Orson Welles Movies and Career Information

Orson Welles profile image
Taurus
May 06, 1915
Kenosha
Actor, Director, Producer and Writer
George Orson Welles was an American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theater, radio and film. He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media, most notably Caesar, a groundbreaking Broadway adaptation of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre; The War of the Worlds, one of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio; and Citizen Kane, consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films. After directing a number of high-profile productions in his early twenties, including an innovative adaptation of Macbeth and The Cradle Will Rock, Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds performed for the radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It reportedly caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring. Although these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed Welles to notoriety. His first film was Citizen Kane, which he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in as Charles Foster Kane. Welles was an outsider to the studio system and directed only 13 full-length films in his career. While he struggled for creative control from the major film studios, his films were heavily edited and others remained unreleased. His distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, innovative uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots, and long takes. He has been praised as a major creative force and as "the ultimate auteur." Welles followed up Citizen Kane with critically acclaimed films, including The Magnificent Ambersons in 1942, and Touch of Evil in 1958.

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