American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

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Series compiled by:  Dennis Bartok & Stefan Droessler with the assistance of Bruce Goldstein, Gary Graver, Gwen Deglise and John Palmer. Program notes by Chris D..

 

Special Thanks to: Oja Kodar; Gabriel Paletz; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; Harris Dew/FILM FORUM – N.Y.; Mike Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY; CASTLE HILL FILMS; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL DISTRIBUTION; Amy Lewin/PARAMOUNT PICTURES REPERTORY; John Kirk, Latanya Taylor/MGM-UA; Larry McCallister/VIACOM; Stephanie Friedman/JANUS-CRITERION; Ciro Giorgini; Chip Taylor; Nathaniel Thompson/IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT; John Herron/EURO LONDON FILMS; George Hickenlooper; Jeff Joseph/SABUCAT; Christophe Cognet; LA HUIT PRODUCTIONS; Todd Wiener/UCLA FILM & TV ARCHIVE; Avi Lerner/NU IMAGE; Valerie Allen/CBS TV; James Quandt/CINEMATHEQUE ONTARIO.

 

 

 

 

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Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.
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The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< February 13 - March 31, 2004 >>>

ROGUE GENIUS: An Orson Welles Retrospective

Sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Where do you begin with Orson Welles, a man with a talent and imagination so prodigious that he spanned radio, films, television, books, theater and excelled in them all? From his first film masterpiece CITIZEN KANE - more often than not described as one of the best movies ever made - to his checkered career fighting for funding to realize his directorial vision, Welles stands alone, holding a special place in the pantheon of cinematic greats. Welles himself (in F FOR FAKE) made the self-deprecating remark, "I began at the top and have been working my way down ever since," – referring to the popular misconception that his post-KANE career somehow never delivered on his initial promise. In reality, Welles delivered again and again on that promise, in such dazzling and unexpected ways that audiences, critics and other filmmakers are still trying to catch up. How else can one describe a career that encompasses such films as THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, OTHELLO, TOUCH OF EVIL, THE TRIAL, an astonishingly rich legacy of television (including "The Fountain Of Youth"), as well as legendary "unfinished" films such as THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND and DON QUIXOTE? Although he had to jump through bigger and bigger hoops to secure financing for his movies, dealing with an industry used to mediocrity, somehow he managed to create and put his art in the public eye for over four decades. A brilliantly dramatic actor, always delivering a droll performance with seemingly little effort, he was a genius director, capable of creating works that were simultaneously tragic, elegiac, lyrical, satirical, playfully surreal and pulpy, miraculously managing to integrate all these traits into a style that is immediately recognizable as "Wellesian." (Note: Welles’ CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT is currently unavailable for screening, so unfortunately, we were not able include it in this retrospective.)

We’re enormously pleased to welcome Stefan Droessler, director of the Munich Filmmuseum, which has amassed the world’s largest collection of rare Welles materials, working closely with the filmmaker‘s long-time companion Oja Kodar. Mr. Droessler will present six different programs, organized around various themes, using clips from TV shows directed by Welles, guest appearances and cameos in movies and on TV, scenes from his uncompleted projects, and more – most never before seen in Los Angeles.

 

Friday, February 13 – 7:30 PM

CITIZEN KANE, 1941, Warner Bros., 119 min. Orson Welles was only 25 when he directed this masterpiece, and it remains one of the most phenomenal motion pictures ever made. Trailblazing in so many aspects, from Gregg Toland’s complex camera and lighting to Bernard Herrmann’s score to one of the finest ensemble casts (including Welles, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane and Agnes Moorehead) ever assembled. With an Academy Award-winning script by Welles and Herman Mankiewicz. Plus Welles’ very first short film, "Hearts Of Age," 1934, 4 min.

 

Saturday, February 14 – 5:00 PM

Brand New 35mm Print!!

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, 1942, Warner Bros., 88 min. Director Orson Welles’ poetic, tragic adaptation of the Booth Tarkington novel, centering on the fall of one wealthy family, with Stanley Cortez’s dynamic camerawork providing a panorama of turn-of-the-century America and the decay of the old aristocracy. Infamously re-edited without Welles’ involvement, AMBERSONS, even its abbreviated form, is still an overwhelmingly rich masterpiece. With Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt, Anne Baxter.

