Orson Welles began his career as a motion picture director with one of the greatest movies ever made; but it was one of Welles’ final films that better-defines his work as a whole. Welles didn’t make very many Citizen Kanes, but the bulk of his filmography has a lot in common with the 1974 documentary F For Fake: a loose, funky, playful piece, with an experimental editing style and a showman’s flair. Partly about art-forger Elmyr de Hory, partly about con-man Clifford Irving, and partly about Welles’ own reputation as a jet-setting raconteur with a rakish past, F For Fake bounces merrily from image to image and topic to topic, with Welles’ narration creating the illusion that everything fits together as one big story and/or one grand statement. But ultimately the movie is more like so many of the films Welles made in the 1950s and 1960s, in that it’s appealingly ramshackle and personal, unconcerned with the polish that made so many of the Hollywood films of that era so smooth as to be featureless. F For Fake airs on TCM tonight at 10:15 p.m. Eastern (immediately after Citizen Kane, which airs at 8).
May 29, 2014 newsreel