Marlene Dietrich

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Posted by kaori 03/15/2009 @ 20:07

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Female villains go corporate - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By William Loeffler, TRIBUNE-REVIEW From Marlene Dietrich's femme fatale in "The Blue Angel" to the double-crossing dames of film noir, bad women have played an integral part in Hollywood. And there would be no "Dynasty," "Melrose Place" or "All My...
'54 years together, 5 years married' - Boston Herald
For nearly 14 years, McMahon spent up to nine months at a stretch on the road as actress Marlene Dietrich's personal secretary, and Hodgdon threw himself into his work as a commercial and freelance artist to make the time go by. “Paul would say to me,...
Menswear for women - BusinessDay.com.au
It's flitted in and out of fashion for decades, ever since the 1930s when Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich became symbols of masculine glamour in tailored suits and ties. Yet the latest revival of man-style dressing has fashion scribes wondering...
Number, Please? Phoning in Love Again … - New York Times
By Alison Leigh Cowan In 1930, New Yorkers were beginning to fall in love with Marlene Dietrich, a crooner from Berlin who went on to become one of the reigning sex symbols of her day. She made her break-out film, “The Blue Angel,'' with the director...
CD: Andrea Fultz and the German Projekt - San Francisco Chronicle
The music of Kurt Weill, Friedrich Hollaender and Hanns Eisler, for example, has been "owned" by such singers as Lotte Lenya, Teresa Stratas, Marlene Dietrich and Ute Lemper. Yet, for some listeners, including this one, there are always delights when...
Marlene Dietrich died on this day in 1992... - Focus News
Actress Marlene Dietrich died on this day in 1992. Born in Berlin, Dietrich came to the United States in 1930 after considerable success on the German screen. She allegedly spurned several offers to return to Germany and star in Nazi films....
Palm Springs: Live the dream in the playground of the stars... - Daily Mail
... are evident in well-preserved villas, from the chip in the bathroom sink where Frank Sinatra threw a champagne bottle in a row with his second wife Ava Gardner, to the grand piano-shaped pool where Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich rolicked naked....
Poems by Picasso, Dalí, Churchill and Dietrich together in one book - Think Spain
Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich and Jim Morrison are not normally remembered for their poetry, but all composed poetry at some point during their lives and their immortal verses have been brought together in a new...
[HARDCOVER: UK] Game, set and love match - Taipei Times
Perry also romanced Marlene Dietrich while coaching her at tennis. According to Dietrich's daughter, Maria Riva: “Fred Perry taught my mother to play tennis with great patience and lots of little passionate hugs, punctuated with rapid kissing between...
Weekly fashion gossip - iAfrica.com
Experts at Clothes Show London cite the trio, along with Madonna, Marlene Dietrich and Jennifer Aniston, as pioneering the six make-up trends that shook the world. 'Cleopatra' beauty Elizabeth's heavy-kohled, smoky-eyed look, which she teamed with nude...

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich in Stage Fright trailer.jpg

Marlene Dietrich IPA: ; (27 December 1901 – 6 May 1992) was a German-born American actress and singer.

Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself. In 1920s Berlin, she acted on the stage and in silent films. Her performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel, directed by Josef von Sternberg, brought her international fame and a contract with Paramount Pictures in the USA. Hollywood films such as Shanghai Express and Desire capitalised on her glamour and exotic looks, cementing her stardom and making her one of the highest paid actresses of the era. Dietrich became a US citizen in 1939; during World War II, she was a high-profile frontline entertainer. Although she still made occasional films in the post-war years, Dietrich spent most of the 1950s to the 1970s touring the world as a successful show performer.

In 1999 the American Film Institute named Dietrich the ninth greatest female star of all time.

Dietrich was born Marie Magdalene Dietrich on 27 December 1901 in Schöneberg, a district of Berlin, Germany. She was the younger of two daughters (her sister Elisabeth being a year older) of Louis Erich Otto Dietrich and Wilhelmina Elisabeth Josephine Dietrich (née Felsing). Dietrich's mother was from a well-to-do Berlin family who owned a clockmaking firm and her father was a police lieutenant who had served in the Franco-Prussian War. Her father died in 1907. His best friend, Eduard von Losch, a first lieutenant in the Grenadiers courted Wilhelmina and eventually married her in 1916, but he died soon after as a result of injuries sustained during World War I.

Von Losch never officially adopted the Dietrich children, hence Dietrich's surname was never von Losch, as is sometimes claimed. She was nicknamed "Lene" (pronounced Lay-na) within the family. Around the age of 11, she contracted her two first names to form the then-unusual name, Marlene.

Dietrich attended the Auguste Victoria School for Girls from 1906 to 1918. She studied the violin and became interested in the theatre and poetry as a teenager. Her dreams of becoming a concert violinist were cut short when she injured her wrist.

In 1921, Dietrich auditioned unsuccessfully for theatrical director and impressario Max Reinhardt's drama academy; however, she soon found herself working in his theatres as a chorus girl and playing small roles in dramas, without attracting any special attention at first.

Dietrich made her film debut playing a bit part in the 1922 film, So sind die Männer. She met her future husband, Rudolf Sieber, on the set of another film made that year, Tragödie der Liebe. In the G. W. Pabst film, Die freudlose Gasse (1925), the actress playing Elsa is Hertha von Walther (1903-1987), who looks very much like the young Marlene Dietrich, giving rise to the false rumor that Dietrich has a bit part in this film.

Dietrich and Sieber were married on 17 May 1924. Her only child, daughter Maria Elisabeth Sieber, later billed as actress Maria Riva, was born on 13 December 1924.

Dietrich continued to work on stage and in film both in Berlin and Vienna throughout the 1920s. On stage, she had roles of varying importance in Frank Wedekind's Pandora's Box, William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah and Misalliance. It was in musicals and revues, such as Broadway, Es Liegt in der Luft and Zwei Krawatten, however, that she attracted the most attention.

By the late 1920s, Dietrich was also playing sizable parts on screen - the most notable films being Café Electric (1927), Ich küsse Ihre Hand, Madame (1928) and Das Schiff der verlorenen Menschen (1929).

In 1929, Dietrich landed the breakthrough role of Lola-Lola, a cabaret singer who causes the downfall of a hitherto respected schoolmaster, in UFA's production, The Blue Angel (1930). The film was directed by Josef von Sternberg, who thereafter took credit for having "discovered" Dietrich. The film is also noteworthy for having introduced Dietrich's signature song "Falling in Love Again".

On the strength of The Blue Angel's international success, and with encouragement and promotion from von Sternberg, who was already established in Hollywood, Dietrich then moved to the U.S. on contract to Paramount Pictures. The studio sought to market Dietrich as a German answer to MGM's Swedish sensation, Greta Garbo. Her first American film, Morocco, directed by von Sternberg, earned Dietrich her only Oscar nomination. However, at the time she knew very little English and so spoke her lines phonetically.

Dietrich's most lasting contribution to film history was as the star of a series of six films directed by von Sternberg at Paramount between 1930 and 1935: Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, and The Devil is a Woman. In Hollywood, von Sternberg worked very effectively with Dietrich to create the image of a glamorous femme fatale. He encouraged her to lose weight and coached her intensively as an actress – she, in turn, was willing to trust him and follow his sometimes imperious direction in a way that a number of other performers resisted.

A crucial part of the overall effect was created by von Sternberg's exceptional skill in lighting and photographing Dietrich to optimum effect — the use of light and shadow, including the impact of light passed through a veil or slatted blinds (as for example in Shanghai Express) — which, when combined with scrupulous attention to all aspects of set design and costumes, make this series of films among the most visually stylish in cinema history. Critics still debate vigorously how much of the credit belonged to von Sternberg and how much to Dietrich, but most would agree that neither consistently reached such heights again after Paramount fired von Sternberg and the two ceased to work together.

Without von Sternberg, Dietrich—along with Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Dolores del Rio, Katharine Hepburn and others—was labeled "box office poison" after her 1937 film, Knight Without Armour, proved an expensive flop. In 1939, however, her stardom revived when she played the cowboy saloon girl Frenchie in the light-hearted western Destry Rides Again opposite James Stewart. The movie also introduced another favorite song, "The Boys in the Back Room". She played a similar role in 1942 with John Wayne in The Spoilers.

While Dietrich arguably never fully regained her former screen glory, she continued performing in the movies, including appearances for such distinguished directors as Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, in successful films that included A Foreign Affair, Witness for the Prosecution, Touch of Evil, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Stage Fright.

In interviews, Dietrich stated that she had been approached by representatives of the Nazi Party to return to Germany, but had turned them down flat. Dietrich became an American citizen in 1939.

In December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II, and Dietrich became one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds. She entertained troops on the front lines in a USO revue that included future TV pioneer Danny Thomas as her opening act. Dietrich was known to have strong political convictions and the mind to speak them. Like many Weimar-era German entertainers, she was a staunch anti-Nazi who despised antisemitism.

The U.S. Government awarded Marlene Dietrich the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her war work. Dietrich has been quoted as saying this was the honor of which she was most proud in her life. She was also made a chevalier (later commandeur) of the Légion d'honneur by the French government.

Dietrich's recording career spanned over half a century. Prior to international stardom, she recorded a duet, "Wenn die Beste Freundin", with Margo Lion. This song, with its lesbian overtones, was a hit in Berlin in 1928.

In 1930, Dietrich recorded English and German-language selections from her film, Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel), for Electrola in Berlin. It was at this time that she recorded Frederick Hollander's "Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)" for the first time — it would become her theme song, to be sung in thousands of concerts and forever identified with her – although she personally hated it.

A 1933 Parisian recording session for Polydor produced several classic tracks, including Franz Waxman's "Allein in Einer Grossen Stadt." Dietrich recorded "The Boys in the Back Room" from Destry Rides Again for Decca Records in 1939. In 1945, she recorded her version of "Lili Marleen".

Dietrich signed with Columbia Records in the 1950s, with Mitch Miller as her producer. The 1950 LP Marlene Dietrich Overseas, with Dietrich singing German translations of American songs of the World War II era, was a hit. She also recorded several duets with Rosemary Clooney; these tapped into a younger market and charted.

During the 1960s, Dietrich recorded several albums and many singles, mostly with Burt Bacharach at the helm of the orchestra. Dietrich in London, recorded live at the Queen's Theatre in 1964, is an enduring document of Dietrich in concert. In 1972, Dietrich taped a television special, An Evening With Marlene Dietrich – also known as I Wish You Love – at the New London Theatre in London: the concert was re-released, with bonus material, as a 75-minute DVD in 2003.

In 1978, Dietrich's performance of the title track from her last film, Just a Gigolo, was issued as a single. She made her last recordings from her Paris apartment in 1987: spoken introductions to songs for a nostalgia album by Udo Lindenberg.

Asked by Maximillian Schell in his documentary, Marlene (1984), which of her own recordings were her favorites, Dietrich replied that she thought Marlene Singt Berlin-Berlin (1964) - an album featuring her singing old Berlin schlager (popular songs) - was her best-recorded work.

From the early 1950s until the mid-1970s, Dietrich worked almost exclusively as a highly-paid cabaret artist, performing live in large theaters in major cities worldwide.

