47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Perhaps Welles' least ambitious film but one which contains most of the elements present in his admirable corpus of work. This is indeed a miniature of Welles' world which has nothing of the grandeur of Citizen Kane or the sumptuousness of his epoch-making films such as Othello, Macbeth or Chimes at Midnight. The film's lack of aesthetic pyrotechnics make the context stark and moderate but surprisingly enough, the impact is as intense as it always has been with Welles' previous films.
It tells the story of Mr. Clay (Orson Welles) a wealthy but fading merchant who hires a sailor to slcep with his wife (Jeanne Moreau). Mr. Clay does not deviate from the typical Welles' caricature: egocentric, devious and nihilist. In the end, self-destruction comes as a natural consequence. Welles' eclectic cast - which also features Fernando Rey -carries the story in an almost theatrical manner while the understated use of colour is elegant and almost dreamlike. A simple and lucid film which makes an interesting contrast to Welles' more known work, it's less extravagant this time, but to the point.
Review by Spiros Gangas
Taken from EUFS Programme 1993-94