Return to Glennascaul (1951): Director: Hilton Edwards; 23 minutes. Made during a break in the shooting of Othello, this short film, which was nominated for an Academy Award, was largely unseen for more than 40 years before being acquired form Edwards' estate. It looks at times like Welles had some involvement with the direction, but is credited only with introducing the film. Available on video as Orson Welles' Ghost Story from MPI Home Video with an intro by Peter Bogdanovich, and as an extra on the Criterion Collection's Othello laserdisc set.
Trent's Last Case (1952) : Director: Herbert Wilcox; Starring: Margarte Lockwood, Michael Wilding. 90 minutes Another role taken for the cash, Welles looks awful, judging from the stills, in ridiculous makeup, and the film is basically forgotten. Based on a mystery novel about a murdered husband (Welles) with a shocking twist at the end. Not available on video, to the best of my knowledge.
Man, Beast and Virtue: (1953): Director: Stefano Vanzina. Welles appears in a bit role as the Beast (left) in this adaptation of a Pirandello play. I would imagine this is more or less a lost film.
Si Versailles M'Etait Conte (also known as Royal Affairs of Versailles) (1954): Directed by Sacha Guitry; Starring: Jean Marais, Edith Piaf, Claudette Colbert. 152 minutes. Welles appears as Ben Franklin in this telling of the history of France. A bit role again, done mainly as a favor to Guitry, who was good friends with Welles. Another film that never seems to surface. Released on video at some point, but probably not available any longer.
Napoleon (1954): Director: Sacha Guitry; Starring: Sacha Guitry, Jean Gabin, Raymond Pellegrin, Erich von Stroheim. 190 minutes. Another gigantic Guitry production, looking at the life of everyone's favorite French megalomaniac. Welles appears as Hudson-Lowe. Like Versailles, never surfaces on video or cable.
Three Cases of Murder (1954): Directed by George More O'Farrell; Starring: Alan Badel, Andre Morell, Helen Cherry. Based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham. 30 minutes. 99 minutes total. This film is actually three short films, with the last Lord Montdrago, starring Welles (left). The films have a Twilight Zone feel to them, with their blend of humor, fantasy, and twist endings, but without the occasional preachiness that marred the famous TV show. Welles stars at the title character, the British Foreign Secretary who ruins the career of a young MP, who then swears revenge and takes it. Montdrago begins to have bizarre dreams one of which, featuring Welles singing "A Bicycle Built For Two" in the House of Commons, is priceless. All three shorts are well done, but this one is the best of the three. Available on video from Home Vision, and laserdisc from Criterion (CC1413L)
Trouble in the Glen (1954): Director: Herbert Wilcox; Starring: Forrest Tucker, Margaret Lockwood, Victor McLaglen. 91 minutes. Do you want to see Welles in a kilt? You will if you see this dreary piece of work, Welles as an Argentinian (?) living in Scotland (??!!). Ridiculous stuff, and not really worth the time it took you to read this.
Moby Dick (1956): Director: John Huston; Starring: Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart. Music by Phillp Stainton. 116 minutes. Welles plays the role of Father Mapple in Huston's big budget version of the great novel. Welles' appears to give just one speech, but it's a great one. The film is good as well. Available on video and DVD, and the score was re-recorded for the Marco Polo label.
Man in the Shadow(1957): Director: Jack Arnold; Starring: Jeff Chandler. 80 minutes. Welles plays the owner of ranch where a Mexican farmhand has been killed. Chandler's character suspects murder. Bad things ensue. Shows up on cable, and also available on video from Universal.
The Long Hot Summer (1958): Director:Martin Ritt; Starring: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick, Anthony Franciosa. Music by Alex North. 118 minutes. Based on material of William Faulkner, this film features Welles chewing the scenery as Will Varner, a local land owner who finds his loser son has rented land to Ben Quick (Newman), who has a reputation for trouble. Quick eventually wins over Varner, and father and son are reunited. Not a great film, but an entertaining one. Available on video and on cable often.
