This minor, virtually unseen entry in Orson Welles’ filmography really deserves more exposure. It’s a sly little morality play very reminiscent of an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, but done with far more flair & skill.
Mixing a standard 1950’s style of TV play with still imagery, blending voice-over with the spoken dialogue & Welles himself addressing the audience, The Fountain Of Youth is years ahead of its time.
The tale itself is the sort of clever short story with a dark twist ending that might have been written by Roald Dahl & published by Playboy, then adapted for TV. It involves a jilted lover taking his revenge on a beautiful couple with a promise of eternal youth that tears them apart.
While it’s often interesting to look at early television productions with an objective eye, very few remain anything but vaguely amusing & ultimately dated curiosities. Welles’ lyrical, fluid style of direction & editing elevates what might easily have been a clever, but unremarkable, 1950’s TV play to something that remains impressive & watchable nearly half a century later. —IMDB
The prodigy son of an inventor and a musician, Welles was well-versed in literature at an early age, particularly Shakespeare, and, through the unusual circumstances of his life (both of his parents died by the time he was 12, leaving him with an inheritance and not many family obligations), he found himself free to indulge his numerous interests, which included the theater. He was educated in private schools and traveled the world. He found it tougher to get onto the Broadway stage, and get a job with Katharine Cornell. He later became associated with John Houseman, and, together, the two of them set the New York theater afire during the 1930s with their work for the Federal Theatre Project, which led to the founding of the Mercury Theater. The Mercury Players later graduated to radio, and their 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast made history when thousands of listeners mistakenly believed aliens had landed on Earth. In 1940, Hollywood beckoned, and Welles and company went west to… read more