Monday, January 24, 2011

The Orson Wells Legend -
Finally, I'm Starting To Get It!

Watching Michael Parkinson introduce a 1970's interview with Orson Wells, I realised I'd not fully appreciated the legend of this Hollywood legend. And in particular, the extraordinary diversity of his accomplishments - to the extent of a not exactly momentary 'career' as a bull-fighter!

So I fossicked round for something earlier and found the 1960 Paris interview with Merv Griffin ...

What's particularly disarming in this encounter, among so many disarmaments, is the actor/director/writer's unexpected frankness and seductive self-deprecating qualities. And the ease and almost eagerness with which he canvasses his own limitations and failures. Though this of course may give rise to charges of disingenuousness.

With controversial issues, Orson Wells has that delicious ability to warmly and genuinely acknowledge other points of view ... but just as a starting point to state his own. Which of often individual and distinctive, and one that doesn't sound contrived to elicit admiration. Such as when he explores the differences in difficulty of directing yourself on stage as opposed to in the movies.

And to top it all off, there's that quite incredible voice - deep, resonating, sonorous and boundlessly expressive - which Wells plays like a fabulous Stradivarius violin! Any actor would kill to have such an instrument!

I'm an (at least momentary) Wells devotee - any others out there?

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