The Roots of Heaven (1958): Director: John Huston; Starring: Trevor Howard, Eddie Albert, Herbert Lom, Juliette Greco, Errol Flynn. Music by Malcolm Arnold. 125 minutes. Welles plays a broadcaster who gets shot in the ass during an elephant hunt. Trevor Howard plays a conservationist trying to stop the slaughter of elephants, encountering all sorts of opposition.
Austerlitz (1959): Director: Abel Gance; Starring: Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale, Leslie Caron, Rossano Brazzi, Vittorio de Sica, Jean-Louis Trintignant. 166 minutes in original version, later cut to 123 minutes. Another telling of the Napoleon story, this time directed by Gance, whose previous film version stands as a classic of the cinema. Another epic as well, with Welles as Fulton.
Compulsion (1959): Director: Richard Fleischer; Starring: Dean Stockwell, E.G. Marshall, Bradford Dillman. 103 minutes. A fictionalized account of the Leopold-Loeb killing, this film provides a solid entertainment and is well worth the time. Welles is in fine form as Clarence Darrow-like lawyer Jonathan Wilk, brought in to defend the murderers. Welles' speech begging for leniency is rightfully praised as one of his better acting moments. Available on video and shown frequently on AMC.
Ferry to Hong Kong (1959): Director: Lewis Gilbert; Starring: Welles, Curt Jurgens, Sylvia Syms. 113 minutes. This film, either a boring action film or an unfunny comedy depending on hWelles you view it, is the tale of a bum (Jurgens) kicked out of Hong Kong to be deported to Macao, on a ferry run by the imperious and overbearing Brit Captain Hart (Welles), who takes an immediate dislike to the scraggly Jurgens. Upon reaching Macao, the officials there refuse Jurgens, forcing him into the bizarre catch-22 situation of being kicked out of the only countries he has access to. This of course infuriates Hart, and all sorts of "amusing" insults follow. A disaster at sea changes everything however, and all ends happily, while the same cannot be said for our viewing experience. Avoid, unless, like me, you have a morbid interest in seeing mediocre films that happen to star Welles. Dreary from start to finish, but available on video.
David and Goliath (1959): Directors: Richard Pottier and Ferdinando Baldi; 94 minutes. A nameless Italian cast features Welles as its one star in this biblical epic on the cheap. Welles plays King Saul. Welles directed his own scenes, so this has some interest for fans. This rarely sees the light of day, and probably with good reason. It is on DVD in a cheapo version, however.
Crack in the Mirror (1960): Director: Richard Fleischer; Starring: Juliette Greco, Bradford Dillman. Music by Maurice Jarre. 97 minutes. Welles plays a man murdered by his mistress and the man she really loves. Welles also plays the lawyer hired for their defense, with a mistress who loves another man. These roles are played by Greco and Dillman, who also play the murderers. Mirror roles, get it?
The Tartars (1960): Director: Richard Thorpe; Starring: Victor Mature. 105 minutes. Welles plays Burundai, brother of the leader of the Tartars, who takes over when his brother is killed. Burundai swears revenge on Victor Mature, as most right-thinking people would. To be honest, Mature didn't join up with the Tartars when asked, so that's why Burundai swears revenge. It looks decently lavish from the stills, but the thought of Welles and Victor Mature together makes this one mus see viewing, if only for the cheese factor involved. Not available on video, but it does pop up on Turner Classic Movies every so often.
Lafayette (1960): Director: Jean Dreville; Starring: Jack Hawkins, Vittorio de Sica. 158 minutes, cut to 110 minutes for US release. Tepidly received version of Revolutionary War hero's life story. Welles again appears Ben Franklin. Was released on video, but likely unavailable nWelles.
The V.I.P.s (1960): Director: Anthony Asquith; Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Maggie Smith, Margaret Rutherford, Louis Jourdan, Rod Taylor. Music by Miklos Rozsa. 119 minutes. A lot of rich people mull their problems in a fogged-in London Airport. Welles plays a film director, of all things. Basically a variant on the Grand Hotel type of story. It's okay, but nothing special. Available on video.