Late last Summer we explored some of the works of American filmmaker Orson Welles in detail, dissecting and discussing the likes of his F For Fake, a fantastical documentary made during the director’s latter years and Falstaff: Chimes At Midnight, which was written for Cambridge’s Take One. Our work culminated in a special publication, The Lesser Spotted Welles, which is available to download from iTunes. This month we’re returning to to the well(es), so to speak, and continuing our examination of the work of the man who might just be the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.
The core essay will be one tackling the film which is perhaps Welles’ most enigmatic feature, Mr. Arkadin, aka Confidential Report. So illusive is this particular picture that even deciding which cut of the film to watch first is a Rubik’s cube of a task, with the film available in no less than four cuts, if one includes the novel penned by Welles himself, and none of which are considered ‘definitive’ by any definition. As a part of this season on Welles we’re also going to take a look at some of the films in which Welles performed, as opposed to directed. The Roots Of Heaven, John Huston’s 1958 film makes for the perfect heat-singed companion to Welles own tale moulded in a sweat-soaked land afar, Touch Of Evil, while Richard Fleischer’s Compulsion, from a year later also makes for an interesting commentary on justice that too makes for a notable sister-work to Touch Of Evil.
There are a couple of other interesting little ideas in the pipeline too, including a piece that may or may not ever see the light of day in which we ponder just why it is that a fervent return to Welles is an annual occasion at Hope Lies at 24 Frames. He’s one of the few filmmakers in which is the case, with perhaps only Jean-Luc Godard and Robert Bresson sitting alongside him. Join us on the hashtag #arkadin.