In 1953, Dietrich was offered a then-substantial $30,000 per week to appear live at the Sahara Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The show was short, consisting only of a few songs associated with her. Her daringly sheer costumes, designed by Jean Louis, attracted a lot of publicity and attention. This engagement was so successful that she was signed to appear at the Cafė de Paris in London the following year, and her Las Vegas contracts were also renewed. It was the start of a new phase in Dietrich's career.

When Dietrich signed Burt Bacharach as her musical arranger in the mid-1950s, her show started to evolve from a mere nightclub act to a more ambitious one-woman show featuring an array of new material. Her repertoire included songs from her films as well as popular songs of the day. Bacharach's arrangements helped to disguise Dietrich's limited vocal range – she was a contralto – and allowed her to perform her songs to maximum dramatic effect.

Dietrich's return to Germany in 1960 for a concert tour elicited a mixed response. Many Germans felt she had betrayed her homeland by her actions during World War II. During her performances at Berlin's Titania Palast theatre, protesters chanted, "Marlene Go Home!" On the other hand, Dietrich was warmly welcomed by other Germans, including Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt. The tour was an artistic triumph, but a financial failure. She also undertook a tour of Israel around the same time, which was well-received; she sang some songs in German during her concerts, including a German version of Pete Seeger's anti-war anthem "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", thus breaking the unofficial taboo against the use of German in Israel.

Dietrich appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, with Bacharach as conductor, in 1964 and 1965 and made appearances on Broadway twice (1967 and 1968), winning a special Tony Award for her performance. Her costumes (body-hugging dresses covered with thousands of crystals as well as a swansdown coat), body-sculpting undergarments, careful stage lighting helped to preserve Dietrich's glamorous image well into old age.

In November 1972, a version of the show Dietrich had performed on Broadway was filmed in London. She was paid $250,000 for her cooperation, but Dietrich was unhappy with the result. The show, originally titled I Wish You Love, was broadcast in the UK on the BBC on 1 January 1973 and in the US on CBS on 13 January 1973. The show was retitled An Evening With Marlene Dietrich for the later VHS and DVD releases.

Dietrich's show business career largely ended on 29 September 1975, when she broke her leg during a stage performance in Sydney, Australia.

Dietrich's final on-camera film appearance was a cameo role in Just a Gigolo (1979), starring David Bowie.

Growing increasingly reclusive, Dietrich withdrew to her apartment at 12 avenue Montaigne in Paris. She spent the final 11 years of her life mostly bedridden, allowing only a select few -- including family and employees -- to enter the apartment. During this time, she was a prolific letter-writer and phone-caller. Her autobiograpy, Nehmt nur mein Leben, was published in 1979.

In 1982, Dietrich agreed to participate in a documentary film about her life, Marlene (1984), but refused to be filmed. The film's director, Maximilian Schell, was only allowed to record her voice. He used his interviews with her as the basis for the film, set to a collage of film clips from her career. The final film won several European film prizes and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary in 1984. Newsweek magazine named it "a unique film, perhaps the most fascinating and affecting documentary ever made about a great movie star".

She began a close friendship with the biographer David Bret, one of the few people allowed inside her Paris apartment. Bret is thought to have been the last person outside her family that Dietrich spoke to, two days before her death: "I have called to say that I love you, and now I may die." She was in constant contact with her daughter, who came to Paris regularly to check on her. Her husband, Rudolf Sieber, had died of cancer on 24 June 1976.

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2005, Dietrich's daughter and grandson claim that Dietrich was politically active during these years. She kept in contact with world leaders by telephone, including Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, running up a monthly bill of over US$3,000. In 1989, her appeal to save the Babelsburg studios from closure was broadcast on BBC radio, and she spoke on television via telephone on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

Dietrich died peacefully of renal failure on 6 May 1992 at the age of 90 in Paris. A service was conducted at La Madeleine in Paris before 3,500 mourners and a crowd of well-wishers outside. Her body, covered with an American flag, was then returned to Berlin, where she was interred at the Städtischer Friedhof III, Berlin-Schöneberg, Stubenrauchstraße 43-45, in Friedenau Cemetery, near her mother's grave and not far away from the house where she was born.

Unlike her professional celebrity, which was carefully crafted and maintained, Dietrich's personal life was kept out of public view.

Dietrich, who was bisexual, enjoyed the thriving gay scene of the time and drag balls of 1920s Berlin..

She married once, to assistant director Rudolf Sieber, a Roman Catholic who later became an assistant director at Paramount Pictures in France, responsible for foreign language dubbing.

Dietrich's only child, Maria Elisabeth Sieber, was born in Berlin on 13 December 1924. She would later become an actress, primarily working in television, known as Maria Riva. When Maria gave birth to a son in 1948, Dietrich was dubbed "the world's most glamorous grandmother". After Dietrich's death, Riva published a frank biography of her mother.

In 1938, Dietrich met and began a relationship with the writer Erich Maria Remarque, and in 1941, the French actor and military hero Jean Gabin. Their relationship ended in the mid-1940s. She was also known to have had an affair with the Cuban-American writer Mercedes de Acosta, who also had affairs with Greta Garbo, according to de Acosta's autobiography Here Lies the Heart (1960). Dietrich's husband and his mistress, both of whom she stayed in touch with, lived on a small ranch in the San Fernando Valley, California.

Dietrich was a fashion icon to the top designers as well as a screen icon that later stars would follow. She once said, "I dress for myself. Not for the image, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for men." Her public image and some of her movies included strong sexual undertones, including bisexuality.

A significant volume of academic literature, especially since 1975, analyzes Dietrich's image, as created by the movie industry, within various theoretical frameworks, including that of psycho-analysis. Emphasis is placed, inter alia, on the "fetishistic" manipulation of the female image.

In 1992, a plaque was unveiled at Leberstraße 65 in Berlin-Schöneberg, the site of Dietrich's birth.

A postage stamp bearing Dietrich's portrait was issued in Germany on 14 August 1997.

Luxury pen manufacturer MontBlanc produced a limited edition 'Marlene Dietrich' pen to commemorate Dietrich's life. It is platinum-plated and has an encrusted deep blue sapphire.

After some controversy, it was decided not to name a street after Dietrich in Berlin-Schöneberg, her birthplace. Rather, on 8 November 1997, the Marlene-Dietrich-Platz was unveiled in Berlin to honor Dietrich.

Dietrich was made an honorary citizen of Berlin on 16 May 2002.

On 24 October 1993, the largest portion of Dietrich's estate was sold to the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek — after U.S. institutions showed no interest — where it became the core of the exhibition at the Filmmuseum Berlin. The collection includes: over 3,000 textile items from the 1920s through the 1990s, including film and stage costumes as well as over a thousand items from Dietrich's personal wardrobe; 15,000 photographs, by Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, George Hurrell, Lord Snowdon, Eugene Robert Richee, and Edward Steichen; 300,000 pages of documents, including correspondence with Burt Bacharach, Yul Brynner, Maurice Chevalier, Noel Coward, Jean Gabin, Ernest Hemingway, Karl Lagerfeld, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Erich Maria Remarque, Josef von Sternberg, Orson Welles, and Billy Wilder; as well as other items like film posters and sound recordings.

The contents of Dietrich's Manhattan apartment, along with other personal effects such as jewelry and items of clothing, were sold by public auction by Sotheby's (Los Angeles) on 1 November 1997. The apartment itself (located at 993 Park Avenue) was sold for $615,000 in 1998.

Dietrich made several appearances on Armed Forces Radio Services shows like The Army Hour and Command Performance during the war years. In 1952, she had her own series on ABC entitled, Cafe Istanbul. During 1953 - 1954, she starred in 38 episodes of Time for Love on CBS. She recorded 94 short inserts, "Dietrich Talks on Love and Life", for NBC's Monitor in 1958.

Dietrich gave many radio interviews worldwide on her concert tours. In 1960, her show at the Tuschinski in Amsterdam was broadcast live on Dutch radio. Her 1962 appearance at the Olympia in Paris was also broadcast.

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An Evening With Marlene Dietrich

An Evening With Marlene Dietrich is a concert-format television special, starring Marlene Dietrich, first broadcast in 1973.

Alexander H. Cohen, who had produced Dietrich's successful Broadway runs of her one-woman show in 1967 and 1968, suggested a television version of her show.

Dietrich would receive a fee of $250,000 for her participation in the project. It was said at the time that this was the highest one-shot fee ever paid to a performer to appear on television. After two airings (one in the UK and one in the US), the copyright on the show would revert to Dietrich.

Lighting designer Joe Davis was brought in to recreate Dietrich's stage lighting and designer Ruben Ter-Arutunian designed a set featuring scrims and incorporating a Dietrich sketch by René Bouche. Dietrich's costumes were by Jean Louis, and Stan Freeman conducted the orchestra, using orchestrations of the Dietrich repertoire by Burt Bacharach.

Taping took place on November 23 and November 24, 1972. Dietrich gave two complete shows to non-paying, invitee-only audiences. Shots of Dietrich interacting with the audience were also taped at the end of the second concert. She also shot retakes of "Lili Marlene" and "Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)" (the latter both in English and German) sans audience against a black velour backdrop to facilitate a post-production split-screen montage of her singing beside old black and white stills from the 1930s and 1940s. The best selections from the various tapings would be combined to form the final, one-hour long special.

Originally titled I Wish You Love, the show premiered in the UK on the BBC on January 1, 1973 and in the USA on January 13, 1973 on CBS (sponsored by Kraft Foods). The original UK runtime was 54 minutes, but the show was trimmed down to 50 minutes to meet US network demands.

To promote the show, Dietrich had a photo sitting with Milton Greene, which produced a famous portrait of her, appearing to wear nothing but her famous swansdown coat.

CBS organised a press conference with Dietrich at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and an exclusive interview with Rex Reed to publicize the US network showing. At the conference and in her interview with Reed, Dietrich - to the surprise of her producers and the network - slammed the show, claiming it wasn't on par with her live shows, that rehearsal time was severely limited and that the show was technically inept.

Despite her statements, the show garnered good (if not spectacular) ratings and generally positive reviews from the press.

As a result of her interviews, she was sued by producer Alexander H. Cohen - successfully in the UK, but unsuccessfully in the US.

After its initial US and UK broadcasts, varying edits of the show were broadcast around the world, including Australia, Germany, France, Spain and South Africa.

For its home video release in the 1980s, the show was retitled An Evening with Marlene Dietrich (its current title).

A DVD version released by EMI in 2003 included five previously unreleased songs. The Dietrich estate sued EMI-Toshiba for including these unlicensed selections without their permission.

Previously unseen alternate takes of "Lola" and "You're the Cream in My Coffee" were included as bonus features on the Kino DVD release of The Blue Angel. This material comes from the Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin, which holds all unissued material related to the television special as part of its collection.

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Witness for the Prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution is a 1957 courtroom drama film based on a short story (and later play) by Agatha Christie dealing with the trial of a man accused of murder. This trial movie was the first film adaptation of the story, stars Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton, and features Elsa Lanchester. The movie was adapted by Larry Marcus, Harry Kurnitz and the film's director Billy Wilder.

Witness for the Prosecution was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Charles Laughton), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Elsa Lanchester), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, and Best Sound.

Sir Wilfred Robarts (Charles Laughton), a master barrister in ill health, takes Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power) on as a client, over the protestations of his private nurse, Miss Plimsoll (Elsa Lanchester), that the doctor had told him to stay away from criminal cases. Vole is accused of murdering Mrs. French (Norma Varden), a rich, older woman who had become enamored of him, going so far as to make him the main beneficiary of her will. Strong circumstantial evidence all points to Vole as the killer.