 

Saturday, February 14 – 7:30 PM

Brand New 35mm Print!!

THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, 1948, Columbia, 87 min. The camera is the star in one of director Orson Welles’ most phantasmagorical films, a dazzling noir thriller about a seaman, a crippled lawyer and his homicidal wife pursuing each other through a "bright, guilty world" of infidelity, deception and murder. The hall of mirrors climax is riveting. With Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth and Everett Sloane.

 

Sunday, February 15 – 4:00 PM

OTHELLO, 1952, Castle Hill, 92 min. Until it’s 1992 restoration, Welles’ wildly imaginative Shakespearean adaptation was often overlooked, and nearly impossible to see in a decent print. Despite its initial budgetary problems, which caused the shooting schedule to stretch out over three years (it was started in 1949), it stands as one of Welles’ greatest visual poems. An astonishing achievement against nearly overwhelming odds. Starring Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Suzanne Cloutier.

 

Sunday, February 15 – 6:30 PM

TOUCH OF EVIL, 1958, Universal, 111 min. Orson Welles’ hallucinatory, off-kilter masterwork stars Charlton Heston in one of his finest roles as a Mexican policeman trapped on the wrong side of the border, where a corpulent, corrupt cop (Welles) tries to stop him from digging into the past. Janet Leigh co-stars as Heston’s newlywed wife, menaced by leather-clad Mercedes McCambridge and her gang of juvenile delinquents. Co-starring Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich, Joseph Calleia. We’re screening the restored version, reconstructed in 1998 according to Welles’ original notes. Discussion following with restoration producer Rick Schmidlin.

 

Wednesday, February 18 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

THE TRIAL, 1962, 118 min. Franz Kafka’s classic novel of paranoia and conspiracy seems tailor-made for Orson Welles. A labyrinthine, deliciously satiric, nightmare vision of a man (Anthony Perkins) accused of an unspecified crime that emerges as a subtle allegory of Welles’ own Catch 22-tribulations working in the film industry. With a dream cast that includes Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Akim Tamiroff and Welles himself.

ORSON WELLES IN ITALY: ROSABELLA, 1993, Chip Taylor Communications, 60 min. Dirs. Ciro Giorgini, Gianfranco Giagni. A stirring documentary exploring a twenty year period of Welles’ life when he lived and worked in Italy. There are rare behind-the-scenes film clips from OTHELLO, as well as the unfinished DON QUIXOTE and JULIUS CEASAR, plus interviews with various friends and colleagues. (Note: "Rosebud" in the Italian version of CITIZEN KANE is translated as "Rosabella".) In Italian with English subtitles.

 

Friday, February 20 – 7:00 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 1: "It’s All Magic"

Orson Welles had a lifelong obsession with magic in all its incarnations, evident in this collection of rare movie and TV appearances. The program includes a clip from Edward Sutherland’s FOLLOW THE BOYS, (1944, Universal, 5 min.) with Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich performing his stage magic show; a rarely seen episode of the "I Love Lucy" show, where Lucy meets Orson Welles (1956, CBS TV, 26 min.); restored material from the unfinished MAGIC SHOW he was filming from 1976 until the end of his life; and more. Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive to introduce the screening.

 

Friday, February 20 – 9:30 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 2: "People and Places"

All his life Orson Welles liked to travel, and in his films and television work he very often portrayed people and places in Europe for British or American audiences. In this program we see Welles visiting Paris, Italy and London, finding outsiders, film stars and typical Britains, who were interviewed (as well as occasionally impersonated!) by Welles himself. The episodes of ORSON WELLES’ LONDON (1968-71) are among the funniest comedy pieces he ever did. Also featuring: AROUND THE WORLD WITH ORSON WELLES: "Paris After Dark" (Saint Germain-Des-Pres)," (1955, Image Entertainment/Euro London Films, 28 min. Dir. Orson Welles); and more. Introduction to screenings by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive. Discussion following with actor Jonathan Lynn ("Orson Welles’ London").

