The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018) Movie Script

Dear Orson Welles,
look where we are, one of the
wonders of the world.
missing in this skyline.
The Twin Towers are no more.
All things come to an end, don't
People, buildings, cities.
That was one of the big themes in
your movies.
You died more than 30 years ago.
Since then,
some things haven't changed.
But quite a lot has changed since
you died.
Life has become far more visual.
Something called the internet has
come along.
It's hard to explain, but see those
two guys at the bottom of this shot?
They're using mobile phones to send
not just words.
Or order pizza, or book a flight,
or watch Citizen Kane.
Phones are televisions and travel
agents now.
The internet is like black magic.
The addict in you, the adrenaline
junkie, would love it.
What you would have done with the
There've been other big changes
since you died.
We've had an African-American
president in the Oval Office.
Oh, and a guy who thinks he's
Charles Foster Kane.
The world has become more Wellesian,
The despots that you were
fascinated by are gaining ground.
Things seem exaggerated, but what is
Who were you?
When I told a waitress recently that
I was making a film about you,
she said, "Oh, that big creepy
actor. He gave me the willies."
You did act creeps, didn't you?
And bullies.
In the Third Man, the camera
whooshed into Harry Lime,
your most famous character.
A monster, a smirker in the
So, the waitress was partly right.
Can we look at you anew, Orson?
Can we tell your story anew?
Can we?
I went to this secure storage
unit in New York...
..and found this box.
What's in the box?
An aspect of you, Orson.
You left no autobiography but you
left something else.
I took the box in a taxi.
That's me, 40 years after I saw your
film Touch Of Evil on TV as a boy.
I didn't understand it, but I
I felt the whoosh of love.
You threw a rope to me when I
watched it, Orson.
When I'm nervous now, anywhere in
the world,
I hum the tune that plays on
Touch Of Evil's pianola.
It's a sultry lullaby of sorts.
I took the box on a plane and now
it's in my flat.
What's in the box, Orson?
Not words or films, but drawings.
Many have never been seen before.
What's in the box, Orson?
Visual thinking.
What's in the box, Orson?
A sketchbook of your life.
Look how freely your quill moves
across the page
of this BBC TV documentary.
Scratch and scribble.
Lines faster than you can think
for the back of the head and the
Then more careful for the nose.
You were obsessed by noses.
Old school technique, dipping into
an ink well.
Where would you start the story of
your drawing life, Orson?
You said that, "At nine I started
to paint.
"That's what I loved the most,
And then, later,
"I've never been excited by movies
as movies,
"as the way I've been excited
by magic, or bull-fighting,
"or painting."
Your guardian, Dada Bernstein,
encouraged you to study art
in the Windy City.
What a transit lounge.
Was it a visual treat?
Did it affect your looking life?
We could look at Chicago square on,
like this,
but surely the city of the
first-grade skyscrapers
made you look upwards.
And you became the greatest ever
film-maker of looking upwards.
Whether it's by craning...
..shooting below people's feet...
Mr Arkadin is waiting for you.
20,000 tonnes of marble... suggest power...
So you wouldn't have to request... miniaturize a character...
Not so loud! You want to bring all
the officials down on us?
Suppose they ask who you are?
You lived here and had a drawing
studio, here, on Rush Street.
It was just big enough for your bed
and a large drawing board.
Your teacher said that you did
thousands of sketches here,
but threw most of them away.
But you studied drawing here, didn't
The Art Institute of Chicago,
in your early teens?
Do you remember, as a boy, sitting
on the tail of its famous lions?
And, inside, what did you see?
Pointers to your future?
Translucent ceilings lit from
A technique you'd use in
The Trial...
A piece of work, a little
bit to the right.
Who are you? My name is Bluck.
Are you employed here? Oh no, I'm
one of them... ..and Citizen Kane.
You talk about the people as though
you own them.
Years later, if you knew someone who
was going to the Art Institute,
you told them to go and see these
miniature rooms.
Did their look, their wideness,
influence any of the visuals
in your films?
You're supposed to train her voice,
Senor Matiste. But, Mr Kane...
Nothing more.
If you could be here now your eyes
would be darting, Orson.
Chicago's got new ways of seeing.
So, your drawing and painting life
had begun.
It continued for 60 years.
You drew everywhere you went, so
there are at least a thousand
of your artworks.
Where are they now?
Many are in Michigan, in Ann Arbor,
which was named
after its trees.
Here, in the University of
Michigan's archive,
they have your relics.
Your beloved nose putty.
A coat you wore as
Rochester in Jane Eyre.
Letters from you and to you.
This one's from Vivien Leigh.
And then, there are your drawings
Another place where I found your
artworks was here.
Can you guess where I am?
And who lives here?
Brace yourself, Orson.
It's Beatrice.
Your third daughter.
She's in her 60s now but is still a
rocker chick,
and sometimes drives with no hands.
So, what am I doing first? Getting
these? So, those.
All of those should be his
paintings, if I remember right.
That is gorgeous, that, isn't it?
What, this...?
Oh, isn't that fabulous? That was a
Christmas card.
That was a Christmas card.
That's sort of what I saw this
morning when I got up.
That's what... I call it
Broadway Blues. Mm-hm, got it.
And that's, you know, about a
producer saying,
"So sorry, Mr Welles, we haven't
got around to reading it yet."
You know, it's just like the usual.
And he's saying, "How about my
play?" Is that...? Yes, exactly.
That's him, that's him.
You see? "And where did the money
go to?"
You see? It's's the life
of my father, almost.
Some...and he put here, some
Broadway Blues.
This is in Munich.
This is when he was travelling with
his father around the world.
This was before he got to Ireland,
wasn't it? Oh, yes.
This was probably when he was about,
I think, 12.
And that's in Munich, and then here
he is...
I don't know... "Dearest family."
This... So, he'd been to Shanghai at
this point, hadn't she? Yes.
Yes. So, hence this particular one.
And then these look like German...
Mm-hm. ..caricatures.
He's on his way to Germany,
A drawing of your painting, Orson,
and look how many kisses you put on
this letter.
And I just went, "Wow, look at this
Then I remembered that this was the
..the painting he drew when they
threw him out of Touch Of Evil.
When they said, "You can't come
back, you can't touch your movie."
Which is this one? Yeah.
And if you can see the anger in it,
I mean, you can just...
Can't you?
You took a line for a walk.
Portraits, sketches and letters,
costume designs, stage layouts,
backdrop plans, Christmas cards,
pictures of your loves, and
You drew compulsively.
A lifetime of lines.
Were you in the zone when you drew,
Orson, like sports people
are in the zone?
