Posted by: ckckred | June 14, 2014

What Is Your Favorite Orson Welles Film? (Besides Citizen Kane)

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There’s no denying Orson Welles’ status as a Hollywood icon.  He was an adept director, a powerful actor, and his voice alone was so commanding it made people believe that his reading of War of the Worlds was real.  After watching Welles’ The Stranger, I feel like seeing some of his other pictures.  Recently I purchased copies of Touch of Evil and The Magnificent Ambersons and F for Fake (which I haven’t), all of which I hope to write pieces of online.  But before I do, I thought’d I’d ask what’s your favorite Orson Welles’ movie (other than Citizen Kane)?

Touch of Evil would have to be my choice.  I purchased the Universal blu-ray that contains the theatrical, preview, and reconstructed releases (I don’t know which version I saw beforehand).  It’s a superb thriller that has arguably the best tracking shot there is.  I’ve seen parts of The Magnificent Ambersons before in film classes that really exhilarated me.  If I were to count his non-directorial pictures, I’d say though The Third Man.

But what about you?

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Responses

  1. Easy! The Third Man is the best of his films. I also loved Jane Eyre (1944) and I love The Long Hot Summer. And he was great in The Lady From Shanghai…Oh, and as Macbeth…. :)

    • The Third Man is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Welles’ performance is so good.

  2. I’ll submit Chimes at Midnight.

  3. Every one of his films is worth viewing and studying, including his European TV work. It’s not hard, since he only completed 13 full-length features. Kane was made under the most carte blanche contract protecting artistic control ever given to a director. They could bury it with bad reviews upon release, but they could never cut a frame, or more recently, colorize it. And then every project afterward was made under the duress of tight budgets and meddling by uncaring producers. Considering how much Welles was disliked by the major players in the business, the breadth and variety of his completed work is astounding. He was a diva and he could be his own worst enemy, but he was also a unique genius.

    I wouldn’t dare suggest a “best”, but my own favorites after Kane and Lady From Shanghai are Ambersons, MacBeth, Chimes at Midnight, and The Trial.

    I even like his “hammy” performances as an actor in other’s movies. He’s like Shatner that way, able to be terrific or horrible, but always watchable. There’s a great “so bad it’s good” movie called Black Magic about the early days of hypnosis, where he plays Cagliostro, an evil protege of Mesmer.

    • I haven’t seen Lady from Shaghai, Chimes at Midnight, The Trial, and MacBeth unfortunately. Welles always was at war with studio executives and while he never was successful in Hollywood, he produced some of the finest films ever made.

  4. The Third Man is far and away his best. His greatest performance and a stunning directorial achievement from Carol Reed.

    • It’s a mighty performance that I don’t think any other actor could have played. Reed’s use of slanted angles and lighting is also extraordinary.

  5. Well, let me just say it this way…
    …When it comes to Orson Welles as a Director, my favorite of his films has always been “Touch of Evil” and it likely shall always remain so.
    …When it comes to Orson Welles as an Actor, it has always been a deadlocked TIE for ME between, of course, “The Third Man” and “COMPULSION”. They’re both excellent films, both showcasing exceptionally strong Welles performances and, in BOTH films, Welles doesn’t even show-up until the middle of the films. :)
    Gotta love ‘em, Fo SHO! :D

    • Nice to see you back on the blogosphere. Can’t go wrong with Touch of Evil and The Third Man.

  6. I am big fan of ‘F for Fake’ (Welles having fun) and ‘The Trial’ (Amazing shots!).

  7. I for one enjoyed the voice over work he did for Transformers: The Movie back in ’86!

  8. Does he have to be directing? If not, it’s definitely The Third Man for me.

    • The Third Man’s definitely a true Orson Welles film even though he only directed it. It’s probably his best performance.

  9. Ambersons (a masterpiece) followed by Touch of Evil (another masterpiece).

    • Can’t go wrong with either. I really should see Ambersons in its entirety.

  10. Touch of Evil would be my pick as well. I was hooked right from that opening tracking shot.

    • Touch of Evil’s such a fantastic film. The opening tracking shot is so well-done and shows Welles’ power as a director.


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