Monday, September 3, 2012

The Triumphs of Orson Welles

Here's a link to a fun post by Edward Benjamin called 10 Triumphs Of Orson Welles. It trumpets one of my favorite causes--the fight against the idea that Welles was some kind of one-trick pony (that pony's name being Charles Foster Kane). I've been over this ground a lot in this space, so I won't re-preach that particular gospel again, but I would like to add five favorite Welles projects to the list of his accomplishments.

 1. THE TRIAL- Welles does Kafka. The results are a hypnotic (and subtly hilarious) artistic fusion. I can't stress enough how much I love this movie.

2. F FOR FAKE- Welles reinvents the documentary as a surrealist essay on art and expertise. A bizarre film, wholly unlike anything else you've ever seen.

3. TOUCH OF EVIL His pulp masterpiece. Classic American noir never got this insane again (for that, you have to go to Japan).

4. THIS IS ORSON WELLES- His interview book with Peter Bogdanovich. Occasionally, people will ask me where they should start their reading about Welles. This book is a treasure, like sitting with the man himself while he sips wine and tells stories.

5. The closing argument in COMPULSION- Welles wasn't really needed in Richard Fleischer's haunting film treatment of the Leopold and Loeb murder case--the murderers themselves are the real show--but he's brought in halfway through as their defense attorney because someone felt the movie needed a protagonist who isn't a child-killing sociopath.  Nevertheless, Welles is absolutely mesmerizing in his final speech, a testament to what an effective screen presence he could be.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Hell, Welles manages to be compulsively watchable in even the likes of CASINO ROYALE...and he nudged the third segment of THREE CASES OF MURDER over from quite good to memorable.