For Welles Fanatics Only
Bill Fleck | Wurtsboro, NY USA | 01/14/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When Orson Welles died in 1985, he left behind a body of unfinished work almost legendary among cinephiles. The cinematographer on most of these projects was Gary Graver. WORKING WITH ORSON WELLES is Graver's take on that body of unfinished work. Sight unseen, you might expect some clips from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, THE DREAMERS, KING LEAR, and perhaps even DON QUIXOTE. Unfortunately, perhaps for legal reasons, this work is short on such items. In fact, WORKING WITH WELLES is short on Welles himself. Oh, there are stories...lots of stories...Graver interviews several people involved in the filming of WIND and talks endlessly himself about how much of an honor it was to work with the Man. But in the end, these interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, Cameron Mitchell, Frank Marshall, and others get rather dull. And Graver's canned introductions are even harder to take. There are some interesting snippets of Welles working in Italy, and the inclusion of the trailer for F FOR FAKE is nice, but two of Gravers' short films seem to be here for no other reason than Graver feels that they should be seen (ditto the trailer for Oja Kodar's JADED, a film it seems she was able to make solely on the strength of her association with Welles). In short, then, WORKING WITH ORSON WELLES is a curio for Welles fanatics only. Others will find it somewhat less than interesting."
Document of the last 15 years of the life
Kevin Lindgren | Twin Cities, MN United States | 02/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"of a filmmaker. As such, this film is of legitimate interest not only to die-hard fans of Welles but also to anyone with a serious interest in the history of film.
The flaws are there: too little Welles; too much, perhaps, of Mr. Graver, whose persona cannot help but seem a little flat compared to the over-the-top Orson. The clips from F for Fake and the trailer for Citizen Kane are available elsewhere. Only the F for Fake trailer is really new. It's the hard-to-find Orson Welles: One-Man Band that apparently contains actual segments from Other Side of the Wind, the "unfinished" film on which Gravers did his most important work with Welles.
However the various Welles stories provide a chronology of the making of a pontentially great film, and provide genuine insight into how Welles worked with actors and camera crews, as well as the "guerilla" filmmaking style of the '70s, normally associated with Coppola, Scorsese and Lucas, but hardly with Orson Welles. Working with Orson Welles helps to sketch one part of an era of American movie-making -- the important years 1970-1985 -- which otherwise might have remained undocumented."
Will the REAL Orson Welles please step forward!
Michael Ryan | Denver, Colorado | 12/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this documentary by the last cinematographer to work with Orson Welles
to be a fascinating insight into the personality and working life of the cinema's
most famous director. It is told in a straight-forward honest viewpoint and does
not gloss-over the brilliant, but egocentric, creator of some of the milestones of
Twentieth Century Cinema. This is a portrait of Orson in his declining years, when
he was working on strictly personal and low-budget projects, at a time when he
had lost any studio or financial support. It's an uncommon documentary by Peter
Jason, the cinematographer and Welles confidant, giving us a glimpse into some
of the later, obscure, and lost or unreleased works of the master filmmaker.
We see film clips and scenes, as well as behind the scenes interviews, and rare
workprint material, that gives us some idea, some impression, of where the
restless creativity of Welles was headed in the declining years of his life. This DVD
is highly recommended to fans of the life and works of Orson Welles and would
be invaluable to any student of the cinema or those interested in the life and work
of one of the creative giants of the American Cinema. Get this one quickly if you
can find a copy as it is "out-of-print" and becoming scarce."