Well, today Orson Welles would have turned 100. 100! In order to commemorate this historic birthday, The Film Experience has dedicated this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot in his honor, challenging us to find shots from one of three of his early works. We were given the option to go with the beloved debut, Citizen Kane, the beautiful follow-up, The Magnificent Ambersons, or the little talked about film noir, The Lady from Shanghai. I chose all three.
Like, Orson Welles is one of my favorite filmmakers of ALL TIME, so how could I not.
Now, I could dissect these scenes, but honestly I am feeling a little drained as of late and so I'm going to just briefly explain why these are my favorite shots. Two of these have a common denominator, but the odd man out is probably my favorite of the bunch.
Here we go!
For me, there is an ode to the film's own timelessness here that I find so intoxicating. The shot is absolutely perfect, played out so fluidly and serves as a visually transcendent narrative that speaks to the film's own 'ahead of it's time' nature. This film's legacy, it's status in cinematic history, will go on to the ends of time.
The Magnificent Ambersons
Like I said, this odd man out (you'll see the common denominator connecting my next 'shot' with my previous one in a second) is probably my favorite shot of the whole lot, simply because it feels so representative of Welles nature as a filmmaker. Here he is, observing us observing him and it's eerily compelling and all the more reason why he's a LEGEND.
The Lady of Shanghai
This is not one of my favorite Welles' films. It's very good, but the studio tampering really dealt a blow to the film's finale. That being said, Welles' intricate detailing within his direction really anchors this film and shows itself a true savior in moments like this, where the film bleeds with an aching passion that says so much about the people Welles liked to talk about. That, and it's just breathtaking to look at.