Orson Welles: Shadows & Light

This 56-minute documentary directed by biographical documentary director Elisabeth Kapnist is a primer most suitable for those who have next to no knowledge of Welles but might be curious what all the fuss is about — a Wikipedia page with some interview material and clips of movies.

The film looks at the career of Welles mostly in chronological order, from his The War of the Worlds radio broadcast that shocked the U.S. at age 23 to his career high three years later, Citizen Kane, and the parallels between Kane’s protagonist, played by the actor-director himself, and Welles’ own struggles for the rest of his career.

The tendency to briefly mention rather than actually develop interesting details and the somewhat dry academic experts that provide commentary between clips and archive interviews give the documentary an overly didactic and not very dynamic feel.

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