Comments from a Orson Welles Cineaste in New Zealand
While Orson Welles spent time all over the world, and in at least five of the seven continents, I'm not quite sure if he ever made it to New Zealand or Australia.
However, I find it rather amazing that today, due to the internet, we can get input from people down under, just as easily as from a neighbor next door.
A perfect example of this is this interesting blog I just stumbled across from Christopher Banks, in New Zealand, who, like the Kiwi director Peter Jackson, obviously loves the work of Orson Welles.
The link to his site is here, which gives you an additional links to a very interesting article by Jonathan McCalmont, comparing TOUCH OF EVIL to CITIZEN KANE, complete with clips from YOU TUBE.
Here is the text of Christopher Banks recent post from his blog down under:
Jonathan McCalmont has done an interesting post comparing elements of “Citizen Kane” and “Touch of Evil”. Some great insights into how the Wellesian style permeates two very different films, with particular regard to his clever use of sound.
(He also references the not-so-famed opening sequence of “Contact”, a film I’m also very fond of. What has happened to Robert Zemeckis these days?)
The combination of Welles’ backgrounds in radio and theatre - both very immediate media - made for some very exciting and dynamic films in “Citizen Kane” and also in the butchered masterpiece “The Magnificent Ambersons” as he brought the tricks of his earlier trades along with him to the cinema.
I can’t think of a better illustration of his passion for every frame of celluloid he exposed than his 58-page memo to Universal upon seeing what they’d done to the original release version of “Touch of Evil”. Without it, we would never have the restored version we have today.
The last holy grail from the Welles vault is his last narrative feature, “The Other Side Of The Wind”. Shot but never edited, it’s been stuck in various vaults for years while estate lawyers get their act together.
Given what is known about Welles’ frenetic and fast-paced intentions for the editing style, it will be a vast departure from his earlier work. Had it been released in 1972, it could well have been as ahead of its time as “Citizen Kane” was in 1941.