Do your sketches show us your
Can we glimpse in them the story of
your life,
its politics, love and power?
Ordinary people, Orson, the 20th
century was theirs.
Many got to vote for the first time.
Old elites lost power.
Was the extraordinary Welles ever
Did you know many working class
My own allegiance is stronger
to the idea of citizenship
and my own loyalty is greater to the
idea of myself as a member
of the human family, than it is to a member of any profession.
I don't take art as seriously as
The Hotel Marais in Paris, 1960, a
TV interview.
How solid you are in the frame.
And then your laugh and that
trademark cigar.
But where did your belief in
citizenship start?
With your mother, Beatrice.
She co-founded the Women's Alliance
to help Chicago's poor.
Her activism was inspired by this
Unitarian Church,
which was open to all races and
The Women's Alliance hosted speeches
on the persecution
of Jews in Russia.
Your mother was the first woman in
your hometown of Kenosha ever
to be elected to public office.
She had a community tree planted.
I think it's this one.
To raise money so that every Kenosha
child between two and 14
would receive a Christmas gift.
One of the reasons you painted and
drew Christmas trees so often,
In impasto...
..snow white paint on black card...
..a black line helix daubed with
green and red...
..a Gothic black ink tree
in the sunshine... eight second felt-tip pine...
..a tree encased...
..magenta and sage...
..a pine branch and ink in brush
The helix in white, now, reduced
to a hieroglyph.
All distant reminders of your
mother, perhaps?
What a woman she was.
This film should be about her.
She laid the foundation of your
political beliefs
but she died when you were just
And then the Wall Street crash
The Depression brought new realism
in American art
but something more personal happened
to you, Orson,
that further shaped your politics.
You took a boat, the SS Baltic, to
Explicitly to draw and paint.
We can feel your 16-year-old eyes
darting about on the Baltic, Orson.
There are four lookers alone in this
small section
of one of your drawings.
They're befuddled, suspicious, or
What you saw on the boat was people.
Real people, like you'd seldom seen
What about this woman's twisty
jawline and pursed lips?
And these two profiles?
Did they know you were drawing them?
Did this guy?
Your background was privileged but
on the Baltic you met migrants
and really looked at them.
You later became fascinated by
ageing, sagging faces.
Aged just 23 in the play
Heartbreak House,
you were like the man you drew
on the Baltic. Were you in a
hurry to get old, Orson?
Did youth bore you?
Or maybe, in the months in Ireland,
your youth ended?
And then you set foot on Ireland.
You wrote, "Our very landing was
"Men and women got on their knees,
weeping for joy.
"It's almost beyond belief that
two day's journeying
"from the world's greatest
metropolis brings one to a land
"where an intelligent and
aristocratic people lives
"in archaic simplicity."
Intelligent, aristocratic,
The words you used about the Irish
were rich indeed.
You wrote, "In 16 short years of
living, nothing comparable
"with Galway on the west of Ireland
has loomed so unexpectedly,
"or breathtakingly, on my horizon."
You bought a donkey, Sioheog, and
cart and roughed it.
You wrote, "I curled up under the
cart and fell asleep.
"There were nights, too, spent in
"wakes, weddings and matchmakings.
"My week with a band of Gypsies,
my mountain climbs,
"my night in the quagmire."
You really encountered the old
You spoke of these people who
produced and flourished
in Tutankhamun's time.
You painted hundreds of landscapes
but destroyed them.
It was the people and faces
that you preferred.
You went to the Aran Islands and
came across a visual world
as exciting as Chicago.
More profiles, pencil and then ink
Same for Mr Costello, a Galway
"This man has sold himself to the
black one," your note says,
and so you have devils winking
around the edge of the page.
And ski slope noses, your most
geometric Irish sketches.
It's like you were using a
And then you were for Dublin...
..where you famously blagged your
way into the Gate Theatre.
You claim to be famous and then, in
Ireland, became so.
You drew make-up sketches for the
at the Gate that made headlines.
Karl Alexander.
But again, your eyes darted to new
types of faces.
In the three on the right, your hand
was getting freer.
Looking at Irish people was training
you to look, to draw.
Talk about taking a line for a walk!
So, to your mother's politics and
now let's add a third encounter with
working people.
Two years after Ireland, you went
here, Morocco.
Another new visual world for you.
A faster place, was it?
No pose in your Irish drawings is as
confidently done
as this guy's on the left, his left
elbow and his raised knee.
Less than a dozen pencil lines give
us the shape of his body
under his djellaba.
And this is better still, the
diagonal of the long pipe
of the big guy on the left sets the
line for the shadows
on his face, djellaba and legs and
the wall on the left.
You were seeing real people better
than ever, Orson...
..and these three women are
From left to right...a dark face,
what looks like glasses,
and then that beautiful single eye.
And a drawing like this is echoed,
22 years later, in a moment
like this in your film, Mr Arkadin.
You walk towards us,
and then one of your frames within
Also in the summer of 1933, you went
here, Spain,
to the Gypsy Quarter of Seville.
Working people again.
Traditional culture again.
The non-Anglo world, the
non-Protestant world.
Catholics and Arabs were more
expressive than Protestants,
more visual.
In the beginning was not the word.
Your life experience was broadening.
And also in 1933, of course, Hitler
became Chancellor of Germany.
Italy was a police state by then.
Within a year, you were in New York
doing radio, a pawn medium,
intimate and personal.
Dictators and democrats were devoted
to it.
It let you get into the minds of the
It let you whisper to them or boom
that big voice of yours.
You wanted to be the listener's
griot, their consigliere,
their consciousness-raiser...
..and so you acted as the announcer
in a radio play
by Archibald MacLeish.
It's set in a central square in a
A conqueror, like Hitler, is coming.
He's getting closer, and your
clipped, English accented voice
as the announcer describing what he
He's coming.
He's clear of the shadow.
The sun takes him.
They cover their faces with fingers,
they cower before and they fall,
they sprawl on the stone.
He's alone where he's walking.
He marches with rattle of metal.
He tramples his shadow.
He mounts by the pyramid,
stamps on the stairway,
His arm rises, his visor is
..there's no-one.
There's no-one at all.
The helmet is hollow.
The metal is empty. The armour is
I tell you, there's no-one at all
The people invent their oppressors,
they wish to believe in them.
They wish to be free of their
Look, it's his arm.
It is rising, his arm's rising.
They're watching his arm as it
They stir, they cry, they cry out,
they are shouting.
They're shouting with happiness.
Listen! They're shouting like troops
in a victory.
The city of masterless men has found
a master.
You'd say it was they were the
they that had conquered.
The city is fallen.
