Orson Welles’ biographer interviewed


This 2014 video is called Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. Trailer.

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, from The World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

An interview with Joseph McBride, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?

Orson Welles, the blacklist and Hollywood filmmaking—Part 1

16 June 2009

While in the Bay Area for the recent San Francisco Film Festival, David Walsh and Joanne Laurier had a lengthy conversation with Joseph McBride, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career (2006), an unusual and valuable book.

McBride, an assistant professor at San Francisco State University, is a former screenwriter, a former critic and reporter for Daily Variety in Hollywood, and one of the foremost experts on American filmmaker Orson Welles. He has also written or edited works on John Ford, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg and Kirk Douglas.

What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? is significant for a number of reasons. The title refers sardonically to the attitude of numerous critics toward Welles’s last years, the two decades, more or less, before his death in 1985 at the age of 70. In their complacency and indifference, such commentators choose to view Welles as a victim of his own unfortunate career choices or a supposed inability to finish projects, or, worse still, they paint him as a lazy, overweight “has-been” who had tragically squandered his undeniable talent.

According to this theory. Welles’s career following the making of Citizen Kane when he was 25, in 1941, consisted of a series of self-inflicted disasters that resulted in his becoming, more or less deservedly, something of a pariah.

McBride works diligently to dispel such myths. He knew Welles during the last 15 years of the latter’s life and participated in one of the filmmaker’s major unfinished projects, The Other Side of the Wind, about an aging Hollywood director, with John Huston in the lead role.

The author makes clear that Welles was willing and eager to work, virtually to the last day of his life. The fundamental sources of his difficulties remained what they had been throughout his career: the financial and artistic constraints bound up with working in the American film industry,

Part 2 of the interview is here.

Letters on Orson Welles: here.

Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind: A film 48 years in the making: here.

Six pre-Production Code films from William Wellman: an uneven but welcome collection: here.

Karl Malden: a serious actor: here.

The Eyes of Orson Welles: A markedly political approach to the American filmmaker: here.

3 thoughts on “Orson Welles’ biographer interviewed

  1. Pingback: Martians did not build Egyptian pyramids, Mayan tombs | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Hollywood actress Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Senator McCarthy, anti-communism and anti-Semitism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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