When Sir Wilfred speaks with Vole's German wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich), he finds her rather cold and self-possessed, but she does provide an alibi. Therefore, he is greatly surprised when she is called as a witness for the prosecution. While a wife cannot testify against her husband, it is shown that Christine was in fact still married to another man when she wed Leonard. She testifies that Leonard admitted to her that he had killed Mrs. French, and that her conscience forced her to finally tell the truth.

During the trial (in the Old Bailey, carefully recreated by Alexandre Trauner), Sir Wilfred is contacted by a mysterious woman, who (for a fee) provides him with letters written by Christine to a mysterious lover named Max. This correspondence gives her such a strong motive to lie that the jury finds Leonard not guilty.

However, Sir Wilfred is troubled by the verdict. His instincts tell him that it was too tidy, too neat. And so it proves. By chance, he and Christine are left alone in the courtroom. She takes the opportunity to take credit for the whole thing. When she heard him say at the beginning that a wife's testimony would not be convincing, she decided to set it up so that hers would be for the prosecution and then be discredited. An ex-actress, she had played the part of the mystery woman so well that Sir Wilfred did not recognize her when he negotiated for the letters. She knew that Leonard was guilty; her testimony was the truth. Her letters are a fraud — Max never existed. When asked why she did it, she confesses that she loves Leonard.

Leonard appears and, now protected by double jeopardy, nonchalantly confirms what Christine had said. A young woman (Ruta Lee) then rushes into his arms. When he admits that they are going away together, Christine kills him with a knife in a fit of fury. Sir Wilfred remarks that Christine did not murder Leonard, but that she "executed him". Miss Plimsoll then cancels Sir Wilfred's holiday, realizing that he cannot resist taking charge of Christine's defense.

In a flashback showing how Leonard and Christine first meet in a German nightclub, she is wearing her trademark trousers. A rowdy customer conveniently rips them down one side, revealing one of Dietrich's renowned legs, and starting a brawl. The scene required 145 extras, 38 stunt men and $90,000.

The management of this theatre suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture, you will not divulge the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution.

This was in keeping with the advertising campaign for the film: one of the posters for the film said: "You'll talk about it, but please don't tell the ending." The effort to keep the ending a secret extended to the cast. Billy Wilder did not give the actors the final ten pages of the script until it was time to shoot those scenes. The secrecy may have cost Marlene Dietrich an Academy Award, as United Artists didn't want to call attention to the fact that Dietrich was practically unrecognizable as the cockney woman who hands over the incriminating letters to the defense.

In the book Reel Justice, the authors noted that a lawyer of Sir Wilfred's experience should have been able to disallow Christine Vole's testimony for the prosecution on the grounds she was a "putative spouse" of Leonard Vole. A putative spouse is a person to whom someone (in this case, Leonard Vole) sincerely believes he or she is legally married. For the purposes of the trial under that situation, Christine would, in effect, still be considered Leonard's wife and spousal privilege would apply.

Additionally, it could be argued that Christine's testimony that Leonard had said "I have killed her" the night of the murder should have been objected to because it is inadmissible hearsay. However, most jurisdictions recognize an exception to the hearsay rule for statements made by the defendant.

Sir Wilfred would hardly defend Christine for murder when he himself is a witness to the crime.

The first adaptation of the Agatha Christie story was a BBC television production made in 1949, with a running time of 75 minutes.

In 1982, Witness for the Prosecution was remade as a television movie, starring Ralph Richardson, Deborah Kerr, Beau Bridges, Donald Pleasence, Wendy Hiller, and Diana Rigg. It was adapted by Lawrence B. Marcus and John Gay from the original screenplay and directed by Alan Gibson.

The play was first performed in Nottingham on September 28, 1953, opened in London on October 28, 1953 and on Broadway on December 16, 1954.

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Orson Welles

Orson Welles 1937.jpg

George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985), better known as Orson Welles, was an Academy Award-winning American actor, director, writer and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television, and radio. Welles was also an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety spectacles in the war years. Noted for his innovative dramatic productions as well as his distinctive voice and personality, Welles is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished dramatic artists of the 20th century. His first two films with RKO, Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, are widely considered two of the greatest ever made. His other films, including Touch of Evil and Chimes at Midnight, are also considered to be masterpieces. He is also well-known for a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds which, performed in the style of a news broadcast, reportedly caused widespread panic when listeners thought that a real invasion was in progress.

In 2002 he was voted as the greatest film director of all time in the British Film Institute's poll of Top Ten Directors.

Welles was born May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin and was brought up a Roman Catholic. He had English ancestry. Despite his parents' affluence, Welles encountered many hardships in childhood. In 1919, his parents separated and moved to Chicago, and his father became an alcoholic and stopped working. Welles's mother died of jaundice on May 10, 1924, in a Chicago hospital, four days after Welles's ninth birthday. After his mother's death, Welles ceased pursuing his interest in music. Richard Welles died when Orson was 15, the summer after Orson's graduation from the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, Illinois.

Maurice Bernstein became his guardian. Born in Russia, he came to Chicago in 1890, studied and became a successful physician. In a very few years, he had several wives, including the Chicago Lyric Opera soprano, Edith Mason. Edith divorced company director Giorgio Polacco to marry Bernstein. Not long thereafter, they divorced and she remarried Polacco.

At Todd, Welles came under the positive influence and guidance of Roger Hill, a teacher who later became Todd's headmaster. Hill provided Welles with an 'ad hoc' educational environment that proved invaluable to his creative experience, allowing Welles to concentrate on subjects that interested him. Welles performed and staged his first theatrical experiments and productions there.

On his father's death, Welles traveled to Europe with the aid of a small inheritance. While on a walking and painting trip through Ireland, he strode into the Gate Theatre in Dublin and claimed he was a Broadway star. Gate manager Hilton Edwards later claimed he didn't believe him but was impressed by his brashness and some impassioned quality in his audition. Welles made his stage debut at the Gate in 1931, appearing in Jew Suss as the Duke. He acted to great acclaim, acclaim that reached the United States. He performed smaller supporting roles as well. On returning to the United States he found his brief fame ephemeral and turned to a writing project at Todd that would become the immensely successful Everybody's Shakespeare, and subsequently, The Mercury Shakespeare. Welles traveled to North Africa while working on thousands of illustrations for the Everybody's Shakespeare series of educational books, a series that remained in print for decades.

An introduction by Thornton Wilder led Welles to the New York stage. He toured in three off-Broadway productions with Katharine Cornell's company. Restless and impatient when the planned Broadway opening of Romeo and Juliet was canceled, Welles staged a drama festival of his own with the Todd School, inviting Micheál MacLíammóir and Hilton Edwards from Dublin's Gate Theatre to appear, along with New York stage luminaries. It was a roaring success. The subsequent revival of Romeo and Juliet brought Welles to the notice of John Houseman, who was then casting for an unusual lead actor and about to take a lead role in the Federal Theatre Project.

By 1935 Welles was supplementing his earnings in the theater as a radio actor in New York City, working with many of the actors who would later form the core of his Mercury Theatre. He married actress and socialite Virginia Nicholson in 1934. They had one daughter, Christopher, who became known as Chris Welles Feder, an author of educational materials for children. Welles also shot an eight-minute silent short film, The Hearts of Age with Nicholson.

In 1936, the Federal Theatre Project (part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration) put unemployed theatre performers and employees to work. Welles was hired by John Houseman and assigned to direct a project for Harlem's American Negro Theater. He offered them Macbeth, set the production in the Haitian court of King Henri Christophe (and with voodoo witch doctors for the three Weird Sisters). Jack Carter  played Macbeth. The incidental music was composed by Virgil Thomson. The play was rapturously received and later toured the nation. At the age of 20, Welles was hailed as a prodigy.

After the success of Macbeth, Welles mounted the absurd farce Horse Eats Hat. He consolidated his "White Hope" reputation with Dr Faustus. This was even more ground-breaking theatre than Macbeth, using light as a prime unifying scenic element in a nearly blacked-out stage. In 1937, he rehearsed Marc Blitzstein's pro-union "labour opera" The Cradle Will Rock. Because of severe federal cutbacks and perhaps rumoured Congressional worries about communist propaganda in the Federal Theatre, the show's premiere at the Maxine Elliott Theatre was cancelled and the theatre locked and guarded by National Guardsmen. In a last-minute theatrical coup Welles announced to waiting ticket-holders that the show was being transferred to the Venice, about twenty blocks away. Cast, crew and audience walked the distance on foot. Since the unions forbade the actors and musicians performing from the stage, The Cradle Will Rock began with Blitzstein introducing the show and playing the piano accompaniment on stage, with the cast performing their parts from the audience. This impromptu performance was a tremendous hit.

Resigning from the Federal Theatre, Welles and Houseman formed their own company, the Mercury Theatre, which included actors such as Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Frank Readick, Everett Sloane, Eustace Wyatt and Erskine Sanford, all of whom would continue to work for Welles for years. The first Mercury Theatre production was a melodramatic and heavily edited version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, set in a contemporary frame of fascist Italy. Cinna the Poet dies at the hands not of a mob but a secret police force. According to Norman Lloyd, who played Cinna, "it stopped the show". The applause lasted more than 3 minutes and the production was widely acclaimed.

Welles was increasingly active on radio, as an actor and soon as a director and producer. He played Hamlet for CBS on The Columbia Workshop, adapting and directing the play himself. The Mutual Network gave him a seven-week series to adapt Les Misérables, which he did with great success. Welles was chosen to anonymously play Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, in late 1937 (again for Mutual) and in the summer of 1938 CBS gave him (and the Mercury Theatre) a weekly hour-long show to broadcast radio plays based on classic literary works. The show was titled The Mercury Theatre on the Air, with original music by Bernard Herrmann, who would continue working with Welles on radio and in films for years.

Their October 30 broadcast, H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, brought Welles notoriety and instant fame on both a national and international level. The fortuitous mixture of news bulletin format with the between-breaks dial spinning habits of listeners from the rival and far more popular Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy program, created widespread confusion among late tuners. Panic spread among many listeners who believed the news reports of an actual Martian invasion. The resulting panic was duly reported around the world and disparagingly mentioned by Adolf Hitler in a public speech a few months later. Welles's growing fame soon drew Hollywood offers, lures which the independent-minded Welles resisted at first. However, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which had been a "sustaining show" (without sponsorship) was picked up by Campbell Soup and renamed The Campbell Playhouse.

RKO Pictures president George Schaefer eventually offered Welles what is generally considered the greatest contract ever offered to an untried director: complete artistic control. RKO signed Welles in a two-picture deal; including script, cast, crew, and most important, final cut, though Welles had a budget limit for his projects. With this contract in hand, Welles (and nearly the entire Mercury Theatre) moved to Hollywood. He commuted weekly to New York to maintain his commitment to The Campbell Playhouse.

Welles toyed with various ideas for his first project for RKO Pictures, settling on an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which he worked on in great detail. He planned to film the action with a subjective camera from the protagonist's point of view. When a budget was drawn up, RKO's enthusiasm cooled, as it was greater than the previously agreed limit. RKO also declined to approve another Welles project, The Smiler with the Knife ostensibly because they lacked faith in Lucille Ball's ability to carry the leading lady role.