Fascism as a beast.
In Ireland, you drew mostly faces.
Quite a few of your later paintings
and drawings are faceless,
like the conqueror was faceless,
And in films, you usually tried to
hide your face under whiskers,
a false nose or thick make-up.
And look, Orson, at how your wife
Beatrice's mother, painted you.
We'll come to your love life later.
Bet you can't wait for that.
If your mum seeded your political
life, Orson,
then your trips abroad peopled it.
The rise of fascism made it ramrod
and so you came here,
to Harlem in New York.
The year was 1936.
Your progressive politics were
taking on a new dimension.
The depression had led the
US Government to launch,
the previous year,
a nationwide theatre project to
give jobs to unemployed theatre
and entertainment workers.
The Harlem renaissance had been a
big story in the 1920s
but, a decade later, 80% of
Harlemites had no work...
..and you and your team decided to
mount an African-American theatre
production of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
You were fascinated by Macbeth.
You built a plasticine model of the
The stylised jungle backcloth was
The production was conceived
visually as a series of pictures
in chromatic ascension.
The setting would be Haiti.
The witches would be voodoo.
10,000 people showed up at the
Searchlights. Roads were blocked.
The excitement of something new, a
new way of seeing and being seen.
Black intellectuals in ermine and
Inside, what were they about to see?
Their own people classicised.
At the centre of culture...
..and acclaim.
Want to see the Lafayette now,
80 summers after your triumph?
Are you sure?
It's no more.
It's apartments instead.
100,000 people saw your
Voodoo Macbeth.
The company and the crew of 110
went on tour with it around the
The wind of change blew through the
Your 1930s.
In 1937, you made your
anti-fascism more explicit.
You ripped into another Shakespeare
the one that stimulated your visual
imagination most,
and your political imagination, too.
Julius Caesar.
As a teenager, you drew
Mark Antony's speech
to the people like this...
..he casts a vast shadow.
Already, you were thinking of
Julius Caesar in terms of lighting.
And look what I found in the box,
drawings from about 1950.
You were planning a film of
Julius Caesar.
You imagine a camera above a light.
A pink and black sky, maybe the
stormy night in Rome
after the plot to kill Caesar is
and, look, you plan to shoot it in
Rome's EUR...
..the chilly monumental district
built by Mussolini's fascists.
You saw Caesar as an ancient
Mussolini, didn't you?
And the ancient crowd didn't resist,
like they didn't resist
the conqueror in MacLeish's play.
You wanted to use a hanging
miniature in front of the camera,
an old Hollywood technique.
You thought of the capital as a kind
of beehive.
But back in 1937, your visual
ideas were even bolder.
You'd seen images of the Nazi
Nuremberg rallies.
The vertical torchlights made
columns like a Roman temple,
so, you had your stage production
look the same.
And guess what, Orson?
They recreated your production
in the film, Me And Orson Welles.
Square-on shot, that graphic white
the camera glides in as the audience
gets engrossed.
Caesar! Caesar!
Bid every noise be still.
And all this before Hitler invaded
We've come a long way from your
mother's Unitarian good deeds.
But the story of your social
ideas isn't over yet,
far from it.
You were only 22 when you did Caesar
on the stage.
After radio and theatre, you found a
new medium of the people.
Your first feature, of course, was
Citizen Kane,
it changed cinema and is known for
its expressionism
and critique of vainglory.
But it's most touching moment is
related to your mother's ideas,
or your time in Ireland.
Why don't you try laughing at me,
Charles Foster Kane is in the rented
room of a working-class woman,
Susan Alexander, who offered him a
place to clean up
after he got covered in mud by a
passing car.
I'm wiggling both my ears at the
same time, see?
And at the top right here, photos of
a woman who looks a bit
like your mother.
It took me two solid years and the
best boys' school
in the world to learn that trick.
Fellow who taught it to me is now
the President of Venezuela.
That's it!
They play a kids' shadow game.
He's famous but she doesn't know it.
She's probably one of the most
ordinary people he's met
in his life.
It's supposed to be a rooster.
The camera drifts in. The look of
love, perhaps?
Some of the softest lighting in the
Your small tribute to a powerless
but sincere woman.
I'm awful ignorant, but I guess you
caught on to that.
You know, I bet it turns out I've
heard your name a million times.
And It's All True, the film that
you shot in Brazil in the early
1940s but didn't complete...there's
a similar sincerity.
It's the sameness I'm talking about,
Sameness in spite of difference,
different sounds for the words,
but the same idea. Different
colours, but the same spirit.
Different churches, but the same
Different liquor, but the same
Different joke, but the same
Different nation, the same humanity.
Thank God for the differences,
because it's out of those
differences that culture grows and
grows big,
in all directions at once.
It's like a Soviet film by
Brilliant close-ups of
un-Hollywood-y faces
and this soundtrack is one of your
radio broadcasts,
about South and Central America.
And look, Orson!
Low angle, a girl crying,
and is that your hand reaching up to
console her?
In 1947, Joseph McCarthy was elected
senator in your home state,
You made political speeches now.
One said, "In this shrinking world,
adult education must first enlist
"in the war against provincialism.
"Educators are sworn to the
tremendous task of telling
"people about each other."
You received hate mail.
Hundreds of letters.
One asked if you would "allow your
"to be touched by negroes?"
Another said, "If you and the other
Jews of your class and the negroes
"want us to love you, why not better
J Edgar Hoover had your named added
to the security register.
Were you scared, Orson?
If so, you didn't show it.
Especially in the case of the
African-American soldier,
Isaac Woodard.
Here's your drawing of him.
In your BBC TV show, Orson Welles'
you told his story square-on,
straight to camera,
underplaying your rage.
He was on a bus, on the way felt
ill, and he asked the bus driver
to let him off. The bus driver
refused, abusively.
There was an argument,
at the end of which a policeman was
called in, who dragged the boy
out of the bus, took him behind a
building and beat him viciously.
And when he was unconscious,
poured gin over him,
put him in jail, charged him
with drunkenness and assault.
When the boy regained consciousness,
he discovered that he was blind.
The policeman had literally beaten
out his eyes.
A terrible crime in itself, but the
fact that Woodard ended
up blind seemed to dig deep into
you, such a visual person.
And so, on radio, you tried to hunt
down the cop who blinded him.
The policeman's name wasn't known,
so you called him Officer X.
You said that he brought the justice
of Dachau and Auschwitz to America.
You went on,
"Officer X, I'm talking to you.
"Where stands the sun of common
"When will it rise in your dark
"I must know, Officer X, because I
must know where the rest
"of us are going in our American
You continued, Orson.
