|Carl Van Vechten|
1. Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915.
2. As a filmmaker, his three greatest pictures, in order, are Touch of Evil (1958), Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).
3. Ah, yes, but Citizen Kane tops many lists as the greatest film of all time (with Welles filling the top slot on many directing lists). The fictional story of a megalomaniac newspaper magnate (loosely based on William Randolph Hearst) and innocence lost is indeed a masterpiece . . . albeit a dated one. Newspaper magnates? Not in this century, bub.
4. John Houseman wrote in his 1972 memoir Run-through that the deeper he, Welles and Herman Mankiewicz took the script into the heart of Kane, the more the identity of Welles was exposed. "Between young Kane and young Welles, there is more than a surface likeness; in the dramatized person of Charles Foster Kane, 'Champagne Charley' was finally able to realize extravagances that far exceeded anything achieved in life by Richard Welles and his precocious son," Houseman wrote.
5. Kane and Welles also shared a fury, according to Houseman, whose association with the filmmaker dated back to their Mercury Theatre days. "A vague aura of violence surrounded the Hearst legend; there was the persistent rumor of the fatal shooting, in a jealous rage, of a well-known Hollywood director on a yacht off the Malibu coast. We made no reference to that episode in our script. We did not need it. The wanton, wordless, destructive fury which Kane wreaks upon the inanimate objects in his wife's room when he realizes she has left him was taken directly from our recent scene in the upper room at Chasen's. During its filming, Orson reproduced with frightening fidelity the physical gestures and the blind agony of rage with which he had hurled those flaming Sternos against the wall. The cuts he received on his hands on both occasions were, I was told, almost identical."
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