1 February 2010

Orson Welles: The One-Man Band

Orson Welles: The One-Man Band
Orson Welles: The One-Man Band, directed by Vassili Silovic with Ojar Kodar, features clips and out-takes from various unfinished Orson Welles films. The footage was left to Kodar by Welles in his will, and the film's title comes from a sketch in which Welles played both a busker and his unappreciative audience. (Welles saw himself metaphorically not as a one-man band but as a "friendly neighbourhood grocery store" in an age of supermarkets.)

The documentary includes extracts from The Other Side Of The Wind, which resembles Easy Rider with its zooms and jump cuts. Impressive footage from The Merchant Of Venice (Welles as Shylock, with gothic locations and masked extras), The Deep (later filmed by Phillip Noyce), and the television pilot The Orson Welles Show (featuring the Muppets!) is also included. In one hilarious clip, a butler who thinks he's a chicken keeps his job because his employer needs the eggs; this traditional joke later appeared at the end of Woody Allen's Annie Hall. Footage of Welles reading from the novel Moby Dick now appears somewhat dated, and there is unfortunately no mention of Don Quixote.

An alternate version of the documentary, narrated by Welles acolyte Peter Bogdanovich, also exists. Filmographies of unfinished Welles projects are included in Discovering Orson Welles and Orson Welles At Work.

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