"We will blast out your name,
Officer X. I will find means
"to remove from you all
refuge, Officer X.
"You can't get rid of me.
"God judge me if this isn't the most
pressing business I have.
"The blind soldier fought for me
during the war.
"I have eyes, he hasn't.
"I have a voice on radio."
Orson, the research carried out by
you and your associates did help
find the officer.
He was Chief of Police
Lynwood Lanier Shull.
He was tried, found not guilty,
and returned to his job.
Which brings us to here, Orson, and
another story about the law.
Do you recognise this place?
One of your favourite cities.
The City of Light.
He drew and painted it.
You've seen the Eiffel Tower a
hundred times, of course.
But wait till you see this.
From the year 2000, it has...
We're here, Orson, to end the story
of your political evolution.
You made a film, mostly here.
The Trial, from the novel by Kafka.
In the box I found this.
I think it's one of your early
drawings for the film.
Josef K, who is accused of a
non-specified crime,
is in the middle, casting a shadow.
On either side are the two agents
who arrest him on his 30th birthday.
In the novel, K's helped by a
painter, hence the paintings
on the wall, is that right?
And above, a light exactly like the
one you sketched
for your abandoned film on
Julius Caesar.
You have such lights in The Trial.
They're totalitarian for you.
Who are they?
I can't expect you to know
where the interrogation
commission is sitting.
That's right, I don't.
But then, in Paris, you decided to
film in the abandoned
Gare d'Orsay.
Low angle.
Plunging perspective.
And your drawing comes to life.
And one of your crane shots - a
rise, like an aeroplane taking off.
The drawing has that facelessness
The Trial is about facelessness.
The law has no name.
Officer X.
Very well, then.
Just go ahead with your work, my
The Trial was your portrait
of the 20th century.
Its desk-bound armies of salary men.
He's ill! You can't talk business to
him now!
It was a Rene Magritte painting in
which the law,
played by you, is faceless at
We can discuss anything.
Mummified and steaming like a
And you famously changed the ending
of the novel.
Kafka had Josef K lead the henchmen
to the place of his execution.
He acquiesces.
Anthony Perkins whispers, at
..and then yells the yell of the
Yo-o-ou! Yo-o-ou!
Yo-o-ou! Yo-o-ou! Yo-o-ou!
You dummies! You'll have to do it!
You'll have to kill me!
Come on. Come on!
A salary man and the Final Solution.
K was a pawn in the game of the
In this unedited hand-held shot,
which captures the atmosphere
of a Q&A after a screening of The
Trial, you explain your change.
One of the changes you made in the
was at the very end when Josef K is
He's killed in a very alarmingly
different way than in the book,
and I was really curious as to why
you changed both the way
he was killed and the way he was
acting when he died.
Because the book was written before
the Holocaust.
And I couldn't bear the defeat of K
in the book, after the Holocaust.
I'm not Jewish, but we are all
Jewish since the Holocaust.
And I couldn't bear for him to
submit to death as he does in Kafka.
Masochistically submit to death., stank of the old
Prague ghetto to me.
Your politics had come a long way
from Kenosha and the community tree
of your mother.
You'd travelled the world, fallen
for Irish islanders
and Moroccan merchants, and been
outraged by racism.
You'd felt at home in Harlem, become
an idealist, and used three
art forms - radio, theatre and film,
to dramatise and visualise
your ideas.
But the Europe you so admired
disgraced itself in the 1930s
and '40s, and it's hard not to see
that disgrace in some
of your drawings.
Even in a scribble on a menu
in Rio de Janeiro.
What political smoke signals you
sent. What a trail you left.
We've tried to follow that trail,
Orson, to see where it leads.
Eight years after you died,
there was a movie called
Groundhog Day in which the same
elements were relived over and over.
It's sometimes good to rewind the
clock, isn't it?
It's good to look at a life again,
through another lens.
What's the story of your love life,
You'd probably prefer me to talk
about politics than love
but you're not here to stop me.
You travelled the world and fell in
love everywhere.
What, and who, and how did you love?
I think there are four answers.
You loved places, you loved
you believed in the chivalry of
love, like it was a waltz,
and you felt the guilt and end of
Let's start with your love of places
and this place,
When you lived here, you didn't go
for walks but you seem
to have loved the sunshine.
Crayon on watercolour paper.
The opposite of that totalitarian
Chalk and paint and felt-tip pen to
conjure a storm
over the red rocks.
The first place you loved was
Grand Detour, Illinois.
Your father, Dick, who took you
owned this hotel there.
Dick built a ballroom on the first
floor and you recalled sneaking
up there at night, in the moonlight,
and dancing.
And you had a hut across from it,
that was your art studio
when you were a boy.
Is that it in the bottom left of
this picture, Orson?
As you know, the hotel burnt down.
Look what's there now.
You called Grand Detour "one of
those lost worlds,
"one of those Edens that you get
thrown out of."
Look, Orson, it's still a kind of
Your first love.
For the rest of your life, you
talked about places
of preindustrial innocence.
"Merry Englands," you often called
Timeless places of joy, unspoilt
nature and love.
I hate do this to you, Orson, but
here's another Eden,
a snowy Eden, in Citizen Kane.
A building like the Sheffield hotel.
Come on, boys!
The union's forever! Be careful,
Mrs Kane? Pull your muffler round
your neck, Charles.
Mrs Kane, I think we shall have to
tell him now.
I'll sign those papers now,
Mr Thatcher.
You people seem to forget that I'm
the boy's father.
Parents arguing, as yours did in
the Sheffield.
Ain't nothing wrong with Colorado.
I don't see why we can't raise our
own son, just because we come
in to some money.
Glad he met with some mischance.
Your film, Chimes At Midnight, was
part set in such an Eden,
The Boar's Head Tavern.
You loved to have actors swirl,
women and laughter.
It was a labyrinth,
this pleasure dome.
This playpen.
And you designed and oversaw the
painting of it yourself.
The place from your unconscious in
which you wake up as Falstaff.
Here's where you shot some of the
Boar's Head Tavern scenes, in Spain,
another one of your beloved places.
This guy was in the film and still
lives here.
What other places did you love?
319 West 14th Street, Manhattan,
where you lived
with your first wife, Virginia.
It's Gothic in your drawing but,
guess what, Orson?
It's still here.
You said that it had "space, charm,
electric ice box,
"garden, and all for $55 a month.
"Virginia's having the time of her
life here.
"A real home, and all the rest of
With Virginia, you had your first
daughter, Chris.
The second aspect of your love life
is how visual it was.
When you were 17, you saw this film.
Dolores del Rio swims naked.
