The Pacific Film Archive presents THE UNKNOWN ORSON WELLES: Jan 17 & 18
This weekend, the Pacific Film Archive will be hosting Stefan Drosseler of the Munich Film Museum, who will be presenting two shows of his rare UNKNOWN ORSON WELLES material.
Needless to say, this will be a long overdue program to arrive in the Bay area, for which film fans and Welles scholars can give thanks to PFA curator Susan Oxtoby.
Full details at the PFA website
Short article in the SF Bay Guardian
A restoration is never finished, because it’s always possible that you’ll have a new discovery, get new ideas, or get knowledge that changes something you’ve already done. In the case of Orson Welles, there is always the chance that even more material will surface. For example, the first version we did of Moby Dick was a little bit different. We eventually changed some of the titles, and we cut it down a bit. We didn’t cut any shots, but we made each take a little bit shorter, cutting away some frames. In studying Orson Welles’s editing style, we found that he always took the shortest possibility. In the beginning, we had a lot of respect for the original material, and we even wanted to keep all the clapboards in the film, but it destroyed the atmosphere. I think the version we have now of Moby Dick works quite well. The response at the screenings has been very good
Notes on some of the excerpts to be shown:
THE DREAMERS (1982) Directed by Orson Welles. Screenplay by Orson Welles and Oja Kodar, based on The Dreamers and Echoes by Isak Dinesen. Cinematography (in color) by Gary Graver. Music by Erik Satie.
Cast: Orson Welles as Marcus Kleek
Oja Kodar as Pellegrina Leoni
While no other actors were officially cast, Welles was hoping to obtain the services of the following actors: Timothy Dalton as Lincoln Forsner; Oliver Reed as Guildenstern; Bud Cort as Pilot; Peter Ustinov as Baron Clootz and Jeanne Moreau as the notorious Donna Lucetta Boscari, "expert in poisons and aphrodisiacs, and procuress to the high clergy."
Welles wrote the screenplay for this film in 1978 and began shooting short "test footage" of the picture in the garden and interior of his house in the Hollywood Hills to stand-in for scenes in the script set in Pellegrina's Villa in Milan, Italy.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (1969) Written and Directed by Orson Welles. Based on the play by William Shakespeare. Cinematography by Giorgio Tonti, Ivica Rajkovic & Tomislav Pinter (in Color). Editing by Fritz Muller & Mauro Bonanni.
Cast: Orson Welles (Shylock), Charles Gray (Antonio), Irina Maleva (Jessica).
Welles began this adaptation of Shakepeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE intending it to be a full length version, which like OTHELLO before it, was shot in broken intervals where ever Welles happened to be at the time, in this case mostly in Trogir, Yugoslavia, as well as in Venice and Asolo, Italy. Finally, because of problems with money and obtaining filming permits in Venice, Welles decided to make an abridged version (running about 40 minutes), by eliminating many of the major roles, including Portia (who originally was going to be played by Oja Kodar). The negative was long presumed lost, and a major portion of the soundtrack was stolen from the trunk of Welles car while he was living outside of Rome.
THE DEEP (DEAD RECKONING) Written and Directed by Orson Welles. Based in the novel "Dead Calm" by Charles Williams. Cinematography by Willy Kurant and Ivica Rajkolvic (in Color).
Cast: Lawrence Harvey (Hughie Warriner); Jeanne Moreau (Ruth Warriner); Orson Welles (Russ Brewer); Oja Kodar (Rae Ingram); Michael Bryant (John Ingram).
This thriller was filmed off the Dalmatian coast of Yugoslavia on two separate yachts, between 1966 and 1969 and was very close to being completed. However, Welles reportedly needed to shoot a spectacular explosion on a becalmed yacht to finish the film, and as time went by, he appears to have lost interest in the film, since he never post-synced much of Jeanne Moreau's dialogue. At a press conference at the 2000 Berlin Festival, Moreau commented on "The Deep," saying "it was a fantastic experience working with Welles. My relationship with Orson was, as usual, incredible. The only disastrous thing was that later on, the film disappeared." According to Moreau, Welles would also sometimes disappear when he was having problems financing the movie. "He was very fragile and could be self-destructive," said Moreau. "One time there was no news of where Orson was, and I was staying on the fifth floor of our hotel. Above me, was a huge suite where Orson stayed. While I was sitting out on the terrace watching the view, I could see big lumps of cigar ash falling down, so I knew he was up there smoking away."
In 1973 Laurence Harvey died, making the films completion even more problematic. Later the film negative was lost, leaving only two work print copies, one in color, the other in black-and-white. These two work prints provided the basis for the present version of the film, partially restored by the Munich Film Museum. In some sequences there are missing shots and in others camera noise can be heard on the soundtrack. Welles has also occasionally dubbed in both Laurence Harvey and Michael Bryant voices on the soundtrack.
ORSON'S BAG A series of short humorous episodes made for Television (CBS or the BBC), between 1968 and 1970, but never broadcast. All were written and directed by Orson Welles.
THE ONE MAN BAND /
Orson Welles as a one man band, a police bobby, a Cockney flower girl, a Chinese stripe club owner and a British housewife. With Tim Brooke-Taylor as the reporter.
TAILOR SHOP Orson Welles gets a fitting from two haughty British tailor's played by Charles Gray (Mr. Mappleton) and Jonathan Lind (Mr. Johnston).
LORD OF THE MANOR/STATELY HOMES Orson Welles as a reporter who interviews Lord Plumfield (also played by Welles), at his ancestral home outside of London.
CHURCHILL Orson Welles plays Winston Churchill in silhouette.
Welles would have combined these skits (all set in London), by introducing the various episodes playing a BBC-like television reporter (in a trench coat and beard), and on occasion interviewing the characters in the actual skit, such as he does with Lord Plumfield in the Stately Homes episode. In the Swinging London segment, Tim Brooke-Taylor takes on the reporter's role, observing life on Carnaby Street, with Welles playing all the different characters heavy disguised.