In a sign of things to come, Welles left The Campbell Playhouse in 1940, due to creative differences with the sponsor. The show continued without him, produced by John Houseman. In perhaps another sign of things to come, Welles's first actual experience on a Hollywood film was as narrator for RKO's 1940 production of The Swiss Family Robinson.

Welles found a suitable film project in an idea he conceived with screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (who was then writing radio plays for The Campbell Playhouse). Initially called American, it would eventually become Welles's first feature film (also his most famous and honored role), Citizen Kane (1941).

Mankiewicz based his original notion on an exposé of the life of William Randolph Hearst, whom he knew socially but now hated, having once been great friends with Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Mankiewicz was now banished from her company because of his perpetual drunkenness. Mankiewicz, a notorious gossip, exacted revenge with his unflattering depiction of Davies in Citizen Kane for which Welles got most of the criticisms; Welles also had a connection with Davies through his first wife. Kane's megalomaniac personality was also loosely modeled on Robert McCormick, Howard Hughes, and Joseph Pulitzer, as Welles wanted to create a broad, complex character, intending to show him in the same scenes from several points of view. The use of multiple narrative perspectives in Conrad's Heart of Darkness also influenced the treatment. Supplying Mankiewicz with 300 pages of notes, Welles urged him to write the first draft of a screenplay under the watchful nursing of John Houseman, who was posted to ensure Mankiewicz stayed sober. On Welles's instruction, Houseman wrote the opening narration as a pastiche of The March of Time newsreels. Taking these drafts, Welles drastically condensed and rearranged them, then added scenes of his own.

The resulting character of Charles Foster Kane is loosely based on parts of Hearst's life. Nonetheless, autobiographical allusions to Welles himself were worked in, most noticeably in the treatment of Kane's childhood, particularly regarding his guardianship. Welles then added features from other famous American lives to create a general and mysterious personality rather than the narrow journalistic portrait intended by Mankiewicz, whose first drafts included scandalous claims about the death of the film director Thomas Ince.

Once the script was completed. Welles attracted some of Hollywood's best technicians, including cinematographer Gregg Toland, who walked into Welles's office and announced he wanted to work on the picture. For the cast, Welles primarily used actors from his Mercury Theatre. He invited suggestions from everyone, but only if they were directed through him.

Mankiewicz handed a copy of the final shooting script to his friend, Charles Lederer, now husband of Welles's ex-wife Virginia Nicholson and nephew of Hearst's mistress Marion Davies. Hedda Hopper saw a small ad in a newspaper for a preview screening of Citizen Kane and went. Hopper, realizing immediately that the film was based on features of Hearst's life, reported this back to him and threatened to give "Hollywood, Private Lives" if that was what it wanted. Thus began the struggle over the attempted suppression of Citizen Kane.

Hearst's media outlets boycotted the film. It exerted enormous pressure on the Hollywood film community by threatening to expose 15 years of suppressed scandals and the fact that most of the studio bosses were Jewish. At one point, the heads of the major studios jointly offered RKO the cost of the film in exchange for the negative and all existing prints, for the express purpose of burning it. RKO declined, and the film was given a limited release. Meanwhile, Hearst successfully intimidated theatre chains by threatening to ban advertising for any of their other films in any of his papers if they showed Citizen Kane.

While the film was critically well-received, by the time it reached the general public the positive tide of publicity had waned. It garnered nine Academy Award nominations, but won only for Best Original Screenplay, shared by Mankiewicz and Welles. The delay in its release and its uneven distribution contributed to its average result at the box-office, making back its budget and marketing, but RKO lost any chance of a major profit. The fact that Citizen Kane ignored many Hollywood conventions also meant that the film confused and angered the 1940s cinema public. Exhibitor response was scathing; most theater owners complained bitterly about the adverse audience reaction and the many walkouts, and only a few saw fit to acknowledge Welles's artistic technique. RKO shelved the film and did not re-release it until 1956. During the 1950s, the film came to be seen by young French film critics such as François Truffaut as exemplifying the "auteur theory", in which the director is the "author" of a film. Truffaut, Godard and others were inspired by Welles's example to make their own films, giving birth to the Nouvelle Vague. In the 1960s Citizen Kane became popular on college campuses, both as a film-study exercise and as an entertainment subject. Its frequent revivals on television, home video, and DVD have enhanced its "classic" status, and it ultimately recouped its costs.

The 1996 documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane chronicles the battle between Welles and Hearst. In 1999, RKO 281, an HBO docudrama, tells the story of the making of Citizen Kane, starring Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.

Welles's second film for RKO was The Magnificent Ambersons, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Booth Tarkington. George Schaefer hoped to make back the money lost by Citizen Kane. Ambersons had already been adapted for The Campbell Playhouse by Welles, who wrote the screen adaptation himself. Toland was not available, so Stanley Cortez was named cinematographer. The meticulous Cortez, however, was slow and the film lagged behind schedule and over budget. Prior to productions, Welles' contract was renegotiated, revoking his right to control the final cut.

At RKO's request, simultaneously, Welles worked on an adaptation of Eric Ambler's spy thriller, Journey into Fear, which he co-wrote with Joseph Cotten. In addition to acting in the film, Welles was also producer. Direction was credited solely to Norman Foster. Welles later stated that they were in such a rush that the director of each scene was whoever was closest to the camera.

Welles was then offered a new radio series by CBS. Called The Orson Welles Show, it was a half-hour variety show of short stories, comedy skits, poetry and musical numbers. Joining the original Mercury Theatre cast was Jiminy Cricket, "on loan from Walt Disney". The variety format was unpopular with the listeners, and Welles was soon forced into full half-hour stories instead. To further complicate matters during the production of Ambersons and Journey into Fear, Welles was approached by Nelson Rockefeller and Jock Whitney to produce a documentary film about South America. This was at the behest of the federal government's Good Neighbor policy, a wartime propaganda effort designed to prevent Latin America from allying with the Axis powers. Welles saw his involvement as a form of national service, because his physical condition excused him from direct military service.

Expected to film the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Welles rushed to finish the editing on Ambersons and his acting scenes in Journey into Fear. Ending his CBS radio show, he lashed together a rough cut of Ambersons with Robert Wise, who had edited Citizen Kane, and left for Brazil. Wise was to join him in Rio to complete the film but never arrived. A provisional final cut arranged via phone call, telegram, and shortwave radio was previewed without Welles's approval in Pomona in a double bill, to a mostly negative audience response, in particular to the character of Aunt Fanny played by Agnes Moorehead. Whereas Schaefer argued that Welles be allowed to complete his own version of the film, and that an archival copy be kept with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, RKO disagreed. With Welles in South America, there was no practical means of having him edit the film.

Major changes occurred at RKO in 1942. Floyd Odlum took over control of the studio and began changing its direction. Rockefeller, the most significant backer of the Brazil project, left the RKO board of directors. Around the same time, the principal sponsor of Welles at RKO, studio president George Schaefer, resigned. The changes throughout RKO caused reevaluations of many projects. RKO took control of Ambersons, formed a committee which was ordered to edit the film into what the studio considered a commercial format. They removed fifty minutes of Welles's footage, re-shot sequences, rearranged the scene order, and added a new happy ending. Koerner released the shortened film on the bottom of a double-bill with the Lupe Vélez comedy Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost. Ambersons was an expensive flop for RKO, though it received four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Agnes Moorehead.

Welles's South American documentary, titled It's All True, budgeted at one million dollars with half of its budget coming from the U.S. Government upon completion, grew in ambition and budget while Welles was in South America. While the film was originally to be a documentary on Carnaval, Welles added a new story which recreated the journey of the jangadeiros, four poor fishermen who had made a 1,500-mile (2,400 km) journey on their open raft to petition Brazilian President Vargas about their working conditions. The four had become national folk heroes, Welles first read of their journey in Time. Their leader, Jacare, died during a filming mishap. RKO, in limited contact with Welles, attempted to rein in the production. Most of the crew and budget were withdrawn from the film. In addition, the Mercury staff was removed from the studio in the US.

Welles requested resources to finish the film. He was given a limited amount of black-and-white stock and a silent camera. He completed the sequence, but RKO refused to support any further production on the film. Surviving footage was released in 1993, including a rough reconstruction of the Four Men on a Raft segment. Meanwhile, RKO asserted in public that Welles had gone to Brazil without a screenplay and that he had squandered a million dollars. Their official company slogan for the next year was "Showmanship in place of Genius" which was taken as a slight against Welles.

On returning to Hollywood, Welles found no studios interested in hiring him as a film director after the twin disasters of The Magnificent Ambersons and It's All True. Welles afterward worked on radio. CBS offered him two weekly series, Hello Americans, based on the research he'd done in Brazil, and Ceiling Unlimited, sponsored by Lockheed, a wartime salute to advances in aviation. Both featured several members of his original Mercury Theatre. Within a few months, Hello Americans was canceled and Welles was replaced as host of Ceiling Unlimited by Joseph Cotten. Welles guest-starred on a great variety of shows, notably guest-hosting Jack Benny's show for a month in 1943. He took an increasingly active role in American and international politics and used journalism to communicate his forceful ideas widely.

In 1943, Welles married Rita Hayworth. They had one child, Rebecca Welles, and divorced five years later in 1948. In between, Welles found work as an actor in other directors' films. He starred in the 1943 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, trading credit as associate producer for top billing over Joan Fontaine. He also had a cameo in the 1944 wartime salute Follow the Boys, in which he performed his Mercury Wonder Show magic act and sawed Marlene Dietrich in half after Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn refused to allow Hayworth to perform.

In 1944, Welles was offered a new radio show, broadcast only in California. Orson Welles's Almanac was another half-hour variety show, with Mobil Oil as sponsor. After the success of his stand-in hosting on The Jack Benny Show, the focus was primarily on comedy. His hosting on Jack Benny included several self-deprecating jokes and story lines about his being a "genius" and overriding any ideas advanced by other cast members. The trade papers were not eager to accept Welles as a comedian, and Welles often complained on-air about the poor quality of the scripts. When Welles started his Mercury Wonder Show a few months later, traveling to Armed Forces camps and performing magic tricks and doing comedy, the radio show was broadcast live from the camps and the material took a decidedly wartime flavor. Of his original Mercury actors, only Agnes Moorehead was left. The series was cancelled by year's end due to poor ratings.

While he found no studio willing to hire him as a film director, Welles's popularity as an actor continued. Pabst Blue Ribbon gave Welles their radio series This Is My Best to direct, but after one month he was fired for creative differences. He started writing a political column for the New York Post, again called Orson Welles Almanac. While the paper wanted Welles to write about Hollywood gossip, Welles explored serious political issues. His activism for world peace took considerable amounts of his time. The Post column eventually failed in syndication because of contradictory expectations and was dropped by the Post.

In 1946, International Pictures released Welles's film The Stranger, starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young and Welles. Sam Spiegel produced the film, which follows the hunt for a Nazi war criminal living under an alias in America. While Anthony Veiller was credited with the screenplay, it had been rewritten by Welles and John Huston. Welles's most imaginative work on the film was cut out by Spiegel, and the result apart from some bravura sequences on the clock tower or evoking the small town atmosphere, was a comparatively conventional Hollywood thriller. It was successful at the box office but Welles resolved not to have a career as a cog in a Hollywood studio. He resumed his struggle for the creative control which had originally brought him to Hollywood.

