Thursday, 30 December 2010

Me and Orson Wells

I had wanted to go and see Me and Orson Welles in theatre although never a great Orson Wells fan in the way of other actors of the same generation although I do accept that Citizen Kane is a great film and always enjoy his appearance in the Third Man. Anyway this films is a rites of passage film in which Christian McKay who plays Wells shows 17 year old Richard Samuels the facts of life. Richard comes to New York to study and by good fortune which stretches belief gets a part in a low budget, save the off Broadway theatre production of Julius Caesar. The larger than life actor playing actor is having an extra marital affair with his leading lady, something which shocks the well brought up innocent 17 year old. He is taken under the wind of the older (Mrs Robinson) production assistant.

The night before curtain up Welles insists the cast go off in pairs to enjoy the night, draw at random, although the 17 year old fixes it to go off with the production assistant and they spend the night together. He falls in love and despite being told the reality the ambitious get to Hollywood production assistant then sleeps with Wells which causes the 17 year old to give Wells a piece of his mind. Wells keeps the lad in the play which is a great success, but only until he can arrange a replacement. The young man learns his lesson.

At the start of the film he meets a young ambitious rather plain looking young woman in music store who is setting out to become a writer. They meet up again just after he has got the part and she is feeling low about her lack of success. He offers to pass one of stories through a connection gained at the theatre. They meet for a third time at the end of film after her story is accepted and she is on the way to success.

The film was made in England, including the Isle of Man. Pinewood studios and Crystal Palace. The film had a budget of $25million and is reported to have made less that $3m yet received good media reactions as a film about putting on a play. It appears that the portrayal of Wells was a good one as the part gained a Best support actor BAFTA nomination. I was pleased to have got the film out of my system and that I had not taken the time and expense to view in theatre.

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