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Around the World with Orson Welles : St.-Germain-des-Prés (1955)
Around the World with Orson Welles (1955) is a series of 26-minute TV documentaries, made for British television. Five of the episodes survive, and have been collected and released on a DVD. Welles compared the series to home movies. This is a bit misleading. There are travelogue sections shot silent, edited together with narration by Welles - segments that do resemble in form the average person's vacation films of the era. But there are also extensive synch sound interviews with people Welles meets in his travels. These parts are a bit like a talk show, although they are generally set on locations where the person lives, rather than in a studio. In general, Welles resists "voice of authority" narration here, and tries to disguise his comments as elements of conversation with another character. Welles will also frequently show the camera, microphone, and the camera crews filming. It is part of the spectacle.
EPISODE : St.-Germain-des-Prés
The best of the series is the one dealing with an intellectual neighborhood of Paris, St.-Germain-des-PrÃ¨s. This features a long interview with Raymond Duncan, an eccentric American artist who was a long time resident. Duncan has a philosophy of doing everything for yourself, and is a craftsman who makes everything from his own printing press and type fonts, to the clothes he wears. It is hard not to compare this to Welles himself, and his do-it-yourself movies. And while Duncan's clothes are extremely unusual, Welles would spend much of his later years in costumes such as long capes and floppy bow ties, that were also both "artistic" and unique. Duncan's other major personal philosophy, never to imitate others or be a conformist, but always to stretch out in one's own direction, could also serve as a credo for Welles. So we are getting a philosophical statement of Welles' own life and beliefs here, as well. Duncan is an articulate man with a rich, resonant voice and a love of Shakespeare, also like Welles himself.
NOTE - This is number 1 of 6 episodes, I will upload the rest as soon as I can!
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