In the summer of 1946, Welles directed a musical stage version of Around the World in Eighty Days, with a comedic and ironic rewriting of the Jules Verne novel by Welles, incidental music and songs by Cole Porter, and production by Mike Todd, who would later produce the successful film version with David Niven. When Todd pulled out from the lavish and expensive production, Welles supported the finances himself. When he ran out of money at one point, he convinced Columbia president Harry Cohn to send him enough to continue the show, and in exchange Welles promised to write, produce, direct and star in a film for Cohn for no further fee. The stage show would soon fail due to poor box-office, with Welles unable to claim the losses on his taxes. He wound up owing the IRS several hundred thousand dollars, and in a few years time Welles would seek tax-shelter in Europe.

At the same time in 1946 he began two new radio series, The Mercury Summer Theatre for CBS and Orson Welles Commentaries for ABC. While Summer Theatre featured half-hour adaptations of some of the classic Mercury radio shows from the 1930s, the first episode was a condensation of his Around the World stage play, and remains the only record of Cole Porter's music for the project. Several original Mercury actors returned for the series, as well as Bernard Herrmann. It was only scheduled for the summer months, and Welles invested his earnings into his failing stage play. Commentaries was a political soap-box, continuing the themes from his New York Post column. Again, Welles lacked a clear focus, until the NAACP brought to his attention the case of Isaac Woodard. Welles brought significant attention to Woodard's cause. Soon Welles was being hung in effigy in the South and theaters refused to show the The Stranger in several southern states.

The film for Cohn wound up being The Lady from Shanghai, filmed in 1947 for Columbia Pictures. Intended to be a modest thriller, the budget skyrocketed after Cohn suggested that Welles's then-estranged second wife Rita Hayworth co-star. Cohn was enraged by Welles's rough-cut, in particular the confusing plot and lack of close-ups, and ordered extensive editing and re-shoots. After heavy editing by the studio, approximately one hour of Welles's first cut had been removed. While expressing dismay at the cuts, Welles was particularly appalled by the soundtrack, objecting to the musical score he thought more suitable for a Disney cartoon and the lack of the ambient soundscape he had designed. The film was considered a disaster in America at the time of release. Welles recalled people refusing to speak to him about it to save him embarrassment. Not long after release, Welles and Hayworth finalized their divorce. Though the film was acclaimed in Europe, it was not embraced in the US for several decades. A similar situation occurred when Welles suggested to Charles Chaplin that he star in a film directed by Welles based on the life of the French serial killer, Henri Désiré Landru. Chaplin instead adapted the idea for his own film, Monsieur Verdoux, with Welles officially credited for the idea. The film proved a failure opening during a time when Chaplin was publicly vilified, but since has gone on to be acclaimed as a classic black comedy.

Unable to find work as a director at any of the major studios, in 1948 Welles convinced Republic Pictures to let him direct a low-budget version of Macbeth, which featured papier-mâché sets, cardboard crowns and a cast of actors lip-syncing to a prerecorded soundtrack. Republic did not care for the Scottish accents on the soundtrack and held up release for almost a year. Welles left for Europe, while his co-producer and life-long supporter Richard Wilson reworked the soundtrack. Welles ultimately returned and cut twenty minutes from the film at Republic's request and recorded narration to cover the gaps. The film was decried as another disaster. In the late 1970s, Macbeth was restored to Welles's original version.

During this time, Welles sought to adapt the radio and serial series The Shadow to the big screen. He aimed to direct, produce, write and star in the film, but the project collapsed when he failed to find any investors. The Mark Millar article detailing Welles's attempt at a Batman film is partially inspired by this.

Welles left Hollywood for Europe in late 1947, enigmatically saying he had chosen "freedom". This must refer to both acting offers and the possibility of directing and producing films again.

In Italy he starred as Cagliostro in the 1948 film Black Magic. His co-star, Akim Tamiroff, impressed Welles so much that he appeared in four of Welles's own productions during the 1950s and 1960s.

The following year, Welles appeared as Harry Lime in The Third Man, written by Graham Greene, directed by Carol Reed, starring Mercury Theatre alumnus Joseph Cotten, and with a memorable zither score by Anton Karas. The film was an international smash hit, but Welles unfortunately turned down a percentage of the gross in exchange for a lump-sum advance. A few years later British radio producer Harry Alan Towers would resurrect the Lime character for radio in the series The Lives of Harry Lime. The 1951 series included new recordings by Karas, was very successful, and ran for 52 weeks. Welles claimed to write a handful of episodes – a claim disputed by Towers, who maintains they were written by Ernest Borneman – which would later serve as the basis for the screenplay of Welles's Mr. Arkadin (1955).

Welles also appeared as Cesare Borgia in the 1949 Italian film Prince of Foxes, with Tyrone Power and Mercury Theatre alumnus Everett Sloane, and as the Mongol warrior Bayan in the 1950 film version of the novel The Black Rose (again with Tyrone Power). During this time, Welles was channeling his money from acting jobs into a self-financed film version of Shakespeare's play Othello.

From 1949 to 1951, Welles worked on Othello, filming on location in Europe and Morocco. The film featured Welles's old friends Micheál MacLíammóir as Iago and Hilton Edwards as Desdemona's father Brabantio. Suzanne Cloutier starred as Desdemona and Campbell Playhouse alumnus Robert Coote appeared as Iago's associate Roderigo.

Filming was suspended several times as Welles ran out of funds and left to find other acting jobs, accounted in detail in MacLiammóir's published memoir Put Money in Thy Purse. When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival it won the Palme d'Or, but was not given a general release in the United States until 1955 (by which time Welles had re-cut the first reel and re-dubbed most of the film, removing Cloutier's voice entirely), and it played only in New York and Los Angeles. The American release prints had a technically flawed soundtrack, suffering from a complete drop-out of sound at every quiet moment, and it was one of these flawed prints that was restored by Welles's daughter, Beatrice Welles-Smith in 1992 for a wide re-release. The restoration included reconstructing Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's original musical score (which was inaudible) and adding ambient stereo sound effects (which weren't in the original film). Though still active in Italy, Lavagnino was not consulted. The subject of great controversy among film scholars, the restoration went on to a successful theatrical run in America. A print of the US version was released on laser-disc in 1995 and soon withdrawn after a legal challenge by Beatrice Welles-Smith. The original Cannes version has survived but is not commercially available.

In 1952 Welles continued finding work in England, after the success of the Harry Lime radio show. Harry Alan Towers offered Welles another series, The Black Museum, with Welles as host and narrator, and this would also run 52 weeks. Director Herbert Wilcox offered him the part of the murdered victim in Trent's Last Case, based on the novel by E. C. Bentley. And in 1953 the BBC hired Welles to read an hour of selections from Walt Whitman's epic poem Song of Myself. Towers hired Welles again, to play Professor Moriarty in the radio series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring John Gielgud, and Ralph Richardson.

Late in 1953, Welles returned to America to star in a live CBS Omnibus television presentation of Shakespeare's King Lear. The cast included MacLiammóir and the British actor Alan Badel. While Welles received good notices, he was guarded by IRS agents, prohibited to leave his hotel room when not at the studio, prevented from making any purchases, and the entire sum (less expenses) he earned went to his tax bill. Welles returned to England after the broadcast.

In 1954, director George More O'Ferrall offered Welles the title role in the 'Lord Mountdrago' segment of Three Cases of Murder, co-starring Badel. Herbert Wilcox cast him as the antagonist in Trouble in Glen opposite Margaret Lockwood, Forrest Tucker and Victor McLaglen. Old friend John Huston cast him as Father Mapple in his film adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, starring Gregory Peck.

Welles's next turn as director was the film Mr. Arkadin (1955), produced by his political mentor from the 1940s, Louis Dolivet. It was filmed in France, Germany, Spain and Italy on a very limited budget. Based loosely on several episodes of the Harry Lime radio show, it stars Welles as a billionaire who hires a man to delve into the secrets of his past. The film stars Robert Arden, who had worked on the Harry Lime series, Welles's third wife, Paola Mori, whose voice was completely dubbed by actress Billie Whitelaw, and guest stars Akim Tamiroff, Michael Redgrave, Katina Paxinou, and Mischa Auer. Frustrated by his slow progress in the editing room, producer Dolivet removed Welles from the project and finished the film without him. Eventually five different versions of the film would be released, two in Spanish and three in English. The version which Dolivet completed was retitled Confidential Report. In 2005 Stefan Droessler of the Munich Filmmuseum oversaw a reconstruction of the surviving film elements. Released on DVD by the Criterion Company, it is considered by Welles scholar and director Peter Bogdanovich to be the best version of Welles's original intentions for the film.

Also in 1955 Welles directed two television series for the BBC. The first was Orson Welles's Sketchbook, a series of six 15-minute shows featuring Welles drawing in a sketchbook to illustrate his reminiscences for the camera (including such topics as the filming of It's All True and the Isaac Woodard case), and the second was Around the World with Orson Welles, a series of six travelogues set in different locations around Europe (such as Venice, the Basque Country between France and Spain, and England). Welles served as host and interviewer, his commentary including documentary facts and his own personal observations (a technique he would continue to explore). A seventh episode of this series, based on the Gaston Dominici case, was suppressed at the time by the French government, but was reconstructed after Welles's death and released to video in 1999.

In 1956 Welles completed Portrait of Gina, posthumously aired on German television under the title Viva Italia, a 30-minute personal essay on Gina Lollobrigida and the general subject of Italian sex symbols. Dissatisfied with the results - Welles recalled he had worked on it a lot and the result looked like it - he left the only print behind at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The film cans would remain in a lost and found locker at the hotel for several decades, where they were rediscovered after Welles's death.

In 1956, Welles returned to Hollywood, guesting on radio shows (notably as narrator of Tomorrow, a nuclear holocaust drama produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration). He guest starred on television shows, including I Love Lucy and began filming a projected pilot for Desilu, owned by his former protégé Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, who had recently purchased the former studios of the now bankrupt RKO. The film was The Fountain of Youth, based on a story by John Collier. Originally deemed not viable as a pilot, the film wasn't aired until 1958. It won the Peabody Award for excellence. Welles's next feature film role was in Man in the Shadow for Universal Pictures in 1957, starring Jeff Chandler.

Welles stayed on at Universal to direct (and co-star with) Charlton Heston in the 1958 film Touch of Evil, based on Whit Masterson's novel Badge of Evil (Welles, who wrote the screenplay for the film, claimed never to have read the book). Originally only hired as an actor, Welles was promoted to director by Universal Studios at the suggestion (and insistence) of Charlton Heston. Reuniting many actors and technicians with whom he'd worked in Hollywood in the 1940s (including cameraman Russell Metty , make-up artist Maurice Siederman (Citizen Kane), and actors Joseph Cotten, Marlene Dietrich, and Akim Tamiroff), filming proceeded smoothly, with Welles finishing on schedule and on budget, and the studio bosses praising the daily rushes. After the end of production, the studio re-edited the film, re-shot scenes, and shot new exposition scenes to clarify the plot. Welles wrote a 58-page memo outlining suggestions and objections. The studio followed a few of the ideas, but cut another 30 minutes from the film and released it. The film was widely praised across Europe, awarded the top prize at the Brussels World's Fair.

