh" accent he affected, I'm sure, was for the benefit of the British audience. Always acting, was Orson.


Simon said...

Orson Welles rocked when he wasn't divaing the shit out of some poor assistant.


Yojimbo_5 said...

You and "Me and Orson Welles"...

That's the nice thing about movies. You don't get to see the crap the goes on behind the camera, or when it's off.