Retro: The Unquiet American


Orson Welles
USA 1958
30 min

Orson Welles’s first and best TV pilot – shot for Desilu in 1956, and initially broadcast two years later. Based on John Collier’s story “Youth from Vienna”, this dark period comedy about youth potions and aging – narrated by Welles, who also appears centrally as a kind of slide lecturer – is as innovative in some ways in relation to TV as <![CDATA[<i>]]>Citizen<![CDATA[</i>]]> Kane was in relation to movies; the pilot was never sold but the brittle nastiness of the humor still carries a rude bite. Implicitly tweaking Welles’s own narcissism as well as that of his characters – played by Joi Lansing (the lady who gets blown up in the opening shot of <![CDATA[<i>]]>Touch of Evil<![CDATA[</i>]]>), Dan Tobin, and Rick Jason – while making novel use of still photographs and lightning-sharp lighting changes to mark shifts in space and time, this jaunt implicitly marks the medium of TV itself as a kind of mirror to get lost in.
(Chicago Reader)

This film is screened together with <filmlink id=\"3093\">The Three Caballeros</filmlink>.

  • Nancy Kulp
  • Marjorie Bennett
  • Billy House
  • Rick Jason
  • Orson Welles - Erzähler
Desi Amaz
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