In 1978, the long preview version of the film was rediscovered and released. In 1998, editor Walter Murch and producer Rick Schmidlin, consulting the original memo, used a workprint version to attempt to create a version of the film as close as possible to that outlined in the memo. This is at best a compromise that should not be mistaken for Welles's original intent. Welles stated in that memo that the film was no longer his version — it was the studio's, but as such, he was still prepared to help them with it.

As Universal reworked Touch of Evil, Welles began filming his adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote in Mexico, starring Mischa Auer as Quixote and Akim Tamiroff as Sancho Panza. While filming would continue in fits and starts for several years, Welles would never complete the project.

Welles continued acting, notably in The Long, Hot Summer (1958) and Compulsion (1959), but soon returned to Europe.

He continued shooting Don Quixote in Spain, but replaced Mischa Auer with Francisco Reiguera, and resumed acting jobs.

In Italy in 1959, Welles directed his own scenes as King Saul in Richard Pottier's film David and Goliath. In Hong Kong he co-starred with Curd Jürgens in Lewis Gilbert's film Ferry to Hong Kong.

In 1960 in Paris he co-starred in Richard Fleischer's film Crack in the Mirror. In Yugoslavia he starred in Richard Thorpe's film The Tartars. He also staged a play at the Gate Theatre in Dublin which compressed five of Shakespeare's history plays in order to focus on the story of Falstaff. Keith Baxter played Prince Hal and Welles called his adaptation Chimes at Midnight.

By this time he had completed filming on Quixote. Though he would continue toying with the editing well into the 1970s, he never completed the film. On the scenes he did complete, Welles voiced all the actors and provided the narration. In 1992 a version of the film was completed by director Jesús Franco, though not all the footage Welles shot was available to him. What was available had decayed badly. While the Welles footage was greeted with interest, the post-production by Franco was met with harsh criticism.

In 1961 Welles directed In the Land of Don Quixote, a series of eight half-hour episodes for the Italian television network RAI. Similar to the Around the World with Orson Welles series, they presented travelogues of Spain and included Welles's wife, Paola, and their daughter, Beatrice. Though Welles was fluent in Italian, the network was not interested in him providing Italian narration because of his accent, and the series sat unreleased until 1964, by which time the network had added Italian narration of its own. Ultimately, the episodes were restored with the original musical score Welles had approved, but without the narration.

In 1962 Welles directed his adaptation of The Trial, based on the novel by Franz Kafka and produced by Alexander Salkind and Michael Salkind. The cast included Anthony Perkins as Josef K, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Paola Mori and Akim Tamiroff. While filming exteriors in Zagreb, Welles was informed that the Salkinds had run out of money, meaning that there could be no set construction. No stranger to shooting on found locations, Welles soon filmed the interiors in the Gare d'Orsay, at that time an abandoned railway station in Paris. Welles thought the location possessed a "Jules Verne modernism" and a melancholy sense of "waiting", both suitable for Kafka. The film failed at the box-office. Peter Bogdanovich would later observe that Welles found the film riotously funny. During the filming, Welles met Oja Kodar, who would later become his muse, star and partner for the last twenty years of his life.

Welles plays a film director in La Ricotta - Pier Paolo Pasolini's segment of the Ro.Go.Pa.G. movie. He continued taking what work he could find acting, narrating or hosting other people's work, and began filming Chimes at Midnight, which was completed in 1966. Filmed in Spain, it was a condensation of five Shakespeare plays, telling the story of Falstaff and his relationship with Prince Hal. The cast included Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau, Fernando Rey and Margaret Rutherford, with narration by Ralph Richardson. Music was again by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. Jess Franco served as second unit director.

In 1966, Welles directed a film for French television, an adaptation of The Immortal Story, by Karen Blixen. Released in 1968, it stars Jeanne Moreau, Roger Coggio and Norman Eshley. The film had a successful run in French theaters. At this time Welles met Kodar again, and gave her a letter he had written to her and had been keeping for four years; they would not be parted again. They immediately began a collaboration both personal and professional. The first of these was an adaptation of Isak Dinesen's The Heroine, meant to be a companion piece to The Immortal Story and starring Kodar. Unfortunately, funding disappeared after one day's shooting. After completing this film, he appeared in a brief cameo as Cardinal Wolsey in Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of A Man for All Seasons - a role for which he won considerable acclaim.

In 1967 Welles began directing The Deep, based on the novel Dead Calm by Charles F. Williams and filmed off the shore of Yugoslavia. The cast included Jeanne Moreau, Laurence Harvey and Kodar. Personally financed by Welles and Kodar, they could not obtain the funds to complete the project, and it was abandoned a few years later after the death of Harvey. The surviving footage was eventually restored by the Filmmuseum München. In 1968 Welles began filming a TV special for CBS under the title Orson's Bag, combining travelogue, comedy skits and a condensation of Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice with Welles as Shylock. Funding for the show sent by CBS to Welles in Switzerland was seized by the IRS, reputedly due to the anger of Richard Nixon over a record Welles had not written but had narrated, the political satire The Begatting of the President. Without funding, the show was not completed. The surviving portions were eventually restored by the Filmmuseum München.

In 1969, Welles authorised the use of his name for a cinema in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Orson Welles Cinema remained in operation until 1986, with Welles making a personal appearance there in 1977. Also in 1969 he played a supporting role in John Huston's The Kremlin Letter. Drawn by the numerous offers he received to work in television and films, and upset by a tabloid scandal reporting his affair with Kodar, Welles abandoned the editing of Don Quixote and moved back to America in 1970.

Welles returned to Hollywood, where he continued to self-finance his own film and television projects. While offers to act, narrate and host continued, Welles also found himself in great demand on talk shows, and made frequent appearances for Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and Merv Griffin. Welles's primary focus in this period was filming The Other Side of the Wind, a project that took six years to film but has remained unfinished and unreleased. An early role was portraying Louis XVIII of France in Waterloo (1970).

Welles also narrated the beginning and ending scenes of the Bud Yorkin historical comedy Start the Revolution Without Me, which starred Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, and Hugh Griffith, among others.

In 1971 Welles directed a short adaptation of Moby-Dick, a one-man performance on a bare stage, reminiscent of his stage production Moby Dick Rehearsed from the 1950s. Never completed, it was eventually restored by the Filmmuseum München. He also appeared in La Décade prodigieuse, co-starring with Anthony Perkins and directed by Claude Chabrol, based on a detective novel by Ellery Queen. That same year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave him an honorary award "For superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures". Welles pretended to be out of town and sent John Huston to claim the award. Huston criticized the Academy for awarding Welles while they refused to give him any work.

In 1972, Welles acted as on-screen narrator for the film documentary version of Alvin Toffler's 1970 book Future Shock. The following year, Welles completed F for Fake, a personal essay film about art forger Elmyr de Hory and the biographer Clifford Irving. Based on an existing documentary by François Reichenbach, it included new material with Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotten, Paul Stewart and William Alland.

Working again for a British producer, Welles played Long John Silver in director John Hough's 1973 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island, which had been the second story broadcast by The Mercury Theatre on the Air in 1938. Welles also contributed to the script, his writing credit was attributed to the pseudonym 'O. W. Jeeves'.

In 1975, Welles narrated the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar, focusing on Warner Bros. cartoons from the 1940s. Also in 1975, the American Film Institute presented Welles with its third Lifetime Achievement Award (the first two going to director John Ford and actor James Cagney). At the ceremony, Welles screened two scenes from the nearly finished The Other Side of the Wind. Filming had begun in 1972 and by 1976, Welles had almost completed the film. Financed by Iranian backers, ownership of the film fell into a legal quagmire after the Shah of Iran was deposed. Written by Welles, the story told of a destructive old film director looking for funds to complete his final film. It starred John Huston and the cast included Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Edmond O'Brien, Cameron Mitchell, and Dennis Hopper. As of 2006, all legal disputes concerning ownership of the film have been settled and end money for completing the film is being sought, in part from the Showtime cable network.

In 1979 Welles completed his documentary Filming Othello, which featured Michael MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards. Made for West German television, it was also released in theaters. That same year, Welles completed his self-produced pilot for The Orson Welles Show television series, featuring interviews with Burt Reynolds, Jim Henson and Frank Oz and guest-starring The Muppets and Angie Dickinson. Unable to find network interest, the pilot was never broadcast.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Welles participated in a series of famous television commercial advertisements, acting as the on-camera spokesman for the Paul Masson wine company. The sign-off phrase of the commercials — "We will sell no wine before its time" — became a national catchphrase. He was also the voice behind the long-running Carlsberg "Probably the best lager in the world" campaign. The "probably" tag is still in use today. During coverage of these commercials on Ads Infinitum, Victor Lewis-Smith, a critic of Masson wines, fondly remarked that Welles endorsements of the wine were proof he was "a genius, but a lying bastard" and promptly showed an outtake of Welles being impossible to work with in a commercial shoot. In 1979 Welles also appeared in the biopic The Secret Life of Nikola Tesla.

In 1981, Welles hosted the documentary The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, about Renaissance-era prophet Nostradamus. In 1982 the BBC broadcast The Orson Welles Story in the Arena series. Interviewed by Leslie Megahey, Welles examined his past in great detail, and several people from his professional past were interviewed as well. It was reissued in 1990 as With Orson Welles: Stories of a Life in Film.

During the 1980s, Welles worked on such film projects as The Dreamers, based on two stories by Isak Dinesen and starring Oja Kodar, and The Orson Welles Magic Show, which reused material from his failed TV pilot. Another project he worked on was Filming The Trial, the second in a proposed series of documentaries examining his feature films. While much was shot for these projects, none of them were completed. All of them were eventually restored by the Filmmuseum München. Also during this time he recorded narration for the tracks "Dark Avenger" and "Defender" by heavy metal band Manowar.

During the early years of Magnum, P.I., Welles was the voice of the unseen character Robin Masters, a famous writer and playboy. His death forced the character to largely be written out of the series. He was also the narrator of the short-lived television series Scene of the Crime.

The last film roles before Welles's death included voice work in the animated films The Enchanted Journey (1984) and The Transformers: The Movie (1986), in which he played the planet-eating robot Unicron. His last film appearance was in Henry Jaglom's 1987 independent film Someone to Love, released after his death but produced before his voice-over in Transformers: The Movie. His last television appearance was on the television show Moonlighting. He recorded an introduction to an episode entitled "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", which was partially filmed in black and white. The episode aired five days after his death and was dedicated to his memory.

In 1932, Welles fell in love with the Mexican actress Dolores del Río. They lived through a torrid romance between 1938-1941 in spite of the fact that he was ten years her junior. They collaborated together in the movie Journey into Fear but the affair ended soon afterward. Dolores returned to Mexico and Orson married Rita Hayworth. Welles lived with Croatian-born actress Oja Kodar for the last twenty years of his life.

Welles went on to have three children with three different women: children's author Christopher Welles (born in 1937 with Virginia Nicholson), Rebecca Welles Manning (born in 1944 with Rita Hayworth) and Beatrice Welles (born circa November 1955 to Paola Mori).

According to a 1941 physical exam taken when he was 26, Welles was 72 inches (182.9 cm) tall and weighed 218 pounds (98.9 kg). His eyes were brown. Other sources cite that he was 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 m) tall. Welles suffered from a serious weight problem in later life that rendered him morbidly obese, at one point weighing nearly four hundred pounds. His obesity was severe to the point that it restricted his ability to travel, aggravated other health conditions, including his asthma, and even required him to go on a diet in order to play Sir John Falstaff. Some have attributed his over-eating to depression over his marginalisation by the Hollywood system.

