July 20th, 2013


Orson Welles: Barbara Leaming

It's the 1970s. Stephen Spielberg is the king of Hollywood. Orson Welles has cast Stephen's girlfriend Amy Irving in his new film. Stephen and Amy ask Orson round for dinner. Stephen fawns on Orson (well you would, wouldn't you?) and Orson reckons the time is propitious to ask his greatest fan if he could intervene in the little problem he has arranging distribution for the new movie. Stephen says, "No."

The movie was The Cradle Rocks. Decades later someone else made it. It's a story about an incident in Orson's own early life- when he was a theatrical wundkind. Can you imagine how fascinating that would have been? 'd give every movie Spielberg ever made to possess it.

Next time Jurassic Park II or The War of the Worlds or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls comes on the TV I'm going to switch the fuckers off.

It's heartbreaking how many films Welles nearly got to make and didn't. Can you imagine his version of War and Peace? Or King Lear? Or Cyrano de Bergerac? Or Catch 22? He had rotten luck- and not much of a business brain. He was routinely cheated and betrayed and messed about with by producers.

In his last decade he was Hollywood's grand old man. People like Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and all that crowd were flattered to get to pal around with him. Would any of them dip in their deep pockets or use their influence to help him realize any of his projects? Well, of course not. The only people who were prepared to put themselves out for him were Henry Jaglom and the aged (but still bankable) John Huston.

The greatest American artist of the 20th century and no-one wanted to buy any art from him. Pitiful!


My mother has lost a hearing aid. This happens a lot. Only usually we find them again pretty quickly. This time she says she put it on her bedside table and it dropped off.  Shouldn't be difficult to locate, should it?  OK, things often bounce further than seems feasible, but there's still only a relatively small area of floor-space to search. Well I've been down on my stomach, I've moved furniture, I've done everything bar take the carpet up and there's no sign of it.

I think the fairies stole it away.