Release date:December 10, 2014
Studio:Cohen Media Group
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for brief language, some suggestive images/nudity and smoking)
Starring:Steven Spielberg, Simon Callow, Norman Lloyd, Henry Jaglom, Julie Taymor, Peter Bogdanovich, Orson Welles, Christopher Welles Foder, Jane Hill Sykes, Ruth Ford, James Naremore, Elvis Mitchell, Beatrice Welles-Smith
The documentary combines rare footage of Welles' life and work. An in-depth study of Orson Welles' singular life and career would run the length of a miniseries, but Chuck Workman engagingly hits a good many highlights in stone-skipping fashion in "Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles." Additionally, by delving into the protean talent's bag of unfinished projects, the veteran documentary and clips-reel whiz tries to counter the view that Welles had a fear of completion later in life; as the film shows, he was always working, however under-financed he may have been. The film briskly reveals how young Orson was recognized as an artistic prodigy from the earliest age and how, his parents both dead and disliking his guardian, he found his metier and love of Shakespeare at the Todd School in Woodstock in his early teens before leaving for Ireland and bluffing his way into his first professional appearances. Welles' meteoric rise in the 1930s with the Federal and then Mercury Theater, as well as on radio, is colorfully rendered via plentiful stills and newsreels footage.