Last night saw the re-vamp of the 'Comedy Roasts' on Channel 4. The idea is to take a well-known talent and affectionately take the piss out of them. The three talents in question are Bruce Forsyth, Sharon Osbourne and Christ Tarrant. If, like me, you can see a glaring error there (i.e only the first name has any talent) you may want to check out the original roasts. Available here and here.
If you watch them all, one thing you'll note, apart from that celebrity is now as easy to achieve as herpes, is that Orson Welles is an absolute hoot. He also made some movies.
He scared the crap out of millions of Americans
Fooling yanks into shitting themselves with panic isn't an incredibly hard thing to do (just ask Glenn Beck) but to make them believe they're all minutes from doom at the hands of Martians is worthy of applause. During an RKO radio broadcast Welles' War Of The Worlds became legendary as any listeners who missed the introduction were treated to a 'news-style' account of their beloved country under attack.
He made Citizen Kane when he was 25!
While I, at the age of 25, was still struggling with a minor drug habit and earning my wage in McJobs, Orson Welles was in turn writing, directing and starring in The Greatest Movie Ever Made. Not only were the technical flourishes of it beyond anything anyone had ever tried to do before, at the heart of Citizen Kane was a big fuck you to the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
And no matter what film studies students (and Monty Burns) say, Rosebud is not a sled or a symbol for Kane's lost youth and innocence, its actually Hearst's pet-name for his mistress' front-bum. Fact!
He even makes British movies better
Not content with making the film that tops most critic polls as the bestest ever, he also completely steals the show in the one critics call the Best British Film Of All Time. Bloody Americans. As Harry Lime, the titular Third Man, Orson is perfectly charming and sinister. And that famous speech, improvised by the man himself.
He ate planets
The guy was huge but I'm actually referring to his role in the only Transformers movies not ruined by a big pair of tits (Michael Bay and Shia The Beef). When looking to cast someone as a planet-eating robot only one name sprang to mind and Welles became Unicron. Rumour has it that to get into character Orson ate part of Pluto. This is why many people don't consider the big ball of rock and ice to have planetary status anymore. Non-Fact!
He killed the Black Dahlia
Only someone as large of life as Orson could be at the centre of some of the daftest rumours ever to hit bookshelves. But hit bookshelves it did. In Mary Pacios' attempt to hunt the real killer of Elizabeth Short evidence began to mount that it was the famous director himself who had cut a woman in half. Evidence that stopped at the fact that he go a bit angry once on a while and used to perform the magic trick of sawing a lady in half. If that's all the proof you need I'm arresting Paul Daniels... because he annoys me.
He Sounds Just Like The Brain
He really does! It's almost like he's still with us doing cartoons for Spielberg. It'd be no more of a sell-out than hocking fishfingers for Birds Eye.
Owen Nicholls edits www.thisfilmison.com