Monday, January 19, 2015


HULUPALOOZA!(Post 7 of 12)

I first became aware of Orson Welles as the heavy-set, caped guy with the grayish beard you see in the picture above. These initial impressions stem from appearances by Welles on the Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show, Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and Paul Masson Wine commercials ("We will sell no wine...before it's time."). He also was quite entertaining as an amateur magician and with his soaring voice that accompanied his pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he was pretty impressive. I didn't then realize his reputation and influence had really taken a hit from the days when he had made classics films such as The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil and of course Citizen Kane, which cemented his reputation as the great auteur in the long run, but in the short term made it hard for him to finance projects with the studios.

But F for Fake proves the old master still had some tricks up his sleeve. It isn't exactly a documentary-but it is. It isn't really on the level-but it is and it isn't mostly about Welles-but it is.

Most of the story revolves around a famed Hungarian painter named Elmyr de Hory, whose fraudulent imitation of masterpieces are probably still hanging in Art Museums posing as the real thing. de Hory's biographer is Clifford Irving, who turns out is a fake, too.! Irving's fakery involved his biography of Howard Hughes from the early 70's, though it turned out later that Clifford never actually met Mr. Hughes. And in F is for Fake the fake was writing about another fake! And to top it off, there is Welles, who becomes part of the story with his own biography and ads a bit of fakery at the end of the film involving himself and the stunning Oja Kodar.

The movie is all over the place, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Peter Bogdanavich says in an interview that if you are on the same wavelength as F for Fake it is stunning. If you aren't, you probably won't care for it too much. I'm of the former and I'm glad the 1001 book added this one in the latest edition or it's pretty unlikely I'd have ever watched it.


  1. I felt this was easily one of the best adds when they did the 10th anniversary edition. And like you I probably would never have watched it otherwise.

  2. I find Welles a fascinating figure. I've thought of tackling Simon Callow's biography of Welles, but haven't yet.