"I don't think there's one word that can describe a mans life." - Charles Foster Kane in "Citizen Kane" (1941)
"We're not filmmakers, you know? We're just a ragtag bunch of people doing something that is technologically already almost passé. You know, that's a great problem with movies, that they're always old-fashioned. It takes too long to make a movie. By the time your idea's on the screen, it's already dead." - Orson Welles in "Someone to Love" (1987), his final film role.
Tonight, Monday September 30th at 10:15 Central time, Turner Classic Movies presents "Citizen Kane," widely regarded as the greatest movie ever made. "Kane" made Welles some powerful enemies, and led to a swift downfall. The remainder of his film career was spent taking paycheck roles and chasing investors to finance his films.
Wednesday night October 2nd at 7:30 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse Ritz will screen Welles' 1973 "F for Fake," the multi-hyphenate's final finished film. According to the Alamo Blog, "It's easy to think that Orson Welles peaked young with 'Citizen Kane' and never made anything quite that good ever again. But it's not true. 'F for Fake' really is just that good. In it, self-described charlatan and amateur magician Welles gleefully explores the tenuous line between truth and lies, art and illusion, essentially inventing a new genre of filmmaking in the process...This is a movie to make you fall completely in love with the idea of movies - their inherent unreality, their amazing ability to sneak up on you and suddenly hit you with somthing deeply and profoundly true. It's about truth and beauty and all the things in the universe that really matter. It's formally dizzying, originating a huge number of new stylistic techniques that have become standards of avant-garde methods. It's also about just how great it is to spend time listening to Orson Welles tell stories. What a man! There's so much to enjoy just in the way he expresses himself. He's a true performer and his love of stories and lies and fakes and cons is electric...Welles turns the movie itself into an elaborate illusion that speaks to Picasso's famous saying: 'Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.'"
The following list, the Austin Classic Movies Examiner's Top Ten Orson Welles Films, focuses on his directorial efforts, along with some of his best performances as an actor-for-hire.
- "Citizen Kane"
- "Touch of Evil"
- "The Magnificent Ambersons"
- "Chimes at Midnight" and "Macbeth" (Honorable Mention: "Othello")
- "The Lady from Shanghai"
- "F is for Fake"
- "The Trial"
- "The Third Man"
- "A Man for All Seasons" and "I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname"
- "The Stranger"