Making Movies with Orson Welles: a poem by Gary Graver
I just recently received a copy of a poem Gary Graver wrote that was printed for his memorial service.
Unfortunately, there wasn't time to include it in Gary's memoir, Making Movies With Orson Welles, so I thought I would reproduce it here.
I'll also add this thought, since I've now had the opportunity to see a rough cut of The Other Side of the Wind:
I've no doubt Gary might easily have been nominated for an Academy Award if the film had been released in 1975, or maybe he could still be, if the film were to be released in say, 2012.
One scene that stands out in my mind: a beautiful series of panning telephoto shots of Bob Random, as he is walking through various different locations on the back lot at MGM, including what appears to be a field of tall grass. Welles cuts on these panning shots about five times, so the effect is almost as if the camera move is one continuous pan, except each time he cuts, the background changes, as Random moves from left to right across the screen (think of the similar cutting Alain Resnais did in La Guerre Est Finie)
It's also one of the few scenes in the rough cut that had a temp. music track, in this case a nice piece of Spanish guitar (if I recall correctly), which adds immeasurably to the poetic effect of the scene.
Needless to say, as shot by Gary Graver, the sequence is only one of many that looks quite beautiful in what is clearly Gary's masterpiece of cinematography. No wonder Welles called Gary "Rembrandt."
And the hand scooped up a fist full of dirt
And this was life and it fell back through fingers
Earth to earth
And a foot stepped on it
And this was still life.
From the womb to the grave from lip to lip
From night to night from the touch of fingertip to fingertip
And this was beauty,
The beauty of your loved one's hair
And fresh face caught aglow in an anxious wind,
And the morning frost and smell of dew
And a fallen lonely flower petal and the smile of love
And the strength of the gift of young ambition and heroism
And from the blue crib to the naked grave
This was life
In Celebration of the life of Gary Graver
July 20, 1938 - November 16, 2006