The Trial (1962)

Directed By – Orson Welles

Screenplay By – Orson Welles

Based on the Novel By – Franz Kafka

Cinematography By – Edmond Richard

Starring Anthony Perkins

118 min.

I haven’t read Kafka’s story, but if it’s anything like the movie it’s probably weird as fuck. This movie starts off by describing itself as “dreamlike” and that nicely explains how this movie works. This being my first viewing I know that I’ll have to watch this one again to fully understand some of it. It wasn’t necessarily confusing as much as it was disjointed. I don’t mind that either, but there would be jumps and it would take me a second to reestablish where the movie and the story was. In fact I really liked this style. One second we’re here and the next we’re somewhere completely different. It became somewhat of a game of “Where is the story?”

Welles does an amazing job with a minimal budget and gets a great actor in Perkins to go along for the ride.

If anything The Trial is a test of the audience’s patience and willingness to let a movie go where it will while have very little continuity to help the audience through. The movie isn’t gibberish, it just takes the way we process movies and flips it on it’s head.

All in all, The Trial is a feat in the idea that the cinema can be very much a dreamlike experience.

God Bless America

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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Directed By – Orson Welles

Screenplay By – Orson Welles

Cinematography By – Stanley Cortez

Starring – Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello & Tim Holt

88 min.

Now this is an Orson Welles movie. The characters are grand and the images are grander. Unfortunately, The Magnificent Ambersons is a fraction of what Welles had envisioned, being cut and rearranged by Hollywood producers. However, what is still left is a great artifact of cinema history and shows what the young director was capable of.

Joseph Cotten is remarkable, giving an almost eerily prophetic speech about the creation of automobiles, and Tim Holt is perfect as the detestable George Amberson.

This is one which makes me love Welles and hate Hollywood. But don’t not watch this because of what it is not, watch it because of what it is, an extremely rich cinematic text.

God Bless America

The Stranger (1946)

Directed By – Orson Welles

Screenplay By – Anthony Veiller

Cinematography By – Russell Metty

Starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young & Orson Welles

115 min.

The Stranger seems more Hitchcock than Welles and that sums up how I feel about this movie. It’s not a terrible 40’s thriller, it’s just that when I watch a Welles movie I want a Welles movie, not a decent attempt to make a Hollywood film, which is what this is. I want something that is grander and more ambitious than a typical Hollywood thriller. Of course you can’t blame Welles for trying to get back into Hollywood, but he’s clearly not giving us the best cinema he is capable of and it shows.

If you want a 40’s thriller about evil coming into quaint American towns watch a Hitchcock movie, not this.

God Bless America