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Friday Night Spotlight: Orson Welles
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Friday Night Spotlight: Orson Welles

In his youth Orson Welles was known as the enfant terrible or "Boy Wonder," an almost magically talented artist who created startlingly original works in several different forms including radio, the Broadway stage and film, where his early masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) became considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. Later, as he continued to write, produce and direct his own movies with varying degrees of success, he developed into a character actor of tremendous weight and authority. TCM continues its popular Friday Night Spotlight franchise with a celebration of Welles, who would have turned 100 on May 6 of this year.

This Spotlight is hosted by David Edelstein, film critic for New York magazine, NPR's Fresh Air and CBS Sunday Morning. The films are arranged by categories, beginning with "Early Films", including the TCM premiere of Too Much Johnson (1938), a little-seen silent comedy short created by Welles to be incorporated into a Mercury Theatre stage production of the same name; Citizen Kane and its follow-up, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942); and Jane Eyre (1944), in which Welles acted, playing Mr. Rochester.

"Classic Noir" encompasses four films directed (or co-directed) by Welles and starring him: Journey Into Fear (1943), costarring Joseph Cotten; Touch of Evil (1958), costarring Charlton Heston; The Lady from Shanghai (1948), costarring Welles' then-wife Rita Hayworth; and Mr. Arkadin (1962), costarring Michael Redgrave.

"Shakespeare Adaptations" encompass Macbeth (1948), Othello (1952) and Chimes at Midnight (1965), which tells the story of the Shakespearean character Sir John Falstaff. "Literary Adaptations" include The Stranger (1946) and The Trial (1962), and "Made-for-Television Films" are The Immortal Story (1968) and F for Fake (1973). Among other "Acting without Directing" vehicles are Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), The Third Man (1949), The V.I.P.s (1963) and A Man for All Seasons (1966).
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