 

Saturday, February 21 – 5:00 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 3: "Obediently Yours: The Storyteller"

One of Orson Welles’ favorite roles was narrator, either on-or-off-camera -- it didn’t matter. In all the mediums and film forms, he loved to play this part: as invisible director in the CITIZEN KANE trailer (1941), interfering with the action as host in his legendary television project "THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH" (1956, Desilu Productions/Viacom, 25 min.), or as pure storyteller in front of a camera in THE GOLDEN HONEYMOON (1971). Even his never-finished project DON QUIXOTE (1956- 71) is based on his narration. Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive to introduce the screening.

 

Saturday, February 21 – 8:30 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 4: "Stage and Theater"

Before and after gaining worldwide critical renown for his movies, Orson Welles excelled as a respected actor and director in theater. This program shows him on stage in Dublin, remembering the early days and reading from his theater play MOBY DICK REHEARSED. In 1971, at last he tried to film his play – playing all the parts by himself. As unknown as this film is his adaptation of Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, which survives only as a fragment. Introduction to screenings by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive.

 

Sunday, February 22 – 4:00 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 5: "Unfinished Works" Orson Welles had more unfinished projects than any other major film director, something that has added immeasurably to his myth. This program gives a glimpse at some of the incomplete works behind the legend. You will see scenes and sequences of THE DEEP (1967 – 69), THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (1972) and THE DREAMERS (1978 – 85). Introduction by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive.

 

Sunday, February 22 – 6:30 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 6: "Looking Back"

The cinematic aesthetic behind Orson Welles’ creations, his filmmaking views and methods are explored by the master himself.

In a British television series Welles tells the story of his "War Of The Worlds" radio broadcast, and at USC he discusses with the audience his film THE TRIAL. Plus, "The Dominici Affair," (1999, La Huit Prod., 52 min.) In 1955, Welles produced and directed a short series called "Around The World With Orson Welles" for British TV, but one episode, "The Tragedy Of Lurs," was never completed. The subject was the murders of an English family camping in the French countryside and the trial of a local farmer for the killings. Director Christophe Cognet chronicles the making of "The Tragedy Of Lurs," and includes a complete restoration of all available material from the episode directed by Welles. Introduction to screenings by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Film Archive and FILMING THE TRIAL cinematographer Gary Graver.

 

Tuesday, February 24 – 7:30 PM

Brand New 35mm Print!!

F FOR FAKE, 1974, Janus/Criterion, 85 min. Orson Welles appears as "himself" (but which self? Master director? Magician? Media manipulator?) in this delightful essay on the nature of illusion, focusing on all types of fakery and fakers, including notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory and fraudulent Howard Hughes-biographer, Clifford Irving. With Oja Kodar, Peter Bogdanovich. Discussion following with cinematographer Gary Graver.

 

Wednesday, March 10 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

New 35 mm Print! THE STRANGER, 1946, MGM/UA, 95 min. Director Orson Welles’ suspenseful study of an escaped Nazi war criminal (played by Welles himself) living in a small Connecticut town, who is pursued by a Federal agent (Edward G. Robinson) to a no-holds-barred climax. Loretta Young gives one of her finest screen performances as Welles’ unsuspecting wife. Ironically, this was Welles’ most successful film at the box office.

IT’S ALL TRUE: Based On An Unfinished Film By Orson Welles, filmed 1942; reconstructed 1993, Paramount, 87 min. Dirs. Richard Wilson, Myron Meisel & Bill Krohn. A fascinating reconstruction of an incomplete 3-part film Orson Welles made for RKO at the request of Nelson Rockefeller and the State Department to promote relations with Latin America during WWII. Included is material from all three sections (in various states of completion): "My Friend, Bonito," "Four Men and a Raft" and "The Story of the Samba." The reconstruction also features interviews with Welles and various Brazilians who worked on the project. Introduction to IT’S ALL TRUE by co-directors Myron Meisel and Bill Krohn, editor Ed Marx, post-production coordinator Tony Bozanich, and Cinematheque Board of Trustees member Michael Schlesinger, who was instrumental in restoring the film.

