Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Orson Welles!

Here is my caricatured tribute to a giant of the American cinema, both in the figurative and in the literal sense. It's hard to imagine an actor more imposing and with as much presence as Orson Welles. I can't claim to be an expert on the films and career of Mr. Welles, as I've only seen a fraction of his work, but I do admire several of his films greatly, including his legendary Citizen Kane, The Lady From Shanghai, and my favourite, The Third Man, where his role may be relatively small despite the fact that the plot centres around him, but it's so deliciously memorable!

Rather than sketch him from one of his film roles, though, I decided instead to use this vintage TV interview as my drawing reference. I have the complete interview on DVD that I recorded about a year ago, and it was conducted by Canada's own CBC back in 1960 in Paris, where I gather that Welles was working on a film at the time. The full interview runs nearly an hour and is fascinating for how bluntly candid Orson Welles is regarding his career and body of work. Here is one of the segments that someone has posted on YouTube, and additional segments are also to be found there. Just listen to how articulate and introspective Mr. Welles is throughout the interview, by the way. Frankly, I can't think of any film actor working today that can speak so eloquently as did Welles and many of his contemporaries - there was so much more class back then. Enjoy!


Thad said...

Is it just me, or was Welles just better in other people's movies?

My favorite of Welles' "roles" was actually in an SCTV skit where a whole table of food was reserved for him at a celebrity eatery. You know, the same skit with Eugene Levy as Gene Shalit, with him causing the restaurant to take a machine gun dive off a cliff.

Mark Mayerson said...

That's a marvelous interview. Welles is so relaxed and clearly enjoying himself. It seems to me in later years he was much more combative, possibly because the interviewers didn't show him as much respect.

Mug It Up!/Jim H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Braden said...

Thanks for posting this Pete.

justin said...

I really like that your caricature of Wells, is him as he packed on the pounds. I have only seen him in Citizen Kane but I think it`s ashame that he never got the full recognition he deserved when he was alive.

Floyd Norman said...

I disagree. Welles was great in his own films as well. Frankly, the man was awesome, and somehow always managed to do impressive work in spite of the shackles placed on him by Hollywood.

Over the years Welles has been maligned as the "temperamental genius.” Business types truly hate artists who demand control over their art.

Those of us who work in animation should be well aware of that reality.