Judged by first—even second or third—impressions, Welles’s films are a triumph of show over substance. His most memorable images seem like elephantine labors to bring forth mouse-size ideas.
I think about each of my films when I am preparing for them. I do an enormous sketch when starting. What is marvelous about the cinema, what makes it superior to the theatre, is that it has many elements that may conquer us but may also enrich us, oiler us a life impossible anywhere else.
In 1958 Welles made a television pilot film, The Fountain of Youth, based on John Collier’s short story Youth from Vienna. It was to inaugurate a series of short story adaptations which he would host, narrate and direct, much like the old ‘First Person Singular’ series on radio.
The Fountain of Youth is a 1956 TV pilot for a proposed Desilu TV series (with a tentative title, The Orson Welles Show) which was never produced, and was subsequently televised once, on September 16, 1958 for NBC’s Colgate Theatre. The short film was directed by Orson Welles, based on the short story “Youth from Vienna” by John Collier.
Orson Welles was movie’s producer, director, star, and dominating force, but “Citizen Kane” would never have existed without Herman Mankiewicz.
People not involved in the study of film are often surprised to learn that Citizen Kane is so highly regarded. The rapid pace and newspaper montages and the Rosebud business — all that looks so typically Hollywood. But that view belongs to the old days, when films appeared briefly, were seen once, and then vanished to make way for next year’s model.
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.
Our interviewer is England’s eminent drama critic Kenneth Tynan, whom readers will remember as the author of previous Playboy Interviews with Richard Burton and Peter
James Naremore’s thought-provoking paper on Welles and Kubrick and the artistic effects of them leaving the U.S.