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11 Ratings

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

Directed by Chuck Workman
United States, 2014
Documentary, Biography


A look at the life and work of the great theatre, radio and film artist.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles Directed by Chuck Workman
Less important [than Around the World with Orson Welles], but still valuable, Workman’s Magician (in which — full disclosure — I make some brief appearances), aimed at casual mainstream viewers more than Welles specialists, is still to my mind the most serious and accurate of all the English-language documentaries about Welles, despite a few quibbles (e.g., the rather indiscriminate uses of soundtrack scores and a few contestable “facts”).
August 07, 2015
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[The film] couldn’t be more nuts and bolts if ram-raided B&Q in a monster truck. A prestige, linear retelling of the actor-director-raconteur-gourmand’s life which he would have – if his on-screen persona is to be believed – obviously despised for its drab conventionality, the film is a standard mix of gushing archive interviews and snippets from his movies, many of which were never completed during his lifetime.
July 01, 2015
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Workman’s agenda, as it has always been through his 30-year-plus career of celebrity docs and promotional films, is to put an effortless gloss on the cultural history, suitable for a mezzo-educated primetime. Thus, a degree of triviality is employed (restaurateur Wolfgang Puck is quizzed about watching Welles eat), and interviews are chopped into often puzzlingly fragmented soundbites.
June 05, 2015

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