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Sunday, May 06, 2018


Not long ago, Turner Classic Movies broadcast The Trial, and I tuned in to watch. To my surprise, this version of the Kafka classic was directed by Orson Welles, and to my further surprise, I thought it was at least as brilliant as Citizen Kane. I'm not going to review the film here, but I give it my highest possible recommendation; cinephiles should really seek it out.

A night or two after watching the film, I dreamed that I encountered Welles on a movie set. I gathered all my courage, walked up to him and said, "Mr. Welles, I'm sorry to bother you, but I just saw The Trial and I wanted to say I thought it was magnificent - maybe the best thing you ever made, and I've seen all of your films." (In fact, I have only seen about half of Mr. Welles' filmography.)

Welles turned ponderously to fix me with his immortal gaze, and spoke in those famously sonorous tones.

"My boy, my boy," he said, taking me in to his arms and crushing me in a bear hug, "Thank you. Thank you for seeing it." I could tell there were tears in his eyes.

I hope someone said that to him in real life. Welles was one of the great geniuses of film, and I'm astounded by the way his career went off course after Citizen Kane. I can only imagine what he might have created if his financers hadn't consistently abandoned him, leaving many projects unfinished or only partly realized. 

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