You fell in love with her visually,
and later became her lover
in real life.
The man in this scene is
Joel McCrea, but the imagery
sums up your love life.
Staring, obsessive, love at first
Moonlit and flickering to capture
the look of love,
what looking feels like.
You and Dolores.
Beatrice says that she was the true
love of your life.
In The Lady From Shanghai, the
camera glided towards another
of your loves, Rita Hayworth.
It was your eyes, Orson.
You saw her on the cover of Life
magazine and immediately pledged
to marry her. Good evening.
"Dearest little loved one," you
"I love you more
tonight than ever.
"Even more!"
And how's this for the look of love?
You move in again.
The point of view of a kiss...
# ..don't...
..framed along one of your famed
# ..away...
Then you seem summoned from below,
drawn by her tractor beam.
# ..comes a change of...
Your make-up artist wanted to put
beads of sweat on her brow,
but you said, "Horses sweat! Rita
# ..rain will start. #
She kept your love letters and notes
in her make-up box for years.
With Rita, of course, you had your
second daughter, Rebecca.
You cast your third wife, Paola, as
your daughter
in Mr Arkadin, Orson, a film about a
powerful man with a mysterious past.
My daughter! I want to speak to my
Yes, father. Have you...
And you gave Paola these concerned
as she hears that her father
was less than he seemed.
Tell him it's too late, too late.
It's too late.
His relationship with your mother,
did he woo her?
Oh, he wooed her. Yes, I mean how
they met!
They were in Fregenae and she was
walking on the beach
and he was with Visconti and he saw
her and he said,
"I've got to meet her." So she was a
young starlet and the next day
she got a phone call and it was
Visconti's assistant.
Answered - you know, "Mr Visconti
would like for you to do a trial,"
and she was so excited,
and, of course, she went rushing
over there
and instead she met Orson Welles.
In 1961, while filming The Trial,
you met Oja Kodar.
She became your long-term lover and
Look how you introduced her in F For
Glimpsed, glanced, ogled, long lens.
The centre of a network of men's
A head-turner.
An eye-opener.
No scene in your films is more about
it splinters in seductions.
The look of love as a mosaic.
So, you loved places, Orson, and you
loved visually.
The third aspect of your love life
is its attraction to chivalry.
The millennium-old idea of the
chivalrous knight in love
is so archaic now, so like a faded
pencil line.
Lancelot and Guinevere, Arthurian
legend, the Middle Ages,
but more than most artists of the
20th century,
you filled-in the line drawings.
You believed in these Samurai, these
courtiers, who behaved
with honour, who played by the rules
of love and courtship,
from the era of the Magna Carta,
the myths held true for centuries.
One of the best interviews you gave,
to Bernard Levin, takes this
You're leaning forward again,
close-up and in profile at first.
And I'm rather fond of chivalry and
and I...I... use a hackneyed, drug store
psychiatry word,
I identify with Quixote to the
extent that I am interested
in outmoded virtues.
The virtues of chivalry?
Yes, honour, personal honour and
courage, and things like that.
Well, you're clearly a romantic,
whatever else you are.
Very much so. Well, I suppose so.
That is one way of putting it.
But is... Aren't you a romantic
in a very unromantic time?
Do you feel out of your time?
Oh, yes.
I think every self-respecting artist
ought to.
Which brings us, Orson, to the most
out-of-time knight in your art.
An absurd but glorious man who rails
against everything and doesn't seem
to realise that chivalry
is long dead.
He was one of your obsessions, this
He made what you called a home movie
about Don Quixote and his sidekick
squire, Sancho Panza.
And others will cheer you from the
You filmed the Don against the sky,
his head in the clouds.
The monster has kidnapped the
but I shall free her, Sancho.
Wait, sir, don't let the devil
deceive you.
And here's a moment which tells us
something about the Don and love.
He thinks the woman...look, it's
Paola...has been kidnapped
by the Vespa.
Who is this lunatic?
Don Quixote de la Mancha. Knight
Ever the gallant knight, he wants to
rescue her.
This isn't your editing, of course,
you never finished the film.
But does the moment capture some of
the energy you wanted?
The absurdity?
But also the Don's desire to do the
right thing?
How can you treat your liberator
like that?!
What a nut!
Now, promise you'll go to El Toboso
and inform my Dulcinea...
Imbecile! ..or I'll run you through!
And in your painting, the Don's head
is against the sun.
Like Icarus, such a delicate man in
your painting.
He'll be burnt.
The Don doesn't look at Sancho
And, in the book and film, they
But you have them joined at the hip.
They're on the road of life
Opposites but indivisible.
Yin and yang.
Your Sancho Panza is thick smears at
the Don's elbow...
..a blur to him, in some ways... love, in other ways.
You relished this.
The thickness of their story.
Their themes, their history.
The novel's author, Cervantes, set
out to mock chivalry,
but ended up celebrating it.
Maybe Laurel and Hardy were the
knights of your time?
And your one painting of a
bullfighter is knight-like.
He's a slayer in a swirl of light,
like your St George with his dragon
against the sun, like Don Quixote.
His head lowered as if in prayer
at his own violence.
The figure in your art that you
loved most was another knight,
but a penniless one who lived in
The Boar's Head.
One of your Edens.
On The Dean Martin Show, you painted
him in a way,
but the canvas was your own face.
He was what you might call a
MUSIC: Greensleeves
Only 15th century.
They didn't call them swingers, but
they swung.
And nobody more so than Sir John.
Your intensity.
You forget to speak, as if you're
lost in the transformation.
He was a funny man, he was a fat
But he was a great man.
Then, Shakespearian language.
He was a wit,
and, as he said himself, he was not
only witty in himself,
but the cause that wit was in other
This huge hill of fat, this ton
of man.
This reverend vice.
This grey iniquity.
Then Eden again?
He was a spokesman, you might say,
for merry England,
the old merry England of May
mornings and midsummer eves.
When even villainy was innocent.
And, of course, you filmed Falstaff
in Chimes At Midnight.
Your drawings for the Battle of
Shrewsbury sequence are a gallery
of horsemen, of chevalier... pen...
..coloured brush and pen.
And this, the swiftest and the best,
in brush only.
In pose and concision, it's as good
as this.
This bed scene in Chimes At
Midnight - with you,
Doll Tearsheet, Prince Hal and his
friend, Ned Poins - is remarkable.
You get up and move left, and then a
swirl of movement,
like a '60s love-in.
I owe her money and whether she be
damned for that, I don't know.
But, Hal, am I not fallen away?
Like a Tintoretto painting.
Like you, he liked to have people
almost roll in the foreground.
He looked up at the world.