 

Wednesday, March 17 – 7:30 PM

MACBETH, 1948, Paramount, 119 min. Dir. Orson Welles. We’re very pleased to present this painstakingly restored (to its original form) version of MACBETH, led by the UCLA Film & TV Archives preservation officer Robert Gitt. The film had been cut by 21 minutes, re-recorded to "Americanize" the dialogue, and then rarely shown. Gitt tracked down the missing footage and original, Scottish-accented soundtrack, plus the Jacques Ibert overture and exit music. Critic Stanley Kauffman wrote about the restoration: "Whatever the details of Gitt’s job, Welles’ MACBETH is now a bold, exciting, innovative film." The innovations cannot be overstated. Longtime Welles collaborator Richard Wilson considered MACBETH "the greatest experimental American film ever made under the Hollywood studio system," and the restored footage includes a reel-long take. The studio was driven mad by the many retakes the ten-minute sequence required. Eight parts Welles to two parts Shakespeare, MACBETH was shot around Salt Lake City and features low-budget grandiosity, plus Welles in an intense, towering performance as the tormented Scots king, "one of the best elements of the film, thrilling and a bit poignant … In every one of the big moments, Welles rises to the heroic." (Kauffman) (Program notes courtesy James Quandt/Cinematheque Ontario.)  Discussion following with actress Peggy Webber.

Wednesday, March 24 – 7:30 PM

"THE UNSEEN WELLES"

We’re very pleased to welcome Gary and Jillian Graver, directors and curators of the Orson Welles Archives here in Los Angeles, to present an eye-opening program of additional Welles rarities and curiosities. A close collaborator of Welles since 1970, Gary Graver worked on many of the master’s films, including THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, FILMING OTHELLO and F FOR FAKE. (He was also cinematographer on dozens of other films, including a number of exploitation classics.) Renowned for their informed, personal and fascinating presentations on all aspects of Welles’ career, the Gravers have appeared at festivals, cinematheques and film institutes around the world with similar programs. No Wellesian can afford to miss the chance, not only to see such rare footage as Welles’ Japanese whiskey commercials, and a unique reconstruction of the "Four Men On A Raft" sequence from IT’S ALL TRUE, but also to share an evening with the man who worked most closely with Welles for the last 15 years of his life. (Program notes courtesy James Quandt/Cinematheque Ontario.) Program approx. 90 minutes. Special Offer: Current American Cinematheque members will be admitted free of charge to this screening.

 

Wednesday, March 31 – 7:15 PM

Double Feature:

New 35 mm. Print! CONFIDENTIAL REPORT (aka MR. ARKADIN), 1955, Janus/Criterion, 99 min. Dir. Orson Welles. "One of Welles’ most inventive and resonant films" (J. Hoberman, Village Voice), CONFIDENTIAL REPORT retains the investigative structure of CITIZEN KANE – the life of a rich and powerful man is recounted by several people who knew him – but replaces KANE’s tragic romanticism with a sordidness that is so far over the top as not to be believed. A ruthless financier (Welles) hires a sleazy young cigarette smuggler to write a "confidential report" on his past, hoping to erase the last traces of his infamy so that his beloved daughter will never find the truth about him. Welles decks out this mock-tragic "chronicle of a death foretold" with down ‘n dirty rococo effects and tall tales, including that epitome of cynicism, the fable about the frog and the scorpion. There are several distinct versions of the film – we will be screening a new print of the CONFIDENTIAL REPORT version. (Program notes courtesy James Quandt/Cinematheque Ontario.)

THE BIG BRASS RING, 1999, Nu Image, 104 min. Dir. George Hickenlooper. In THE BIG BRASS RING, the screenplay Orson Welles co-wrote with Oja Kodar in 1982, Welles was meditating with prophetic energy on American fate and the nature of power by telling the story of political candidate Blake Pellarin, who is haunted by his past and settling scores with his enigmatic mentor, Kim Mennaker. Many years later, the previously unproduced script was adapted by director George Hickenlooper (THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, THE MAYOR OF SUNSET STRIP) and screenwriter F.X. Feeney, with a stellar cast including William Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne, Miranda Richardson and Irene Jacob. "THE BIG BRASS RING struck me as an opportunity to both pay a debt to an artist I revere and yet dramatize something deeply related to my own experience. It was clear that I wasn’t out to make a ‘lost’ Orson Welles film. What I wanted was to take this unfinished work and make something new and beautiful out of it." – George Hickenlooper. (Program notes courtesy Stefan Droessler/Munich Filmmuseum.)

Introduction to THE BIG BRASS RING by director George Hickenlooper and screenwriter F.X. Feeney.