Orson Welles 1915-1985
Orson Welles - The One Man Band (1995)

ORSON WELLES: THE ONE-MAN BAND is a fascinating glimpse at this extraordinary man's final years - made with the cooperation of Oja Kodar, Welles' longtime companion, to whom he bequeathed a wealth of unedited films and fragments when he died in 1985. Granted exclusive access to Welles' heretofore unseen archives - and drawing from almost two tons of film cans containing fragments, shorts, project ideas, and sketches - the filmmakers are led by Kodar through the rich but unfulfilled Welles legacy. Far from being the gloomy megalomaniac that Hollywood has sometimes branded him, Welles emerges here a protean creator, at times vulnerable and lonely, but always unshakeably optimistic and unfailingly innovative.

Among the many works included are:

  • A hilarious trailer for F FOR FAKE
  • Excerpts from THE DEEP, a thriller set in the Pacific Ocean, starring Jeanne Moreau and Laurence Harvey
  • SWINGING LONDON, a wacky sketch featuring Welles in drag as a housewife!
  • A clip from a one-man show of MOBY DICK, with Welles playing all parts sans makeup or costume
  • Footage of a charming and self-deprecating Welles meeting with American students after a screening of THE TRIAL ("I use my own work to subsidize my work; in other words, I am crazy!")
  • Highlights from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, the most prestigious production of Welles' later years: it's the story of an aging, egotistical director (played by John Huston) who rails against Hollywood. Shot in a jumpy, frenetic style, it's unlike anything Welles had done before.

"For Orson Welles buffs, THE ONE-MAN BAND will be the most exciting experience in years. It consists almost entirely of Welles-directed material that has never been seen before except by a tiny group of insiders. Here are scenes from almost all the legendary uncompleted Welles films....Director Silovic and his crew...have done a grand job in bringing some of this incredibly rare material to light, and have achieved a truly fascinating and well-constructed tribute to the master."
- David Stratton, Variety

(1995, 90 minutes)

Directed by Vassili Silovic.
Made possible by Oja Kodar.
Produced by Dominique Antoine, Fredy Messmer, and Roland Zag.
Executive Producer: Pit Riethmôller.
Screenplay: Silovic and Roland Zag.
Director of Photography: Thomas Mauch.
Editor: Marie-Joseph Yoyotte.
Music: Simon Cloquet.
In English and German with English subtitles.
Dionne Sparks


Orson Welles in the 356 Days Project on UbuWeb