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Posts Tagged ‘Orson Welles’

Grover’s Mill, New Jersey Celebrates 75th Martian Anniversary

The geographical infamy associated with the Mercury Theatre‘s 1938 radio broadcast “The War of the Worlds” was a happy accident. Per an article this week by Joyce J. Persico in the Times of Trenton, radio play writer Howard Koch closed his eyes and randomly pointed a pencil at a map of New Jersey. Today, Grover’s Mill is often referred to by the larger designation of West Windsor Township.

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The broadcast fooled listeners on October 30, but the 75th anniversary celebrations start this weekend with various activities in Grover’s Mill. Among them, this Saturday-Sunday event at a location owned by former councilman Franc Gambatese and his wife, whose business is dedicated basically to the memory of that historic program:

On October 26 and 27 at 8 p.m., the Grover’s Mill Coffee House & Roastery will host a live recreation of the 1938 Welles radio program hosted by Michael Jarmus. On October 30 at 8 p.m., there will be a discussion of “War of the Worlds” by a panel of historians. All events are free, people in costume are welcome, but seating is limited.

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The Henry Jaglom-Orson Welles Tapes

For fans of Orson Welles, tomorrow is already guaranteed to be a summer highlight. That’s the day Metropolitan Books is serving up My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles.

Edited and introduced by Peter Biskind, the book features transcripts of recordings made by Jaglom (with Welles’ permission) of the pair’s regular lunches at Ma Maison restaurant in West Hollywood . The 1983-85 sit-downs are everything one might expect – and more. The beauty of the recordings is that they allow for Welles to speak through the page in all his glory. As in this instance for example, when he recalled a memorable media moment at the New York premiere of Citizen Kane:

“That was in the days when the crowd were still screaming, “Here comes Norma Shearer!” The days when there was that kind of opening. John Barrymore made the famous joke. A radio reporter announced, “And here come Mr. John Barrymore, and Orson Welles, who made this picture! What have you got to say, Mr. Barrymore?””

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Joaquin Phoenix’s Monumental Montgomery Clift Mash-Up

When Quentin Tarantino was doing press for Inglorious Basterds, he was asked by a reporter what films or filmmaker would inspire him today if he was just starting out in the business. He answered Paul Thomas Anderson, writer-director of The Master, opening Friday in LA and New York:

“We’re really good friends and we have a very kind of artist romantic relationship. I feel I’m Marlon Brando to his Montgomery Clift. But there is a reality. Brando was better because Clift was out there. Same thing, Clift was better because he knew f*ckin’ Brando was already there, all right?”

In Anderson’s The Master, Joaquin Phoenix is one part Brando and four parts Clift. The actor’s colossal portrayal of Freddie Quell, a man who quite literally is fighting at every moment to quell his personal demons, ranks as the first performance in a very long time to recall the on-screen syncopated beats and off-screen tortured genius of an actor who had his own fair share of “The” titled films (The Search, The Heiress, The Defector).

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Paying Tribute to Errol Flynn’s Controversial Biographer

There have been several memorable remembrances of journalist and biographer Charles Higham, who passed away in LA late last month at the age 80. Most notably, locally, was Joel Bellman’s guest post on LA Observed about the time he interviewed Higham for an Orson Welles radio documentary.

Another worthy piece comes from the country where the British-born Higham began his transcontinental journalism career, Australia, in the form of a Sydney Morning Herald obit written by Philippe Mora, a French-Australian writer-director who occasionally contributes to the paper. There is much about Higham’s most famous work, the 1980 Errol Flynn biography The Untold Story, as well as this funny anecdote:

Higham had a delight in the macabre and the absurd, exemplified by his invitation to the English widow of Hermann Erben for dinner in Los Angeles with a Flynn double, Chuck Pilleau. Higham coaxed from her a bizarre revelation: SS agent Erben was circumcised.