In April 1982, Merv Griffin interviewed Welles and asked about his religious beliefs. Welles replied, "I try to be a Christian, I don't pray really, because I don't want to bore God." After the success of his 1941 film Citizen Kane, Welles announced that his next film would be about the life of Jesus Christ, and that he would play the lead role. However, Welles never got around to making the film. He narrated the Christian-documentary The Late, Great Planet Earth as well as the 1961 Biblical film about the life of Christ, King of Kings.

Welles was politically active from the beginning of his career. He remained a man of the left throughout his life, and always defined his political orientation as "progressive." He was a strong supporter of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, and often spoke out on radio in support of progressive politics. In particular, he was an early and outspoken critic of American racism and the practice of segregation. He campaigned heavily for Roosevelt in the 1944 election. For several years, he wrote a newspaper column on political issues and briefly toyed with running for office.

In his book, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?, writer Joseph McBride claims that Welles left America in the 1950s to escape McCarthyism and the blacklist, though Welles himself denied this. According to Welles, he personally asked the House Un-American Activities Committee to allow him to appear and "explain to you why I'm not a communist." They turned him down.

According to McBride, Welles disapproved of many of the excesses of the 1960s, and disliked the counterculture in general. Much of The Other Side of the Wind is taken up with a satirical depiction of countercultural tastes and style. Welles was also extremely puritanical about sex, and told his friend and biographer Peter Bogdanovich that his film The Last Picture Show was "a dirty movie". The only films Welles directed which contain overtly erotic elements are F for Fake and the unfinished Other Side of the Wind, which many attribute to Oja Kodar's influence.

On October 10, 1985, Welles did his final interview on The Merv Griffin Show, Welles died 2 hours later of a heart attack at his home in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, at age 70, the same day as Yul Brynner. Welles's ashes were buried on the property of a long time friend, retired bullfighter Antonio Ordoñez, in Seville, Spain.

Welles's exile from Hollywood and reliance on independent production meant that many of his later projects were filmed piecemeal or were not completed. In the mid-1950s, Welles began work on the Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote, initially a commission from CBS television. Welles expanded the film to feature length, developing the screenplay to take Quixote and Sancho Panza into the modern age. Filming stopped with the death of Francisco Reiguera, the actor playing Quixote, in 1969. Orson Welles continued editing the film through the next few decades and had supposedly completed a rough cut in the mid 1970s. By his death however, the footage of many scenes had been lost around the world during Welles's travels. A search continues for Orson Welles's later edits and other missing footage, but they likely no longer exist. An incomplete version of the film was released in 1992.

In 1970 Welles began shooting The Other Side of the Wind, about the effort of a film director (played by John Huston) to complete his last Hollywood picture, and is largely set at a lavish party. Although in 1972 the film was reported by Welles as being "96% complete", the negative remained in a Paris vault until 2004, when Peter Bogdanovich (who also acted in the film) announced his intention to complete the production. Peter Bogdanovich is currently in the process of editing the footage, and it is scheduled to be completed and released through Showtime sometime in 2009. Some footage is included in the documentary Working with Orson Welles (1993).

Other unfinished projects include The Deep, an adaptation of Charles Williams' Dead Calm — abandoned in 1970 one scene short of completion due to the death of star Laurence Harvey — and The Big Brass Ring, the script of which was adapted and filmed by George Hickenlooper in 1999.

Welles in his later years was unable to get funding for his many film scripts, but came close with The Big Brass Ring and The Cradle Will Rock. Arnon Milchan had agreed to produce The Big Brass Ring if any one of six actors - Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, or Burt Reynolds - would sign on to star. All six declined for various reasons. Independent funding for The Cradle Will Rock had been obtained and actors had signed on, including Rupert Everett to play the young Orson Welles, location filming was to be done in New York City with studio work in Italy. While pre-production went without a problem, three weeks before filming was to begin the money fell through. Allegedly Welles approached Steven Spielberg to ask for assistance in rescuing the film, but Spielberg declined. The scripts to both films were published posthumously. After a studio auction, he complained that Spielberg spent $50,000 for the Rosebud sled used in Citizen Kane, but would not give him a dime to make a picture. Welles retaliated by publicly announcing the sled to be a fake, the original having been burned in the film, but he later recanted the claim.

The 1995 documentary Orson Welles: One-Man Band, included on the Criterion Collection DVD release of F for Fake, features scenes from several of these unfinished projects, as well as footage from an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice starring Welles that was never aired due to vital footage being allegedly stolen; several short subjects such as the titular One-Man Band, a Monty Python-esque spoof in which Welles plays all but one of the characters (including two characters in drag); footage of Welles reading chapters from Moby-Dick; and a comedy skit taking place in a tailor shop and co-starring Charles Gray. One short, also included in the documentary, is a comedy routine in which Welles (filmed in the 1970s) plays a reporter interviewing a king, also played by Welles, but in footage shot in the 1960s; Welles finished the skit and edited it together years later. The documentary also includes two completed and edited sequences from the unreleased The Other Side of the Wind, and footage from an unbroadcast television pilot for a talk show (he is shown interviewing The Muppets and discussing his rationale for doing the talk show, which was produced in the round). The documentary is built around a college lecture given by Welles not long before his death, in which he displays frustration at being unable to complete so many projects. According to Oja Kodar, interviewed in the documentary, Welles always traveled with camera equipment and would shoot film whenever the mood struck him, even if there were no immediate prospects for commercial release of such material.

In the Tim Burton-directed biopic Ed Wood, made in 1994, Welles makes a brief cameo appearance, played by Vincent D'Onofrio and dubbed by Maurice LaMarche. In his scene, he gives advice to director Edward D. Wood, Jr., who looks upon Welles as an idol. Inspired by Welles' comments, Wood proceeds to finish his film Plan 9 from Outer Space, which many consider one of the worst films of all time.

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Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford in 1927

Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur; (March 23, 1905 - May 10, 1977) was an American actress of film, television and theatre. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "box office poison".

After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Crawford staged a comeback by starring in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company, through her marriage to company president Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the horror film Trog in 1970, Crawford retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 1974, after which unflattering photographs were published, Crawford withdrew from public life. She became more and more reclusive until her death in 1977.

Crawford married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce; the last ended with the death of husband Al Steele. She adopted five children, one of whom was reclaimed by his birth mother. Crawford's relationships with her two older children, Christina and Christopher, were acrimonious. Crawford disinherited the two and, after Crawford's death, Christina wrote a "tell-all" memoir called Mommie Dearest in which she alleged a lifelong pattern of physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by Crawford.

Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas, the third child of Tennessee-born Thomas E. LeSueur (1868–1938) and Anna Bell Johnson (1884–1958). Her older siblings were Daisy LeSueur, who died very young, and Hal LeSueur. Although Crawford was of mostly English descent, her surname originated from her great-great-great-great grandparents, David LeSueur and Elizabeth Chastain, French Huguenots who immigrated from London in the early 1700s to Virginia.

Thomas LeSueur abandoned the family a few months before Crawford's birth. He appeared in Abilene, Texas, in 1930 as a 62-year-old construction laborer on the George R. Davis House, built in Prairie School architecture.

Crawford's mother subsequently married Henry J. Cassin. The family lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Cassin ran a movie theater. Crawford was unaware that Cassin was not her birth father until her brother Hal told her. The 1910 federal census for Comanche County, Oklahoma, enumerated on April 20, showed Henry and Anna living at 910 "D" Street in Lawton. Crawford was listed as five years old, thus showing 1905 as her likely year of birth. However, the state of Texas did not require the filing of birth certificates until 1908, allowing Crawford to claim she was born in 1908.

Crawford preferred the nickname "Billie" as a child and she loved watching vaudeville acts perform on the stage of her stepfather's theater. Her ambition was to be a dancer. However, in an attempt to escape piano lessons to run and play with friends, she leapt from the front porch of her home and cut her foot deeply on a broken milk bottle. Crawford had three operations and was unable to attend elementary school for a year and a half. She eventually fully recovered and returned to dancing.

Around 1916, Crawford's family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Cassin was first listed in the City Directory in 1917, living at 403 East Ninth Street. While still in elementary school, Crawford was placed in St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic school in Kansas City. Later, after her mother and stepfather broke up, she stayed on at St. Agnes as a work student. She then went to Rockingham Academy as a work student. While attending Rockingham she began dating and had her first serious relationship, with a trumpet player named Ray Sterling. It was Sterling who inspired her to begin challenging herself academically, and in 1922, Crawford registered at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She gave her year of birth as 1906. Crawford attended Stephens for less than a year, as she recognized that she was not academically prepared for college.

Under the name Lucille LeSueur, Crawford began dancing in the choruses of traveling revues and was spotted dancing in Detroit by producer Jacob J. Shubert. Shubert put her in the chorus line for his 1924 show Innocent Eyes at the Winter Gardens on Broadway in New York City. While appearing in Innocent Eyes Crawford met a saxophone player named James Welton. The two were allegedly married in 1924 and the couple lived together for several months, although this supposed marriage was never mentioned in later life by Crawford. She wanted additional work and approached Loews Theaters publicist Nils Granlund. Granlund secured a position for her with producer Harry Richmond's act and arranged for her to do a screen test which he sent to producer Harry Rapf in Hollywood. Stories have persisted that Crawford further supplemented her income by appearing in one or more stag, or soft-core pornographic, films, although this has been disputed. Rapf notified Granlund on December 24, 1924 that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had offered Crawford a contract at $75 a week. Granlund immediately wired LeSueur – who had returned to her mother's home in Kansas City – with the news and $400 for travel expenses. The night after Christmas she left Kansas City and arrived in Culver City, California.

As Lucille LeSueur, her first film was Pretty Ladies in 1925, which starred ZaSu Pitts. Also in 1925 she appeared in a small role in The Only Thing and in Old Clothes opposite Jackie Coogan. MGM publicity head Pete Smith recognized her ability but felt that her name sounded fake; it also, he told studio head Louis B. Mayer, sounded like "Le Sewer". Smith organized a contest in conjunction with a fan magazine named Movie Weekly to allow readers to select her new name. Initially the name "Joan Arden" was selected but, when another actress was found to have prior claim to that name, the alternate name "Crawford" became the choice. Crawford initially wanted her new first name to be pronounced "Jo-anne". She hated the name Crawford, saying it sounded like "crawfish". Her friend, actor William Haines, quipped, "They might have called you 'Cranberry' and served you every Thanksgiving with the turkey!" Crawford continued to dislike the name throughout her life but, she said, "liked the security that went with it".

On June 3, 1929, Crawford married Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Fairbanks was the son of Douglas Fairbanks and the step-son of Mary Pickford, who were considered Hollywood royalty. Fairbanks Sr. and Pickford were opposed to the marriage and did not invite the couple to their home, Pickfair, for eight months after the marriage. The relationship between Crawford and Fairbanks, Sr. eventually warmed; she called him "Uncle Doug" and he called her "Billie". Following that first invitation, Crawford and Fairbanks, Jr. became more frequent guests, which was hard on Crawford. While the Fairbanks men played golf together, Crawford was left with Pickford or left alone.

