Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Birth Citizen Kane Shame of a Nation

"THE BIRTH CITIZEN KANE SHAME OF A NATION"-- Episode 11 annotations activate!

We started chatting about Harry Potter and Indiana Jones and I don't know that we need to have an overview of those pictures at all. They're pretty great and pretty popular, so they'll survive on their own without me yammering on about them. I'm going to skip on down to what I think is interesting. Right down to the nitty gritty.

Deal w/it, reader.

Later we moved on to Orson Welles and Citizen Kane and I don't know if I have anything intelligent to add to the criticism of that film that hasn't already been said (which hasn't stopped me before, I realize). The DVD has two commentaries, as well, which is pretty fun, one from Peter Bogdonavich (who was one of Orson's friends and did extensive interviews with the man in his later life-- There's a whole slew of interviews I've got on my iTunes that I downloaded (I think from Warren Ellis' site-- I can't find the link, so I guess you can just hunt down Bogdanovich's book). I can't imagine that they're so hard to find) and one track with Roger Ebert, who I think is a delight.

Orson Welles is a fascinating character for his triumphs as much as his failures. He's kind of the archetype of the candle that burns too bright. He's as famous for being a fat lame who can't get financing as much as he is for being the wunderkind that redefined cinema. And, really, after a movie like Citizen Kane, does he need to do anything all else?

On one of the commentaries, Bogdanovich talked about a conversation him and Orson had about Marlene Dietrich (stop me if I've told you this one before), where Peter says "It's a shame that she's such a great actress, but she was only in two or three great films." After a pause Orson replies, "Yes, but you only need the one."

So there's that.

(I think I stole a line from Joe Dante in this week's episode. There's worse people to steal lines from, I think.)

Anyways, with that said, Mr. Arkadin is one of his failures, I'd wager. It's a fun movie and it's an interesting movie for a couple of reasons, but it's a flawed one and it's even more flawed than A Touch of Evil, which is a few scenes of utter brilliance inter-cut with long tracts of Mexican fever dreams (I mean, it has Charles Heston playing a Mexican in it, come on). I bought it. You can check out the DVD set here. It's definitely worth a rental, because even has a B-movie, it's an Orson Welles B-movie.

It's also got a hot Italian (Spanish?) chick as Welles' daughter. So look out for that.

Speaking of the Orson Welles eyebrow thing, it's this eye brow thing:

And I bet you thought I was crazy. Well, who's crazy now, hypothetical podcast fan?

Anyways, then Joe and I started talking about Last Tango in Paris, which I was partially wrong about. The X rating lasted from 1968 until the late 90's (not the 80's as I had thought) and there are even less X-rated films than the "couple of dozen" I had thought there were. In fact wikipedia lists all of them-- with a synopsis-- and you could read about all of those movies in less than ten minutes.

That still doesn't mean that the history of the X rating is any less of a curiosity.

(By the way, Netflix produced a documentary called This Film is Not Yet Rated, which is a pretty damning rebuke of the MPAA's whole system. And, for bonus points, here's a Mark Kermode commentary that I stole some lines from. I'm a thief. Happy now?)

Here's what a good Gregory Peck sounds like--

What a boring, boring speech. Now, with that said, that Sophia Loren is one spicy meatball!

Here's what a good John Huston sounds like--

What a great movie.


I'd watch the fuck out of that, too. You better believe I would.

Now, I've got some drawings to ink and some wine to drink. Mr. Welles, please play us out--

Oh man, even when he's drunk as skunk, he's fucking as awesome. Kind of wish he did the eyebrow thing at the end, though.

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