Yesterday’s news that three silent comedy shorts Orson Welles directed in 1938 for the Mercury Theater production of Too Much Johnson have been rediscovered, restored, and will be presented in October seems to have put Welles on many a cinephilic mind. Today, Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted his review of Bret Wood’s Orson Welles: A Bio-Bibliography for the Winter 1990–91 issue of Film Quarterly. Over 20 years ago, then, he wrote that “as a multifaceted research tool for anyone investigating the career of Orson Welles it is a veritable godsend—more valuable in some ways than any of the Welles biographies published so far.” Of course, Rosenbaum’s own book, Discovering Orson Welles, a collection of essays, interviews, and reviews, would appear in 2007.
As for Wood’s volume: “Regarding Welles’s radio work, he offers the first thing that even remotely approaches a comprehensive account, with a keen sensitivity to how that work relates to Welles’s work in both film and theater…. Although many people still believe that Welles’s film career essentially began and ended with Citizen Kane, there are surely even more who assume that his radio career began and ended with The War of the Worlds. Considering the fact that Welles did hundreds of radio broadcasts, educated and detailed commentary on this work has been by far the most gaping lacuna in Welles studies.”
If you’re looking to stuff your own gaping lacuna, start at wellesnet, founded back in 2001 and, by its own account, now “widely regarded by Welles scholars as the leading online source of information about the life, career and work of Orson Welles.” It does indeed run deep and wide. Among the most recent entries are Ray Kelly‘s conversations with Peter Biskind about My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Orson Welles and Henry Jaglom and with Todd Tarbox about Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts. And the site is planning a big, big 100th Birthday Celebration for 2015.
For further exploration, there’s the “Orson Welles” tag at Cinephilia and Beyond, where you’ll find documentaries to watch, screenplays to page through, and pictures to reblog. And there’s more viewing today at Filmmaker IQ, Orson Welles’ Sketchbook, a series of six short television commentaries on a variety of subjects made for the BBC in 1955.
First trailer for Spike Jonze’s Her with Joaquin Phoenix
More reading. Michael Apted’s Up series “illuminates the ongoing centrality—not the diminishing significance—of class,” argues Christine Walley at Public Books, “but it also demands a rethinking of the concept of class itself.”
New York. “More than 120 feature films and at least 7 television series have been based on novels and short stories by [Georges] Simenon, the prodigious Belgian writer who died in 1989,” writes Mike Hale in the New York Times. “Anthology Film Archives in the East Village is celebrating that prodigious output with Cine-Simenon, a series of 14 features, beginning on Thursday and running through Aug. 21, that explores what filmmakers have found in Simenon’s work as well as the many ways they have made use of it.” In the Voice, Jonathan Kiefer picks out several highlights.
Los Angeles. From today through Sunday, it’s Sundance Next Weekend, a four-day festival featuring screenings, panels, parties, and filmmaker workshops happening all over the city. For the Weekly, Amy Nicholson talks with the programmers and a few filmmakers and then chooses three top picks.
Berlin. The Asian Film Festival opens today and runs through Sunday.
Full trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, written by Cormac McCarthy and featuring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Penelope Cruz
In other news. “A blockbuster in its native Argentina, Juan Jose Campanella’s Foosball, one of the biggest films ever to come out of Latin America, will open September’s 61st San Sebastian Festival,” reports John Hopewell for Variety. Previous San Sebastian lineup announcements: 1 and 2.
“Following three rounds of assessment by the Korea Media Ratings Board (KMRB),” reports Pierce Conran at Twitch, Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius, set to premiere in Venice, “has finally secured a rating for general release” in South Korea.
In the works. For a few years now, Paul Reubens has been talking up a new Pee-wee Herman movie. As Matt Singer notes at the Dissolve, it might actually be coming together now.
“Kate Winslet and Judy Davis have signed on to star in the latest feature from Australian writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse,” notes Pip Bulbeck in the Hollywood Reporter. “The Dressmaker, billed as a stylish drama with comic undertones, centers on Tilly Dunnage (Winslet), who returns after many years in Europe to her small Australian outback hometown with revenge on her mind.”
Second trailer for Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks
List. Zola Jesus, née Nika Roza Danilova, picks her top ten Criterions, and her selections, notes the label, “reflect her love for science fiction and the surreal.”
Gallery. The Guardian presents a selection of photos from Hans Helmut Prinzler’s Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933.