Crawford starred opposite of Clark Gable in Possessed (1931). They began an affair during the production, resulting in an ultimatum from studio chief Louis B. Mayer to Gable that the affair end. Gable complied, although for many years their affair resumed sporadically and secretly. Upon release, Possessed was an enormous hit.

The studio then cast her in Grand Hotel, which starred the most famous actors of the 1930s and was MGM's most prestigious movie of 1932. Crawford later achieved continued success with Letty Lynton (1932). Soon after its release, a plagiarism suit forced MGM to withdraw it. It has never been shown on television or made available on home video, and is therefore considered the "lost" Crawford film. The film is mostly remembered because of the "Letty Lynton dress," designed by Adrian: a white cotton organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves, puffed at the shoulder. It was with this gown that Crawford's broad shoulders began to be accentuated by costume. Macy's copied the dress in 1932, and it sold over 500,000 replicas nationwide.

In May 1933, Crawford divorced Fairbanks. Crawford cited "grievous mental cruelty"; "a jealous and suspicious attitude" toward her friends and "loud arguments about the most trivial subjects" lasting "far into the night".

Following Possessed, Crawford starred opposite Gable in the hit Dancing Lady (1933), in which she received top billing. Crawford's next movies, Sadie McKee, Chained and Forsaking All Others (all 1934), were among the top money makers of the mid-1930s.

In 1935, Crawford married her second husband, stage and film actor Franchot Tone. Tone, a stage actor from New York who planned to use his film salary to finance his theatre group, and Crawford appeared together in Today We Live (1933) and were immediately drawn to each other, although Crawford was hesitant about entering into another romance so soon after her split from Fairbanks. The couple built a small theatre at Crawford's Brentwood home and put on productions of classic plays for select groups of friends. Before and during their marriage, Crawford worked to promote Tone's Hollywood career but Tone was ultimately not interested in being a movie star and Crawford eventually wearied of the effort. Tone began drinking and physically abusing Crawford and she filed for divorce, which was granted in 1939. Crawford and Tone eventually reconciled their friendship and Tone even proposed they remarry in 1964. When Tone died in 1968, Crawford arranged for him to be cremated and his ashes scattered at Muskoka Lakes, Canada.

The Motion Picture Herald placed Crawford on its list of the top-ten moneymaking stars from 1932, the first year of the poll, through 1936 and Life magazine proclaimed her "First Queen of the Movies" in 1937. Later in 1937 she dropped out of the top ten for the first time, and in 1938 the Independent Film Journal named her and several other stars as "box office poison" based on their supposed lack of popular appeal. However, Crawford made a small comeback with her role as home-wrecker Crystal Allen in director George Cukor's comedy The Women in 1939. She also broke from formula by taking the unglamorous role of Julie in Strange Cargo (1940), her eighth and final film with Clark Gable. Crawford then starred as a facially disfigured blackmailer in A Woman's Face (1941). While the film was only a moderate box office success, her performance was hailed by many critics.

Crawford adopted her first child, a daughter, in 1940. Because she was single, California law prevented her from adopting within the state so she arranged the adoption through an agency in Las Vegas. The child was temporarily called Joan until Crawford changed her name to Christina. She married actor Phillip Terry on July 21, 1942 after a six-month courtship. Together the couple adopted a son whom they named Christopher, but his birth mother reclaimed the child. They adopted another boy, whom they named Phillip Terry, Jr. After the marriage ended in 1946, Crawford changed the child's name to Christopher Crawford.

After 18 years, Crawford's contract was terminated by mutual consent on June 29, 1943. In lieu of one more movie owed under her contract, MGM bought out her contract for $100,000. The same day, the studio cleared out her bungalow.

Crawford wanted to play the title role in Mildred Pierce (1945), but Davis was the studio's first choice. However, Davis did not want to play the mother of a seventeen year old daughter and she turned the role down. Director Michael Curtiz did not want Crawford and told Jack Warner, "She comes over here with her high-hat airs and her goddamn shoulder pads...why should I waste my time directing a has-been?" Curtiz demanded Crawford prove her suitability by taking a screen test. After the test, Curtiz agreed to Crawford's casting. Crawford starred opposite Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth and Butterfly McQueen. Mildred Pierce was a commercial success. It epitomized the lush visual style and the hard-boiled film noir sensibility that defined Warner Bros. movies of the later 1940s. Crawford earned the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

From 1945 to 1952, Crawford reigned as a top star and respected actress, appearing in such roles as Helen Wright in Humoresque (1946), Louise Howell Graham in Possessed (1947, for which she was nominated for a second Oscar for Best Actress) and the title role in Daisy Kenyon (also 1947). Crawford's other movie roles of the era include Lane Bellamy in Flamingo Road (1949), a dual role in the film noir The Damned Don't Cry (1950) and her performance in the title role of Harriet Craig (1950) at Columbia Pictures. After filming This Woman Is Dangerous (1952), Crawford asked to be released from her Warner Bros. contract. As she had done before, Crawford triumphed as Myra Hudson in Sudden Fear (1952) at RKO, which was the movie that introduced her co-star, Jack Palance, to the screen and earned Crawford a third and final Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Crawford adopted two more children in 1947, whom she named Cindy and Cathy. She referred to them as twins but the children were not related by blood.

Crawford worked in the radio series The Screen Guild Theater on January 8, 1939; Good News; Baby, broadcast March 2, 1940 on Arch Oboler's Lights Out; The Word on Everyman's Theater (1941); Chained on the Lux Radio Theater and Norman Corwin's Document A/777 (1948). She appeared in episodes of anthology TV shows in the 1950s and, in 1959, made a pilot for her series, The Joan Crawford Show, but the show was never picked up by a network.

Crawford married her final husband, Alfred Steele, at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas on May 10. 1955. Crawford and Steele met at a party in 1950 when Steele was an executive with Coca-Cola. They renewed their acquaintance at a New Year's Eve party in 1954. Steele by that time had become the president of Pepsi Cola. Crawford traveled extensively on behalf of Pepsi following the marriage. She estimated that she traveled over 100,000 miles for the company. Steele died of a heart attack in April 1959. Crawford was initially advised that her services were no longer required. After she told the story to Louella Parsons, Pepsi reversed its position and Crawford was elected to fill the vacant seat on the board of directors. Crawford, left near-penniless following Steele's death, accepted a supporting role in the film The Best of Everything (1959). It was her first non-starring role in her later career.

After her triumph in RKO's Sudden Fear, Crawford appeared in films ranging from the cult western film Johnny Guitar (1954) to the drama Autumn Leaves (1956), opposite a young Cliff Robertson. By the early 1960s, however, Crawford's status in motion pictures had diminished.

Crawford starred as Blanche Hudson, a physically disabled woman and former A-list movie star in conflict with her psychotic sister in the highly successful thriller What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962). Despite the actresses' earlier tensions, Crawford suggested Bette Davis for the role of Jane. The two stars maintained publicly that there was no feud between them. However, Crawford accused Davis of kicking her during the filming of a scene in which Jane attacks Blanche, and reportedly retaliated by wearing weights under her clothes in a scene in which Davis had to carry her. The film became a huge success, recouping its losses in 11 days of nationwide release and temporarily reviving Crawford's career. Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Jane Hudson. Crawford secretly contacted all the other Oscar nominees to tell them if they were unable to attend the ceremony, she would be happy to accept the Oscar on their behalf. Both Davis and Crawford were backstage when the absent Anne Bancroft was announced as the winner and Crawford accepted the award on her behalf. Davis claimed for the rest of her life that Crawford campaigned against her, a charge Crawford denied. That same year, Crawford starred as Lucy Harbin in William Castle's horror mystery Strait-Jacket (1964).

Upon her release from the hospital Crawford played the role of Amy Nelson in I Saw What You Did (1965), another William Castle vehicle. She starred as Monica Rivers in Herman Cohen's horror thriller film Berserk! (1968). After the film's release, Crawford guest-starred as herself on The Lucy Show. The episode, "Lucy and the Lost Star", first aired on February 26, 1968. Although Crawford struggled during rehearsals and drank heavily on-set, leading Ball to suggest replacing her with Gloria Swanson, she was letter-perfect the day of the show and received two standing ovations from the studio audience.

In October 1968, Crawford's 29-year-old daughter, Christina (who was then acting in New York on the soap opera The Secret Storm), needed immediate medical attention for a ruptured ovarian tumor. Until Christina was well enough to return, Crawford offered to play her role, to which producer Gloria Monty readily agreed. Although Crawford did well in rehearsal, she lost her composure while taping and the director and producer were left to struggle to piece together the necessary footage.

Crawford's appearance in the 1969 TV film Night Gallery (which served as pilot to the series that followed), marked one of Steven Spielberg's earliest directing jobs. She starred on the big screen one final time, playing Dr. Brockton in Herman Cohen's science fiction horror film Trog (1970), rounding out a career spanning 45 years and over 80 motion pictures. Crawford made four more TV appearances, as Stephanie White in an episode of The Virginian (1970), entitled "The Nightmare"; as a board member in an episode of The Name of the Game (1971), entitled "Los Angeles"; as Allison Hayes in the made-for-TV movie Beyond the Water's Edge (1972); and as Joan Fairchild (her final screen performance) on an episode of the television series, The Sixth Sense, entitled, "Dear Joan: We're Going To Scare You To Death" (1972).

In 1970, Crawford was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award by John Wayne at the Golden Globes, which was telecast from the Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. She also spoke at her alma mater, Stephens College, from which she never graduated.

Crawford published her autobiography, A Portrait of Joan, – written with Jane Kesner Ardmore – in 1962 through Doubleday. Crawford's next book, My Way of Life, was published in 1971 by Simon and Schuster. Those expecting a racy tell-all were disappointed, although Crawford's meticulous ways were revealed in her advice on grooming, wardrobe, exercise, and even food storage.

In September 1973, Crawford moved from apartment 22-G to the smaller apartment 22-H in the Imperial House. Her last public appearance was September 23, 1974, at a party honoring her old friend Rosalind Russell at New York's Rainbow Room. Russell was battling breast cancer at the time and died two years later in 1976. When Crawford saw the unflattering photos of both stars that appeared in the papers the next day, she said, "If that's how I look, then they won't see me anymore." Crawford cancelled all public appearances, began declining interviews and left her apartment less and less. In 1975, with a renewed embrace of her Christian Science faith, she gave up drinking.

A memorial service was held for Crawford at All Souls' Unitarian Church on Lexington Avenue in New York on May 16, 1977, and was attended by, among others, her old Hollywood friend Myrna Loy. Another memorial service, organized by George Cukor, was held on June 24 in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California. Crawford was cremated and her ashes placed in a crypt with her last husband, Alfred Steele, in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.

Crawford's hand and footprints are immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1750 Vine Street. In 1999, Playboy listed Crawford as one of the "100 Sexiest Women of the 20th century," ranking her #84.

In November 1978, a year and a half after Crawford's death, Christina published an exposé entitled Mommie Dearest which contained allegations that Crawford was emotionally and physically abusive to her and her brother Christopher. Many of Crawford's friends and co-workers, including Van Johnson, Ann Blyth, Marlene Dietrich and others denounced the book, categorically denying any abuse. Crawford's rival Bette Davis, however, strongly supported the book, saying that Christina could not have made it up (Davis would ironically become the target of her own daughter, B. D. Hyman's, tell-all book in 1985, My Mother's Keeper). The book became a bestseller and was later made into the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.

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Source : Wikipedia