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By Phil Hall | April 25, 2010

Orson Welles addicts will be intrigued to discover this rare 1960 interview that was shot in a Paris hotel suite and broadcast on Canadian television. For the most part, unfortunately, the conversation is less than engrossing.

Welles appears polite but unenthused for most of the chat – it is obvious that he would rather not have to answer another round of questions about “Citizen Kane” or his alleged reputation for being reckless. Furthermore, interviewer Bernard Braden seems to have only a passing knowledge of Welles’ career – when Welles tries to interject comments about his work in theater, Braden seems unaware of that aspect of the star’s output. Braden also makes several statements that Welles rejects with befuddlement, particular an odd observation that Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud did not have robust theatrical voices.

But that’s not to say that the interview is a complete dud. Welles speaks passionately about his then-current film production of “Don Quixote” (he gives the incorrect impression that the film is completed), and he recalls how Charlie Chaplin originally agreed to have Welles direct him in “Monsieur Verdoux” (Chaplin eventually directed him, with Welles stating he could have done a better job). And Welles manages to sneak in many amusing comments, especially when he complains that the urbanization of Rome is turning the Italian capital into “Philadelphia with spaghetti.”

Ultimately, the return of this long-unseen interview is strictly of interest to the most devoted of Welles completists.

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  1. chris deleo says:

    This interview is a must have for Welles enthusiasts. Conducted prior to his making “The Trial”, a film Welles believed was his greatest artistic achievement, surpassing Kane. The interview covers much ground and Welles is candid with his opinion of the folks with whom he could not find funding with for his projects.

  2. Billy says:

    I’ve seen clips of this and he’s not at his best. Anyone who wants to see the man at his most witty and fascinating should check out the interview he did with the BBC’s Arena in 1982. Criminally it hasn’t been released on DVD, hopefully this will prompt the BBC to issue it.

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