Symposium Celebrates the Centenary of Filmmaker and Actor Orson Welles

April 22, 2015
Photo of Orson Welles' face as a young man

Join us for any or all of the symposium,

Wellespring: A Centenary Celebration of the Inexhaustible Inspiration of Orson Welles

Maverick filmmaker and actor Orson Welles, director of what many consider the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane, is the subject of this symposium in celebration of his centenary. Family members and colleagues, scholars, archivists and students come together to discuss his lasting impact and showcase the five Welles archive collections housed at the U-M Library in Special Collections.

All symposium sessions are free and open to the public, but attendees must purchase tickets to view Cinetopia films.

Allow time to view the exhibit Orson Welles: Beyond the Canon and into the Archives in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery and Audubon Room.



Monday, June 8

Location: Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery
913 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor

1:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks
Remarks by Matthew Solomon, associate professor at U-M, and Catherine Benamou, associate professor in Film & Media Studies, University of California-Irvine. Benamou was instrumental in the acquisition of the various Welles materials by U-M Library.

1:30 p.m.

Donors & the Archive: Chris Wilson in Conversation
Christopher Wilson donated his father Richard Wilson's papers to U-M. He discusses his father's longtime friendship and professional relationship with Welles and his own relationship with his father.

Moderators: Brad Schwartz, historian and author; Vince Longo, graduate student, U-M.

3:00 p.m.

Donors & the Archive: Oja Kodar in Conversation
Oja Kodar shares memories of her life with Orson Welles and the importance of creating an archive dedicated to his work.

Moderator: Elliot Wilhelm, curator of film and video, Detroit Institute of Arts.

4:30 p.m.

Rededication Ceremony
The library celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Orson Welles-Oja Kodar Collection and the Richard Wilson-Orson Welles Collection.

Tuesday, June 9

‚ÄčLocation: Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery
913 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor

10:00 a.m.

Scholarship & the Archive
Scholars present work that originated from research done within the various Orson Welles collections at U-M Library.

Panelists: Catherine Benamou, associate professor, University of California-Irvine; Brad Schwartz, historian and author; Sidney Gottlieb, professor, Sacred Heart University; Vince Longo, graduate student, U-M. Moderator: Matthew Solomon, associate professor, U-M

Note: James Naremore, professor emeritus, Indiana University, who was scheduled to appear, had to cancel.

2:30 p.m.

Legacy & the Archive
Panelists discuss how the legacy of Orson Welles has been shaped in various media thirty years after his death.

Panelists: Chuck Workman, filmmaker; Jonathan Rosenbaum, critic and author; Stefan Droessler, curator, Munich Film Museum; Filip Jan Rymsza, producer, restoration of The Other Side of the Wind; Issa Clubb, producer, Criterion Collection (via Skype). Moderator: Laurence Goldstein, professor, U-M


Part of Cinetopia International Film Festival; tickets required

Sunday, June 7

Location: Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theater
5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

1:00 p.m.

Too Much Johnson -- Staged Reading
This 1938 silent comedy was Welles' first professional film, and was not publicly screened. It wasn't intended to stand alone; he planned to mix live action with the film for a Mercury Theatre stage presentation. Recent U-M Screen Arts and Cultures alumnus Vincent Longo, who “rediscovered” Welles’ original script for Too Much Johnson, will narrate the screening/reading with a brief historical introduction. Featuring the Cinetopia Players, with an original score composed by Frank Pahl and performed by Little Bang Theory.

4:00 p.m.

Chimes at Midnight, also known as Falstaff (Orson Welles, 1965)
Perhaps Welles’ most-acclaimed independent production, the director stars as Falstaff in a story that skillfully merges the character’s roles in several Shakespeare plays. With a tour-de-force battle sequence and a cast that includes Jeanne Moreau, John Gielgud, and Margaret Rutherford. Welles considered this his favorite of his own films.

Monday, June 8

Location: Michigan Theater, Auditorium
603 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor

4:00 p.m.

The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane is an adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel about an aristocratic family’s slow decline in the early 20th century. The cast includes Tim Holt, Anne Baxter, and Mercury Theater stalwarts Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorhead, with Welles heard as the narrator.

7:00 p.m.

The Unknown Orson Welles, Program 1
Stefan Droessler, curator, Munich Film Museum, presents a rare opportunity to see excerpts from some of Welles' unfinished films. Included are: The Deep, Moby Dick (Rehearsed), The Other Side of the Wind, The Dreamers, and The Magic Show.

9:40 p.m.

Mr. Arkadin, also known as Confidential Report (Orson Welles, 1955)
This film tells the story of an elusive billionaire who hires an American smuggler to investigate his past, leading to a dizzying descent into a cold-war European landscape.

Tuesday, June 9

Location: Michigan Theater, Auditorium
603 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor

4:00 p.m.


Othello (Orson Welles, 1952)
This is Welles' second filmed adaptation of Shakespeare and his first truly independent production. The international cast includes the director’s early mentors Micheal MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards. Shot on stunning European locations over four years on a miniscule budget, Welles’ bravura performance and editing propelled Othello to the 1952 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix.

7:00 p.m.

The Unknown Orson Welles, Program 2
View a second set of unfinished or little-known work by Welles along with a presentation by Stefan Droessler, curator, Munich Film Museum. This package concentrates on works for television and features: Sketch Book, Fountain of Youth, Viva Italia, London.

9:30 p.m.

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
This Film Noir masterpiece stars Orson Welles as an aging, corrupt police detective in a sleazy Texas border town. An unforgettable combination of stunning camerawork, vivid performances, and dynamic storytelling show what Welles could do when he was in charge of the “expensive paint box” of a Hollywood studio. Charlton Heston stars, and the cast also features Janet Leigh and Welles associates like Joseph Cotten and Marlene Dietrich.

Wednesday, June 10

Location: Michigan Theater, Screening Room
603 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor

4:00 p.m.

It's All True (Welles, Wilson, Krohn, Meisel, 1993)
Introduction and Q&A with Associate Producer Catherine Benamou. Both a documentary and a unique exercise in film restoration, It’s All True tells the complex story of Orson Welles’ ill-fated attempts to make an anthology film about the life and culture of South America and concludes with a reconstruction of one of Welles’ unfinished segments, edited together from rediscovered original footage.

7:00 p.m.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (Chuck Workman, 2014)
Introduction and Q&A with Director Chuck Workman. This film looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on the eve of his centenary—the enigma of his career as a Hollywood star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure), and a crucially important independent filmmaker.

9:30 p.m.

F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1973)
Welles’s playful take on the documentary intertwines the story of art forger Elmyr de Hory and bogus Howard Hughes biographer Clifford Irving with his own magical flourishes. His last directorial effort released during his lifetime, this intriguing effort has received increasing critical acclaim in recent years. With appearances by Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotten, and other Welles associates.

Presented by the University of Michigan Library, the University of Michigan Department of Screen Arts & Cultures, and Cinetopia International Film Festival.

Additional sponsorship is provided by the U-M College of LSA; Rackham Graduate School; Office of Research; Screen Arts & Cultures Screenwriting; Department of Communications; Department of American Culture; Department of English Language and Literature; Institute for the Humanities; and the American Music Institute, School of Music, Theater & Dance.


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Last modified: 06/01/2015