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Citizen Kane Finally Cracks the Hearst Castle

When San Luis Obispo International Film Festival director Wendy Eidson originally floated the idea of a first-ever screening of Citizen Kane at the Hearst Castle, she was actually joking. But as she told LA Times reporter Steve Chawkins, after she made the historic suggestion to the keepers of the state park, the reaction was anything but what she expected:

“They didn’t laugh,” Eidson said. “I was sort of floored.”

Steve Hearst, the mogul’s great-grandson, said the event will present the film as a work of fiction rather than as a documentary about the life of the patriarch known to family members as W.R.

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Terry Gilliam Still Chasing After Windmills

During a recent visit to Los Angeles, director Terry Gilliam took the time to chat with LA Times “Hero Complex” main man Geoff Boucher. The beleaguered filmmaker (who turned 71 last week)  was in town for an American Cinematheque sponsored screening of Brazil and his latest project, the Italian-made short The Wholly Family.

Much like Orson Welles, Gilliam has spent a large portion of his career battling Hollywood execs and chasing after film financing. That remains the case today, with his decade-old project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote still languishing and likely never to be finished. But it is all by choice, thanks to a decision made decades ago in the San Fernando Valley:

“Look, the last proper job I had was [in the 1960s] at the Chevrolet assembly plant in Van Nuys. It was the night shift, and when I quit I said I would never work for money again. I believe in the things I make. The fact that God doesn’t want me to make them is beside the point.”

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UCLA Prof Comments on Pauline Kael’s Research Theft

If UCLA professor emeritus Howard Suber one day finds himself sitting in a chair in his dying old age, muttering about a traumatic, formative turning point, his golden whispered word could well be “research.”

As detailed in Brian Kellow‘s October 27 biography of revered film critic Pauline Kael, the famed journalist was guilty of stealing Suber’s groundbreaking Orson Welles research for a two-part 1971 New Yorker article “Raising Kane.” Suber cooperated with the author and is now commenting in the media for the first time about this resurrected scandal, via a Brent Lang bylined article today on TheWrap:

“I take no satisfaction in the story coming out,” Suber said. “I was depressed over the weekend, despite getting included in the New York Times and New Yorker reviews, because it did stir up a lot of painful memories…”

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KPCC to Broadcast Orson Welles Radio Biography

89.3 KPCC will air a radio biography on the legendary Orson Welles featuring rare broadcast recordings during the 73rd anniversary of “The War of the Worlds” hoax.

Airborne: A Life in Radio With Orson Welles will run twice as a special full-length edition of KPCC’s Off-Ramp on Oct 29 at noon and Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

“The War of the Worlds was fantastic radio, which is why it’s still revived on dozens of stations every Halloween,” documentarian R. H.Greene said in a statement. “But few people know that Welles also pursued careers as a radio comedian, a wartime propagandist, and a serious political commentator over the air, or that his American radio career ended with a heroic act of great personal sacrifice.”

LA Times Reporter Continues to Blow Lid Off Area 51

Tavis Smiley‘s June 24 interview with Annie Jacobsen (pictured), LA Times Magazine contributing editor and author of the New York Times best-seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, is currently one of the “Most Viewed” videos on the talk show host’s website.

In case you missed the conversation, and-or have not yet had a chance to catch up with Jacobsen’s book, the claims made by the author are nothing short of astounding. For example, per the Smiley interview, here’s what a nuclear weapons engineer told Jacobsen about all that supposed UFO and alien business in the Nevada desert:

“The source told me that something really did crash in the desert in New Mexico in 1947… Stalin had sent this prototype of a flying disc here to serve as a kind of a war of the world hoax, the same way that Americans had been moved to mass hysteria in 1938 when they believed Martians were attacking earth…

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Unseen 1972 Orson Welles Film Finally Poised For Release

The Other Side of the Wind, an Orson Welles film, which he shot and directed in 1972 but never finished, may finally be set to be released after decades of legal wrangling.

The Guardian reports:

Rumours of its release have surfaced repeatedly since it was shot in 1972, but an ownership dispute has always scuppered any plans. However, a Los Angeles lawyer told the Observer last week that the film will finally be seen.

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