Intervista #1

This is a 1974 interview with Orson Welles, conducted by BBC stalwart Michael Parkinson.

In the 1970s, Orson Welles appeared on a great many television chat shows, generally avoiding any serious discussion of his filmmaking. It was a topic he would save for credulous interviewers, generally of the cinephilic variety, whom he knew would unhesitatingly, unquestioningly set down every crazed fabrication he might concoct with all the solemnity of the recording angel. The results were extremely entertaining for those in on the joke, but they often threw the shade of perversity perhaps a bit too far. Syncophancy as a spectacle might be fun to watch from the sidelines, but the ease with which Welles could embroider an already brilliant career (albeit with more than its share of self-inflicted misfortune) and get away with it was a little bit dispiriting. Babies put up more of a fight when you take candy away from them.

On programs such as Parkinson's, however, he was a nonpareil raconteur and bullshit artist, and everyone knew it. He played that larger-than-larger-than-life king-like persona to the hilt. They were beautiful performances.

In today's offering, Welles discusses a myriad of subjects: Acting, his one-time political aspirations (which I've never bought into . . . no film artist of his caliber could walk away from their art of their own volition, no matter how much agony they'd had visited upon them), Bullfighting, Spain, Hemingway, Churchill, the then-current Watergate scandal, and his own highly ambivalent feelings about Hollywood.

(My deepest thanks to Richard Gibson for providing me with this interview)

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