August 2009


Martin Munkacsi

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I’ve posted an interview with Orson Welles by the famed BBC interviewer Michael Parkinson.  In it you saw a prototypical later day Welles performance.  Entertaining, yet depressing.  You hear a series of “you had to be there” reminiscences, expecting Welles to move on to something else.  Yet he never does, because there was nothing to move on to.  He knew his filmaking days were done, and to make money played the role of “Orson Welles” on talk and variety shows.

Here however witness an interview done by the CBC in 1960. A Welles struggling to find funding, but comporting himself as a man in a frustrating, but momentary rut. It is only two years after a Touch of Evil, his last great movie to be finished.  He conspicuously looks tired at points in the interview, which comes off as testy boredom until you compare it too the false geniality of the Parkinson interview; suddenly, you realize what you are seeing is actual emotion.  The disgust, dissapointment, and anger at a financial predicament, that only manifest because he has not yet given up.  This Welles would have scoffed at the suggestion his later years would be spent recycling gags on the Dean Martin Show.

So I guess this interview is depressing also.

Woman suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton testifying before congressmen in 1878 in support of the 19th amendment which went into effect his day in 1920.

One of the most depressing novels I have read. Up there with End of the Affair by Graham Green and The Idiot by Dostoevsky.   Who among us doesnt have a dank, lifeless job, and yet still imagines ourselve an  incognito intellectual rebel? Then one grey day you look up and your 30 years old.  Your once youthful face looks like the film on tepid soup.  The revolution passed you by.

Two great articles on Richard Yates in the NYT and Boston Review.

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