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Though little appreciated in his time, Orson Welles is today
one of classic Hollywood's most acclaimed cinematic visionaries and was
once nominated for Academy Awards in four separate categories for his contribution
to one film (see below). Always an outsider to the studio system which
dominated filmmaking at the time however, Welles never condescended to
play by Hollywood's rules and his arduous four-decade career was pocked
with moments of brilliance, excess and waste.
Welles as Charles Foster Kane in his masterpiece, CITIZEN KANE (1941). Welles produced, directed and starred in this
classic which was nominated for nine Academy Awards, four of which Welles
shared in: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best
Picture. The film won only one of the Oscars for which is was nominated however, that for the screenplay co-written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz.
--as Charles Foster Kane in CITIZEN KANE (a .WAV file).
long-faced, over-dressed anarchist!" --as Charles Foster Kane in CITIZEN
KANE (a .WAV file).
up an extra copy of that picture and send it to the Chronicle." --as
Charles Foster Kane in CITIZEN KANE (a 20KB .WAV file).
- "I'd make my promises now if I wasn't so busy arranging to
keep them." --as Charles Foster Kane in CITIZEN KANE.
- "In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare,
terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da
Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they
had 500 years of democracy and peace -- and what did that produce? The cuckoo
clock." --as Harry Lime in THE THIRD MAN (1949).
Charles Foster Kane with reporter Jedediah Leland (Joseph
Cotten) who commented, "That's all he really wanted out of life,
was love. That's Charlie's story: how he lost it. You see, he just didn't
have any to give." A friend of Welles from The Mercury Theatre, Cotten
collaborated with him on seven more films after CITIZEN KANE (1941).
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942), an adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel,
was directed by Welles and starred Cotten
as well as Anne Baxter
and Agnes Moorehead.
Although severely re-edited by officials at
RKO who cut approximately three reels of
footage from Welles' original rough cut, AMBERSON'S still features first-rate
performances by its cast, as well as intriguing stylized photography. It
received four Oscar nominations including one Best Picture and another for its
Orson Welles has the distinction of having appeared in both the
Greatest American Film of all-time (according to the American Film Institute's
1998 poll) CITIZEN KANE (1941), and the Greatest British Film of all-time
(according to the British Film Institute's 1999 poll) THE THIRD MAN (1949),
directed by Carol Reed.
THE THIRD MAN, Welles' sixth film with Joseph
and the fourth co-starring the two, is an unconventional film-noir mystery
classic also starring Alida Valli and Trevor Howard. It received three Oscar nominations
in 1950 (when it finally became eligible for the Academy Awards, having been
screened in Los Angeles County, California).
Incidentally, the other films Welles made with Cotten were the World War II spy
film JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1942), the Niven Busch western DUEL IN THE
SUN (1946) (although Welles was only the narrator), TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)
also starring Charlton Heston,
Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich, THE TRAGEDY OF
OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE (1952), and TOO MUCH JOHNSON (1938), a short film
and one of Welles' earliest directing ventures.
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