"We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire where Mrs Buckley lives. Every July, peas grow there."

Orson Welles made one of the finest motion pictures ever at the start of his career, and faded out thereafter. There were upward blips with 'The Third Man' and 'Touch of Evil' but most of his post-'Citizen Kane' directorial work is out of print and forgotten, and likely to remain so.

"Every July? No, you don't really mean 'every July'. But that's bad copy. It's in July. Of course it's every July. There's too much directing around here."

By the late 70s he had, to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich from Welles' own 'Touch of Evil', 'no future; he had used it all up'. Unable to find backing to make films, he had to fall back on the attribute which had first brought him fame - his voice.

"I have no more time. You don't know what I'm up against. Because it's full of... of-of things that are only correct because they're grammatical, but they're tough on the ear, you see... this is a very wearying one, it's unpleasant to read. Unrewarding."

Thus, a series of advertisements and voiceovers. Just as the memory of Lawrence Olivier's youthful achievements was not diminished by his latter-day acceptance of roles in sub-standard Hollywood fare, so Orson's legacy was not particularly tarnished by his mercenary work. However, one document persists - a short tape of Welles reading through some advertisements for frozen peas, frozen cod, and beefburgers.

"'Because Findus freeze the cod at sea, and then add a crumb-crisp... crumb-crisp coating. Ah, that's tough... 'crumb-crisp coating'."

The tapes make for fascinating, depressing listening. Welles is overkill; his talents are completely wasted on voiceover work. He bristles under the direction of his producer. Although his voice is resonant and deep, he is unwilling to simply read the text and take the money.

"I wouldn't direct any living actor like this, in Shakespeare... the way you do this, it's impossible!"

Welles' first brush with Hollywood is regularly cited as the best, most innovative film ever; his last brush with Hollywood was as the voice of the evil Unicron in 'Transformers: The Movie'.

"This is a lot of shit... you know that?"

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.