Everybody in bed, the camaraderie of
The bed scene is another Eden.
There's Beatrice.
The water itself was a good water,
but for the party who owned it...
But the loving world of Chimes At
Midnight will come to an end.
Men of all sorts take a pride to
gird at me, the brain of this...
Which brings us to the last aspect
of your love life.
Do you believe in love at all,
Mrs Bannister?
Give me the wheel.
The Lady From Shanghai, again.
You and Rita look purposefully
ahead but she steers.
I was taught to think about love in
The way a Frenchman thinks about
laughter in French?
The Chinese say it is difficult for
love to last long,
therefore, one who loves
passionately is cured of love
in the end.
Well, that's a hard way of thinking.
But it seems borne out by your love
life, Orson.
It was full of guilt
and sadness.
Your relationship with
Hayworth quickly waned.
You draw yourself crying and, in one
of your most surprising images,
also for Hayworth,
you have a devil
visit you
in her absence.
You had affairs.
Is the devil your guilt?
Or your guilt and sadness combined?
You called this pencil and
watercolour sketch,
with its miserable sun, Another
Self-Portrait Of Self-Pity.
And how about this?
You're far from Eden here. The smoke
from the factories gathers
to show your mood.
And then there is this drawing of
Very pregnant and she had a horrible
she must have been a bitch, and...
Pregnant with you?
I Feel Lousy is
one of your most
ambiguous drawings,
Are you just recording Paola's
feeling bad or empathising with it?
Or mirroring it?
Is it you that feels bad?
You showed the death of love, the
perversion of love,
most visually, Orson, in Morocco.
And Venice.
You know what I'm going to say,
don't you?
Weep'st thou for him to my face?
Oh, banish me, my lord, but kill me
Down, strumpet!
Kill me tomorrow, let me live
Othello kills Desdemona,
facelessness now is murder.
And when she's dead...
This circle in the ceiling was
inspired by this Mantegne painting
in Mantua, wasn't it?
You had a ceiling built to echo it
and, before James Bond films, you
liked a circular ceiling.
Your camera's low enough
to show it well, to halo him,
to anti-halo him.
Sophie, what was her last name
She married years ago.
Well, what's her married name?
Nothing extenuate, nor set down
aught in malice.
Love as hell, not Eden.
You had the camera on a scaffold,
Not wisely, but too well.
Is that how you loved?
Not wisely, but too well?
The death of love, the back of love,
they're not much fun to talk about,
are they, Orson?
I wonder, am I losing you here?
We're getting on to kingship in a
moment, but before we do,
one more chord about passion dying.
It's in Chimes At Midnight again and
you know what's coming, don't you?
The most resonant line in your art.
Here it is, in your screenplay in
Are you ready to be heartbroken?
"I know thee not, old man.
"The prince, the boy, says to the
"that the dream is over."
Their friendship is over.
Vertical spears like the Nuremberg
then you break through.
God save thee, my sweet boy!
And the back of the new king, your
old drinking and cavorting pal.
My king.
My Jove.
I speak to thee, my heart.
I know thee not, old man, fall to
thy prayers.
How ill white hairs become a fool
and jester.
I have long dreamed of such a kind
of man,
so surfeit-swell'd, so old and so
but, being awak'd, I do despise my
Wouldn't "reject" have been enough?
Shakespeare's pen was a dagger here.
Not only an end of love but a
rewrite of its history.
Till then, I banish thee on pain of
as I have done the rest of my
misleaders, not to come near
our person by ten mile.
And Falstaff falls to his knees,
like John Houseman did,
as he realises who has the power and
who can control the love.
Hal's exclusion order.
You wanted to be Falstaff, Orson,
but let's face it,
you were Hal.
The prince, the knight, loving a
lot but, in your exhilaration,
moving on to other loves.
Other worlds.
So, we move on to our next world.
All the decent people in your life
and work, Orson,
your mother, your head teacher,
Michael O'Hara in The Lady From
Joseph Cotton's character Jedediah
Leland in Citizen Kane,
Don Quixote, Charlton Heston's
character in Touch Of Evil,
Sir John Falstaff.
These knights and pawns are often
exemplary and right.
But there's another type of person
who excited you more.
Dive deeper into your unconscious
and you find him there.
This creature from the black lagoon.
He is, of course, the king.
You mocked the king in Chimes At
He can't even get up onto his
He has a pot for a crown and speaks
like John Gielgud.
I do not only marvel where thou
spendst thy time,
but also how thou art accomplished.
But you were attracted to the
grandeur of kingship.
Admit it, Orson, your tastes were
Is it true that the director
Richard Fleischer once accused
you of treating a lowly photographer
as if you were royalty?
"I am royalty!" you barked back.
You used to say that you're a king
You were fascinated by a Latvian
gun-runner and friend
of Nazis Himmler and Goering.
His name was Michael Oliend.
You visited him in this mansion,
designed by Raphael.
You should have played Napoleon,
Orson, or Henry VIII.
Actor Geraldine Fitzgerald said
that you were like a lighthouse.
"When you were caught in his beam,
he was utterly dazzling.
"When the beam moves on, you're
plunged into darkness."
Kingship in your work is visual
about lawmaking.
Suffocating, isolating and about
Totalitarianism, corruption and
Let's take visual first, Orson.
Most aspects of your visual style
were extravagant.
As we saw in the pawn section, you
had moments of realism
in your work, but you mostly
rejected them.
This was more your style.
Macbeth - a distant castle, misty
middle ground.
It's like Charles Foster Kane's
isolated castle.
Castles fired your imagination.
Especially if they were crumbling.
This etching of yours looks like
there's been a fire.
You had an eye on Piranesi's
imaginary prison sketches of the
The lens you liked to use most,
the 18.5, was a king lens,
you could say.
It made the world bulge.
Whole is the marble, founded as the
You slung it low, of course, to make
foreground people look massive.
Quiet, confined.
Bound into saucy doubts and fears.
To make patterns between near and
It was expressionist, this lens.
It was good at abstraction.
Beyond visual things, your king men
are lawmakers and lawbreakers.
That lens, again.
A seated king, an insolent press
Yes, tell Wheeler, you provide the
prose poems, I'll provide the war.
That's fine, Mr Kane.
Yes! I rather like it myself.
And here in your late film, The
Immortal Story, you're a king,
of sorts, in a carriage.
The running man is a sailor you've
just picked up.
You'll pay him to have sex with a
You're a pimp king.
Making the rules, setting down the
Treating others like pawns.
And here's your Hank Quinlan in
Touch Of Evil.
Belly first, then looming above the
Then a Wellesian body twist.
