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Orson Welles: The One-Man Band Reviews

Fascinating stuff. Nearly 10 years after the death of Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, the director's companion through the last 20 years of his life, finally opened her vaults -- OK, the storage shed -- and made available nearly two tons of film canisters containing fragments and brief shorts from the final phase of Welles' career. Kodar and documentary filmmaker Vassili Slovic culled over an hour's worth of footage from various projects to prove a point: That contrary to popular opinion, the twilight of Welles' career wasn't one long slide into hack-dom. Rather, he remained a vital and innovative filmmaker until his death. Among the evidence: A truly trippy trailer for F FOR FAKE; snippets from THE DEEP, an unfinished thriller later remade by Philip Noyce as DEAD CALM; bits of satirical, Monty Python-esque sketches; and, most importantly, two dazzling clips from the legendary THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND -- a work Welles assured fans and critics would surpass CITIZEN KANE in its importance and impact. Was Welles really the lifelong maverick Kodar claims, a true independent undone by poor financing and plain old bad luck? Judgment will have to wait until one or more of the films can be seen in its entirety. But this documentary offers a wonderful glimpse of what might await.