Friday, September 12, 2008

Orson Welles' Don Quixote

Long one of the missing links and great mysteries of Orson Welles’ career, Don Quixote has long been rumored to have been his lost masterpiece, languishing in the vaults unfinished with only a few stills leaking to the general public. Like many things in Welles' life, the reality is a beguiling mix of visionary genius and incomplete dreams. It is clear that the movie is unfinished. The sound is patchy and there is frustratingly little information available on what exactly Welles’ assistant Jess Franco did in post-production to get this film release worthy. With that said Orson Welles Don Quixote is essential viewing. Like Picasso’s elemental paintings of these characters Welles adds definitive images to the lexicon of this important work. He also lends his own stamp to the story, allowing the modern world and his own movie-within-a-movie presence to collide with the lead characters. Because it is impossible to know exactly what Welles intended for the finished product it is most satisfying to just sit back and allow the amazing images to wash over you and burn themselves into your memory.

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