He's a king in his own mind,
a detective who thinks the law's for
little people,
for pawns, not for him.
He's above the law and bends it to
his will.
Beyond their visual and legal lives,
your kings are often suffocated or
They're trapped inside their
They can't escape their own power,
their own thoughts...
..their echo chambers.
Beatrice tells us this was painted
in frustration
at the Universal film studio
stopping you completing
Touch Of Evil.
It's an isolation picture, too,
isn't it?
A Piranesi in the desert.
You were the king forced to
Intense visuals, a man above the
law, isolation.
You know where this is leading, I'm
To Scotland, and your film, Macbeth.
You'd first imagined Macbeth in your
in this drawing in your
Everybody's Shakespeare book.
And we've seen your Voodoo Macbeth
of 1936.
Just nine years later - what a long
nine years they must have seemed,
two marriages, war, radio stardom,
Hollywood fame, four films - you
were filming it on the cheap
for a B-movie studio.
You imagined the film's landscape
with angular trees against the sky.
The film would be shot quickly in a
so, you came up with this main set.
Scotland can sometimes look like a
production designer's
had a hand in it.
The characters were to be horned,
like cattle, or rams.
It was your most graphic film.
The witches' pagan symbols,
that set that looked like something
you'd see in a fish tank.
An underwater Macbeth, perhaps.
The contrasts were violent.
Slow-mo mist then dissolved to this
One of the most contrasty images in
American film.
Then we're behind the head of
This king, whose ambition is
detestable, this Hank Quinlan,
this Stalin, this Faust.
Say, sir.
As I did stand there watch upon the
hill, I looked towards Birnam.
The real world seemed to enter the
film as a nightmare.
Macbeth, so in the shadow of
that he doesn't even realise that
he's free.
He feels railroaded by the witches'
he's a slave to his own lust for
You've dived so deep, now, that in
you're in the land of the surreal.
The colonnade is like a de Chirico
nightmare painting, Orson.
The least categoriseable image in
and in all your art, I think,
is this shot, Orson.
It looks like clouds seen from an
Or, an archipelago with a colossus
standing in it.
Macbeth's one of the few films I
wanted to draw as I watched.
The fourth aspect of your kingship
is its totalitarianism and
These themes are in Caesar, of
and in your Cesare Borgia in the
film, Prince Of Foxes.
A map of all he conquers.
The king actor's big shoulders and
flowing gown.
The ultimate Italy, one
One king, Cesare Borgia.
You made Prince Of Foxes in the same
year that you played
your most corrupt character -
Harry Lime, who profiteers from
penicillin stolen from hospitals.
He famously talks of the Borgias, as
you casually put on gloves
and the camera glides in.
Well, what the fella said.
In Italy, for 30 years under the
they had warfare, terror, murder and
But they produced Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci,
and the Renaissance.
In Switzerland they had brotherly
They had 500 years of democracy and
peace, and what did that produce?
The cuckoo clock.
So long, Holly.
A scene you wrote, of course.
Cinema's most famous strike
of the authoritarian bell.
In the late 1930s, before Citizen
you were to make a film about an
even more dangerous man...
..ivory trader Kurtz in Joseph
Conrad's novella,
Heart Of Darkness.
Here's your sketch of the compound
where he lives.
In 1938, you adapted Heart Of
Darkness for radio.
You played Kurtz, of course,
and tried to capture his genius,
his panic, his tyranny.
How are you tonight, Mr Kurtz?
Aware enough to be back at my
That place is mine.
They have no right to take me away.
That manager, that stupid scoundrel,
he wants my ivory.
He's blocked me at every turn.
Don't excite yourself, Mr Kurtz.
You're sick, you know.
Not so sick as you'd like to
Heart of Darkness is set during one
of the worst human atrocities,
Belgium's colonisation of the Congo.
Kurtz was, for you, a fascist king.
That's end of the king line, in a
Except for one more thing...
..the madness of kingship.
In 1953, you played King Lear live
on TV.
That low king angle.
That roaring king voice.
Here I stand, your slave.
A poor infirm, weak and despised
old man.
He says, "Oh, let me not be mad.
"Not mad, sweet heaven."
But he's driven by the burdens of
power and family.
The camera pulls out, and lightning,
and that expressionism again.
Did you intend this to be Lear,
It's like it's raining here,
or it's a lightning storm.
You did Christopher Marlowe's Faust
on stage in 1937.
You had him say, "I refuse to be
"I do not claim the sanctuary of the
"Do not think I stumbled into the
"Pray for the free man who dammed
Did you damn yourself, Orson?
And, if so, for what?
Dear Mark,
I pray you in your letters,
when you shall these unlucky deeds
speak of me as I am.
Nothing extenuate.
So, the world kept turning after I
Who'd have guessed!
It sounds as if I'd have taken
to the 21st century.
I wasn't tired of living.
I wasn't tired of art.
In your letter, Mark, you split my
politics from my love,
but they're the same thing!
Or, at least, of the same root.
You missed how funny I found it all!
You do know that life is a circus,
don't you?
Beatrice still seems to.
Was this not in your box?
My ending of The Lady From Shanghai,
that crane shot as I walk into the
empty funfair...
Everybody is somebody's fool.
The only way to stay out of trouble
is to grow old,
so I guess I'll concentrate on that.
Maybe I'll live so long that I'll
forget her.
Maybe I'll die trying.
..that's more important than the
ending of The Trial.
And, as you're so taken by my
drawings, how about this one?
She's Lady Would-be from Jonson's
A broad - bumbling and inept.
Those pursed lips...I adore her.
The toffs, with their drinker's
noses and eyes closed.
Amidst all the power and politics of
which you speak,
my line ran naturally to doodles
like this.
Does he remind you of anyone?
And, several lifetimes ago, before
Kane, I made a lark of a film
called Too Much Johnson.
There was a scene where a
well-dressed young man
and police officers had their hats
It was absurd, like a
Mack Sennett comedy!
That's cluelessness again, like so
much of life.
And since you mentioned Mr Arkadin,
recall, if you can, its climax.
I stalk through the film like a
but the world of my story is absurd.
Akim's character, Zouk, has lost his
What will he think if he catches me
out here,
dancing around in my under-drawers?
Does it remind you of anything?
Laurel and Hardy, perhaps?
My camera was usually lower, of
course, but the humanity
in Stan and Ollie is the same.
The childishness, the circus, the
commedia dell'arte, Pulcinella,
what you in the UK call
Punch and Judy.
I did scores of pictures of
St Nick.
There were conventional ones in red
and white.
He'd come down the chimney, or be
by the fire.
