Category Archives: Orson Welles

DVD/Blu-Ray News #145: The Stranger (1946).

Directed by Orson Welles
Starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles

In a way, Orson Welles’ The Stranger (1946) is a better movie if you don’t know anything about it. Because if you come at it free of all the stuff film snobs turn their noses up at — Welles did it to prove he could make a “regular” Hollywood movie on time and on budget, his input into the script was limited, etc. — you’re treated to a very good noir-ish thriller filled with the touches that make Welles’ pictures so special.

Welles is a prep school teacher being pursued by a Nazi hunter (Edward G. Robinson). That’s about all you need to know other than that Russell Metty shot it, and he and Welles have a real field day. It’ll be great to see Metty’s gorgeous work, and the incredible sets by Perry Ferguson (who did Citizen Kane), in high definition when Olive Films’ Blu-Ray gets here.

It’s interesting to imagine what the movie would’ve been like if Welles had been allowed to cast Agnes Moorehead as the Nazi hunter!

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Olive Films, Orson Welles

Blu-Ray News #93: Compulsion (1959).

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Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring Orson Welles, Diane Varsi, Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman, E.G. Marshall, Martin Milner

Kino Lorber has announced a Blu-Ray release of Richard Fleischer’s Compulsion (1959), a fictionalized take on the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. Orson Welles shines in a picture filled with terrific performances. William C. Mellor’s black and white CinemaScope photography alone makes this Blu-Ray a real reason to celebrate. It’s coming in March.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Martin Milner, Orson Welles, Richard Fleischer

This Is Orson Welles’ 100th Birthday.

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George Orson Welles
(May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985)

The great Orson Welles was born on this day in 1915. Here he is working on his seedy masterpiece Touch Of Evil (1958).

With that film, and with Welles himself, Hollywood didn’t know what they had.

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Filed under 1958, Orson Welles

This Is Orson Welles… At The Grocery Store.

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Been re-reading (for maybe the tenth time) Peter Bogdanovich’s This Is Orson Welles. What a great book. I was looking up Welles’ quote on Tim Holt, and the next thing I knew, I’d started again at the beginning.

I love this photograph.

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Filed under Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich

Making Movies: Touch Of Evil (1958).

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Orson Welles’ Touch Of Evil (1958) is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. It’s highbrow and lowbrow at the same time, as Welles put his masterful cinematic stamp on a most lurid story. To me, it’s a true masterpiece, an incredible stylistic exercise, while a friend called it the skankiest movie they’d ever seen. Maybe we’re both right.

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Here’s Welles with cinematographer Russell Metty and Charlton Heston.

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Valentin De Vargas (back to camera) with Welles on the set. Though most of credits are in TV, De Vargas worked for three of my favorite directors: Welles, Howard Hawks (Hatari!, 1962) and William Friedkin (To Live And Die In L.A., 1985).

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Here’s Welles with Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Note the sling: Leigh broke her arm a week before rehearsals. In the finished film, her arm is obscured by sweaters and other things quite a bit.

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This shows us of what Welles looked like during production. It’s easy to imagine him being as big and slovenly as Hank Quinlan. This was just 17 years after Welles the wunderkind made Citizen Kane (1941). Wish I could’ve found a shot of Dennis Weaver between takes.

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How cool is this? Color! Welles is directing the opening single-shot bomb-in-the-car sequence. That crane’s about to get a real workout.

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Filed under Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Making Movies, Orson Welles