Herald Sun - Switched On - - Saturday -

IN AN­OTHER life, dur­ing the 1980s, I dined as of­ten as I could af­ford in a Hol­ly­wood restau­rant called Ma Mai­son. The at­trac­tions in­cluded a young chef called Wolf­gang Puck and, sitting alone at a ta­ble most nights, a glow­er­ing pres­ence.

This pres­ence was a grossly fat man, dressed all in black, who was treated at all times with great re­spect.

His name was Or­son Welles. I was a fan. But the Welles I had ad­mired, es­pe­cially for a movie called The Third Man, looked noth­ing like the glow­er­ing pres­ence. And in 1985, the year in which this won­der­ful restau­rant closed, Welles also died.

I would have known more about him, how­ever, had I been aware of this pro­gram — a re­veal­ing in­ter­view with Welles, aged 45 and at the height of his pow­ers, recorded in 1960. It was con­ducted by Bernard Braden and shot in a Paris ho­tel room by Cana­dian tele­vi­sion. Welles was forth­com­ing and took of­fence at none of Braden’s ques­tions. On the con­trary . . .

Welles was more than a great film-maker and ac­tor: he was an in­tel­li­gent, sen­si­tive and worldly in­di­vid­ual. But some of his views, as re­vealed here, were un­ortho­dox.

For ex­am­ple, Braden asks

Pres­ence: Or­son Welles

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