Orson Welles Weekend at Loew’s Jersey
To Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Release of Orson Welles' Now-Legendary Touch of Evil, Universal Pictures Has Struck a Brand New Print. The Loew’s Jersey Will “Premier” This New Print of Touch of Evil On February 2 Preceded By The Magnificent Ambersons, The Lady From Shanghai on Feb 2 & Citizen Kane on Feb 1.
Friday, February 1 at 8PM Citizen Kane — Starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Everett Sloan, Dorothy Comingore. Directed by Orson Welles. (1941, 119mins., B&W, RKO. Pre-dates rating system, but is suitable for most audiences.) The fascinating and for William Randolph Hearst, enraging character study of the rise, successes and failings of a powerful, egotistical Hearst-like figure. Welles shattered many film-making rules, and created some new ones. Extraordinary cinematography by Gregg Toland, great score by Bernard Herrmann and Oscar-winning screenplay by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz.
Saturday, February 2 at 3PM The Lady From Shanghai Starring Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane. Directed by Orson Welles. (1948, 87mins., B&W, Columbia Pictures. Pre-dates rating system, but may be unsuitable for young children.) Complex murder mystery about an adventurer who joins a seductress and her husband on a Pacific cruise. Extraordinary cinematography. The famous climactic scene in a fun-house hall of mirrors is riveting.
Saturday, February 2 at 6:30PM The Magnificent Ambersons Starring Joseph Cotton, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead. Directed by Orson Welles. (1942, 88mins., B&W, RKO. Pre-dates rating system bu is suitable for most audiences.) Based on a novel by Booth Tarkington, it is the story of a family that is unwilling to adapt its way of life to changing times. Score by Bernard Herrmann (uncredited).
Saturday, February 2 at 8:40PM Touch of Evil Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles. Directed by Orson Welles. (1958, 111mins., B&W, Universal Pictures. Pre-dates the rating system, but may be unsuitable for children.) Baroque crime drama, character study, even a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor is combined with dazzling photography and great acting. Heston is a Mexican-born law enforcement officer who, on his honeymoon, tangles with the corrupt police chief of a Mexican border town, played by Welles in one of the most memorable of his many memorable screen roles.
Each screening is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, children 12 years old and younger, and students with ID. Combo discounts are available for multiple screenings. Call (201) 798-6055 or visit www.loewsjersey.org for more info.
This is not meant as a pun concerning the man’s later-in-life physique, but it is as accurate as it is unavoidable to observe that Orson Welles cast — and still casts — a long shadow over Hollywood. Few of film’s creative forces have suffered such a dramatic and abiding reversal of influence with studio bosses, only to later garner such a
favorable and widespread critical reappraisal of significance — all the while commanding great admiration from his peers and remaining a recognized celebrity in front of the camera.
It is now part of Hollywood lore how Welles was hailed as a prodigy and given what was, during the heyday of the studio system, extraordinary creative control over his first film, Citizen Kane only to become something of a directorial pariah among the studios because of the less-than-commercial success of Citizen Kane and the enmity of that film’s real-life and powerful inspiration, William Randolph Hearst. Welles' removal from The Magnificent Ambersons, his much-anticipated follow up to Citizen Kane, its re-editing and reworked ending now rank among Hollywood’s worst infamies.
In 1948, Welles directed and starred in The Lady From Shanghai for Columbia Pictures only to have it heavily re-edited by the studio and have it released to less than critical or commercial enthusiasm.
In 1958, Welles was hired by Universal to both appear in and direct, at a bargain-basement fee, Touch of Evil. Despite his reputation among studio heads as an “artsy”, difficult to deal with director, Welles was much admired among actors, and many members of the cast of Touch of Evil signed on at reduced fees just for the chance to work with him. (Indeed, one story is that Universal picked Welles as director largely to entice Charlton Heston to star in the film.) Welles wrapped production in time, delivered a rough cut, and was certain that his career as a director in Hollywood was back on track. But then much controversy erupted over the final editing. All the reasons for this are still not clear, but Welles himself admitted to “Cahiers du Cinema” in 1958, “I could work forever on the editing of a film. I don’t know why it takes me so much time, but that has the effect of arousing the ire of the producers, who then take the film out of my hands.” In the end, what was an all-too-familiar scenario for Welles was repeated: the film was taken away from him and another director was brought in to shoot additional scenes and make the final edit. When Welles was shown a preliminary cut by this director, he wrote a very detailed 58 page memo suggesting how to re-re-edit his film but his ideas were largely ignored by Universal. The film was released with scant promotional support by the studio and little commercial success in the United States, although it was well received in Europe as were many of Welles' films.
In succeeding years, Welles' reputation underwent a critical as well as popular renaissance, and Citizen Kane the only major, commercial film over which he had complete artistic control became widely viewed as the most significant American film ever made. In 1998, Universal used Welles' detailed memo and all available outtake footage to create a “restored” version of Touch of Evil. Critics had come to praise even the abridged print of the film, but in the re-cut version that comes closer to its director’s vision, Touch of Evil is now often ranked just behind Citizen Kane as Welles' best work.
The new print of Touch of Evil is taken from the 1998 negative which, in addition to being as faithful as possible to Welles' ideas, boasts beautifully restored, razor-sharp black and white cinematography.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Touch of Evil, the Loew’s Jersey will present the “premiere” screening of this new print on Saturday, February 2 at 8:40 PM. Prior to enjoying this work restored as close as possible to Welles' vision, audiences will also have the chance to see a film flawed by its alteration from that vision when The Magnificent Ambersons is screened at 7PM. The Lady Form Shanghai will be shown at 4PM. And on Friday, February 1 at 8PM, Welles' masterpiece Citizen Kane will be shown.
How To Get To The Loew’s: The Loew’s Jersey, at 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, is directly across JFK Boulevard from the JSQ PATH Center, is minutes from the NJ Turnpike and is easily reached by car or mass transit from throughout the Metro Area
Half-price off-street parking is available in Square Ramp Garage adjoining the Loew’s. Patrons present a coupon to garage attendant when they leave. Coupon is available at our box office.
The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre is one of America’s grandest surviving Movie Palaces, and now operates as a non-profit arts center. The Loew’s screens movies on our 50 ft wide x 25 ft high screen, using carbon arc illumination for the brightest, whitest light. We run reel-to-reel, not platter, which often allows us to screen an archival or studio vault print that is the best available copy of a movie title.
For directions or more information: Call (201) 798-6055 or visit www.loewsjersey.org
Classic Film Weekends are presented by Friends of the Loew’s, Inc., which operates the Loew’s Jersey as a not-for-profit arts center.
Press inquiries call Colin Egan at (201) 798-6055 or CEL (201) 344-7477. Or email