Thursday, January 20, 2011
Me and Orson Welles....
IMAGINE BEING ORSON WELLES. Imagine that you are a genius and a rogue. And somewhere down the line, way after you've died and gone to the big screen in the sky, an audacious director decides to make a movie about your early days.
You shrug and scoff in a knowing way. No one could be you! Well then, you'd be wrong. Some young actor sidles up to the role, and smooths it to fit his skin in an uncanny way. Black magic, I'd say.
The director, Richard Linklater, in 2008, found a young stage actor from Britain, by the name of Christian McKay, to play the very young Orson, in "Me and Orson Welles ". It is about the exceptional moment in time when Welles was starring in, directing, and producing the first Julius Caesar to play Broadway, in 1937.
That was the time of the beginning of the Mercury Theater. A young high school student, a confident and ambitious dreamer, played by Zac Efron, (yes! yes!) literally stumbles into the path of Orson Welles. This high energy and entertaining film, also starring Claire Daines,( cool as a cucumber), as a sort of stage manager, runs amok with ambition. But none more so than the great Welles. By the way, the nostalgic sepia tone of the film tends to make Daines and the others look ravishing.
The heart of the movie is the balancing act of Welles trysts and betrayals, and the historic opening night of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, on Broadway. The sets, the clothes, the music, seem quite authentic. McKay is fascinating as Welles, encompassing all his countless charms. We also get to see him enact the role of Brutus. Was the real Welles better?
I highly recommend this film about an intimidating genius, who just happened to be a very assured rascal with the ladies. What a surprise! Charming all the way.
Saw it on the easy to access Netflix, or get it on a DVD.