Orson Welles? That, in any case, is the adjective chosen for MAGICIAN: THE ASTONISHING LIFE AND WORK OF ORSON WELLES, the new documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker, Chuck Workman. After watching the movie and letting it sink in a bit, TrustMovies suspects that it really is the right choice. At the time of the debut of Welles' various creations -- for legitimate theater, radio and film -- the populace (industry folk, too) were indeed astonished by the work of this "boy wonder," as the fellow was often called, well past the time he reached manhood. Even today, after some of his innovations have been re-used past cliche, his work stands up to scrutiny, and when coupled to the history we get here, astonishes all over again.
Among the interviewees are the likes of Simon Callow (whose ongoing biography of Welles was most likely a major source of information for the filmmaker), actress Jeanne Moreau, film critic Elvis Mitchell, directors Julie Taymor (shown below) and Robert Wise,
Walter Murch, actor/director Paul Mazursky along with many other smart and caring folk who fill us in on their experience with Welles. (The fact that many of those interviewed are now deceased would indicate that Workman has been preparing this movie for quite some time.)
Chimes at Midnight, in which Welles played Falstaff, once again. (Did we greatly misjudge that one at the time of its original release?) As well as his Macbeth, Othello, and even The Lady From Shanghai -- which remains forever wondrous and silly, priceless and misbegotten.