But I remember that, as I drew,
he started to look like he was on a
taking a bow, perchance a curtain
Those with a keen eye might say I
painted him more and more
so he merged with some of the things
that I admire.
And he morphed!
His colours changed.
The red disappeared.
Or, rather, it shrunk to his nose,
as you see.
Santa is becoming a drinker in my
Christmas world.
A drunk.
Sir John Falstaff.
The more cards I did, the more rapid
I became.
The colours leeched out.
They became night in this Christmas
Carol of mine.
And the bottle grew.
And then even the nose
was no longer red.
They took on the tone of a lot of my
Call it dark exuberance, if you
That's what the Lady From Shanghai
But, Macbeth...tenebrous and
I've often said that Kane
has the same tension.
Kane himself is close to farce,
close to parody, close to burlesque.
That roller-coaster you showed
was like the great imperium,
the United States.
I was a satirist.
Didn't you see that?
The stick was straining.
What happens when it breaks?
Absurdity becomes the norm.
The sots and thralls of lust do
in spare hours more thrive
than I that spend, sir.
Life upon my cause.
How is Ireland these days?
Yours, Orson.
Dear Orson, I just imagined that you
wrote back to me.
I wish you had.
How do I finish a letter like this?
Should I mention that there's been
another financial crash?
The wolves of Wall Street screwed
up, like they did in 1929.
This is Kenosha, where you were
born, now.
Parts of it look like a deserted
Hollywood studio back lot.
Or images from the 1930s.
The Great Depression that followed
the Wall Street Crash helped form
you, didn't it, Orson?
Will our new depression make a new
Orson Welles?
Beatrice had an unopened letter from
you to your guardian,
Dada Bernstein.
This letter was written on the 14th
of October in 1931,
when Dada was still living in
And it is unopened.
Nothing in it!
This is too funny.
He forgot to put something...
This is insane.
We were hoping that there'd be some
secret in that envelope, Orson.
Some new way of seeing you.
Isn't that wild?
But maybe what was in the box
and what's in the University of
Michigan archive
is a bit of a new way of seeing you.
Your art has made me look again
at your life and work.
This scene in Mr Arkadin, for
What's with all these crazy
Now, look, old boy, you don't
All these people are supposed to
represent the paintings!
Now, some of us have come as the
visions and monsters.
Goya. Who?
You know Goya. Glad to meet you.
It's a Goya painting, with an added
pinch of Josef von Sternberg.
In the same film,
this scene near the start is what?
Graphic, certainly.
It's a murder and chase moment.
But who's being shot, or why,
doesn't seem to be your main
You're more taken by the steam of
the train,
the shapes within the frame,
the angles, the Cubism.
And in The Lady From Shanghai,
you painted these sets yourself,
didn't you?
You walked through a lattice,
shards, a constructivist's design... this one by
Aleksandra Ekster.
And a few scenes later, in your hall
of mirrors,
we're in the land of Muybridge.
..playing it your way. You didn't
know that.
Panel imagery.
In love with lenses.
And then The Lady From Shanghai
is like a drawing.
Oh, he knew about her.
She planned to kill Bannister, she
and Grisby.
Isn't that it?
Is that what's been on the tip of my
tongue in this letter?
Many of your films are like charcoal
Their nets and grilles are
In Mr Arkadin, you use
the Segovia Aqueduct
like an architectural drawing.
I knew it! Well, what do I win?
As I'm thinking this,
I see this scene in
The Lady From Shanghai.
Rita wants her cigarette lit.
Your shot sweeps left with it, mano
a mano.
There's no story need to do this but
there's a graphic need,
a drawing need. God she'll never
be too old to earn the salary...
And then the shot comes back again,
following the cigarette again.
Two simple moments, but they're
like this drawing of yours.
Or, this drawing.
That's it.
That's my light bulb moment, Orson.
That's what's been on the tip of my
..your visual thinking.
You thought with lines and shapes.
Your films are sketchbooks.
That's why people who love
Laurence Olivier's literary
and psychological Shakespeare
films don't like yours.
Yours were rougher and more to do
with space
and graphics and power.
Once I realise this, I discover that
you'd sort of said it already.
You told one of your biographers
that Macbeth
was a violent charcoal sketch of the
And the Nazi Party's film-maker
Leni Riefenstahl, of all people,
wasn't far off when she said that,
"Welles draws marvellous pictures
in the margins of Shakespeare."
F For Fake was a sketchbook on
folded paper.
A Touch Of Evil's a fresco.
The Trial is like a linocut.
Macbeth, The Lady From Shanghai,
Othello, and Mr Arkadin
scratch at their characters, like
your quill and ink scratched
in the TV sketches.
Approximately, excitingly, but in a
way that many found too sharp.
They make you seem mad for contact
with the world.
Taking its fragments roughly and
absorbing them into yourself
to make art that's jagged and
In 1953, you went here, Edinburgh in
and made a speech about the future
of the movies.
You said that a Hollywood film needs
an audience of 60 million people
to break even.
But you dreamt of smaller, more
distinctive films
who could speak to two million
Guess what, Orson?
From the future, I can tell you that
your dream has sort of come true.
Film technology has changed
massively since you died.
If many of your films were like
if you dreamt of a camera being more
like a pencil,
your dream is coming true.
More than ever, you can draw with a
camera now.
Studio cinema was like history
Now, film is more like oil painting.
And, look at this... oil painting of you?
No, it's an accident.
Our computer didn't copy some
footage of you properly
and so it pixelated it.
And it looks like Manet or
Way back in the 1940s, when you were
making Citizen Kane,
you and cinematographer Gregg
Toland dreamt of a time
when there would be no film and the
camera would be an electronic eye.
That dream has come true, too.
On the morning of October 10th,
you died.
It was said that you were at your
typewriter when it happened.
This typewriter.
But your life probably ended in your
But, still, is this one of the last
things in the world
those great eyes of yours saw,
If you were alive now, if you were
still seeing,
you could be making so many films.
Your archetypes - pawns, knights,
kings and jesters -
are as relevant as ever.
Your friend Kenneth Tynan said,
when writing about you,
"The bee will always make honey."
What honey you made.
What honey you could have made.
In an interview in 1962, you said,
"Being alive means not killing
"the tensions one carries within
"On the contrary, a poet must seek
"and cultivate his contradictions."
You buzzed with contradictions,
You loved pawns, knights, and kings.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict
I am large.
I contain multitudes.
I, too, am not a bit tamed.
I, too, am untranslatable.
I sound my barbaric yawp over the
roofs of the world.
We can still hear your sound, Orson.
And, most of all, we can still look
through your eyes.
Thank you.