IMDb > F for Fake (1973)
F for Fake
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F for Fake (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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F for Fake -- In Orson Welles's free-form documentary F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career--the tenuous line between truth and illusion, art and lies. Welles embarks on a dizzying cinematic journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes--not the least of whom is Welles himself.

Overview

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Director:
Writer:
Orson Welles (writer)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for F for Fake on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 March 1975 (France) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A documentary about fraud and fakery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Welles' last film is rambling, full of montage, and as provocative as ironically spellbinding See more (45 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Orson Welles ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Oja Kodar ... Herself - The Girl
François Reichenbach ... Himself - Special Participant
Elmyr de Hory ... Himself
Clifford Irving ... Himself

Laurence Harvey ... Himself
Edith Irving ... Herself
David Walsh ... Himself

Paul Stewart ... Himself - Special Participant
Richard Wilson ... Himself - Special Participant

Joseph Cotten ... Himself - Special Participant

Howard Hughes ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Drewitt ... Himself - Associate Producer (as Richard Drewett)
Alexander Welles ... Special Participant (as Sasa Devcic)
Gary Graver ... Special Participant
Andrés Vicente Gómez ... Special Participant (as Andres Vincente Gomez)
Julio Palinkas ... Special Participant
Christian Odasso ... Special Participant
Françoise Widhoff ... Special Participant (as Françoise Widoff)

Peter Bogdanovich ... Special Participant (voice)
William Alland ... Special Participant (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Don Ameche ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Jean-Pierre Aumont ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Orson Welles 
 
Writing credits
Orson Welles (writer)

Oja Kodar  uncredited

Produced by
François Reichenbach .... executive producer
Dominique Antoine .... producer (uncredited)
Richard Drewitt .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Michel Legrand 
 
Cinematography by
François Reichenbach 
 
Film Editing by
Marie-Sophie Dubus 
Dominique Engerer 
Orson Welles (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Paul Bertault .... sound mixer
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Gary Graver .... photographer: USA and Toussaint
Christian Odasso .... photographer: France and Ibiza
Georges Pierre .... still photographer (uncredited)
R. Michael Stringer .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Dominique Boischot .... assistant editor
Anne-Marie Engerer .... assistant editor
Elisabeth Moulinier .... assistant editor
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"About Fakes" - International (English title) (copyright title), International (English title) (working title)
"Truths and Lies" - International (English title) (literal title)
See more »
Runtime:
89 min
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Actress Oja Kodar, who appears in a muse-like fashion in this film, was Welles' real-life girlfriend at the time.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The word "practitioners" is misspelled "practioners" in the opening credits.See more »
Quotes:
Clifford Irving:I've known Elmyr for about eight years. We met when I was broke. When I was writing fiction. I wasn't selling it very well.
Orson Welles:His fiction didn't sell. Elmyr's biographer's a highly gifted writer. Does it say something for this age of ours that he could only make it big by fakery?
Elmyr de Hory:Le grande surprise!
Orson Welles:Cliff Irving's caper may well be the hoax of the century, but, really, this is not, you know, in any way the century of the hoax. We hanky-panky men have always been with you.
Elmyr de Hory:That's a fact.
Orson Welles:What's new?
Clifford Irving:The experts.
Elmyr de Hory:The so-called experts...
Orson Welles:Experts are the new oracles.
Elmyr de Hory:- are greatly pretentious...
[...]
See more »
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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Welles' last film is rambling, full of montage, and as provocative as ironically spellbinding, 19 November 2005
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Orson Welles's last full-length theatrical (ahem, emphasis on theatrical) film released before his death at times is almost like the 'News on the March' segment of Citizen Kane spread out in various spurts, and then totally played upon. Like the magician and prankster that he is (arguably one might consider Welles more of a prankster than as a textbook faker), F For Fake is as much about illusion as it is about the people who create the illusions. The film examines, chiefly, art, and not just the paintings by its subject Elmyr de Hory, but also film-making, writing (which includes signatures), architecture, and in a way a kind of lifestyle in general. It's extremely appropriate that Welles, who is always trying for a pure cinema (which is his genius, past the occasionally diverting hubris), can tackle on his 'true' subjects, Elmyr and writer Clifford Irving with such tact. And, somehow, like magicians probably have to, he slips by following the rules, fooling you every step of the way.

If this was just a film about its principal subjects- not including Welles himself as he has done (this is one of many films he starred, wrote and directed, but rarely has he been so candid about himself)- it would still hold some surface fascination. Coming from a generation that grew up after Elmyr had already passed on, and only knew mildly of the whole Howard Hughes story (of which Irving was apart of), this was all news. Which in a way made it hard to focus on here and there on the first viewing. Coincidentally with Welles's takes on the 'experts', I decided not to jump right away to conclusions like some critics even with film-making do. On the second viewing it all gelled together, like the deception in all the lines in Elmyr's Matisse's. We learn about some of Elmyr's history (including one historical note that gets only one brief mention as part of Welles's use of hints in all of his work). But it's not necessarily about that which becomes fascinating.

Just watching Elmyr, and him with Clifford Irving, the hoax author of a biography on Howard Hughes (err, the old-timer in a shrouded Las Vegas hotel Hughes), is enough to make it worthwhile for the whole hour which Welles promises at the start. Then, when Welles brings back a certain femme fatale in the form of his real-life love Oja Kodar, things become further mysterious. For a man whom mystery was the subject he loved most in films aside from Shakespeare, the last ten to fifteen minutes of the film are some of his most ambiguous, seductive, nearly pointless, but oddly cool scenes filmed. Suddenly, after getting inundated with sound-bytes and trickery with the editing style (which ranks with the best Welles and his team), verite camera-work (by a talented Gary Graver), and images that freeze up, zoom in, get inopportune poses from monkeys, and bits and pieces of a French villa and dozens of paintings, things slow down. If for nothing else, F For Fake is a masterpiece of tempo.

That's not to say that some of this will appeal to everyone. It won't. It doesn't have the instant accessible entertainment appeal of a Citizen Kane or intense ambiguity of the Trial. However for a certain viewer, there is a good deal of entertainment value- certain things that are mentioned, or even in just the way it's said by Welles, can be quite funny. Which helps considering the bits that might become top-heavy with Welles's love of quotes and pondering style of narration. It's a blend of character study, history, investigative journalism (both of the human subjects and of the ideas of forgery and painting and what is real in the mid 20th century society), and some fantastic styling. If you are a film student, even if you couldn't give a damn about Elmyr or the Howard Hughes hoax or Welles's own past of hoaxing with theater/radio/cinema, just to see how the film moves at times, how images fold and bend to another, the progression, it's rather exhilarating. And the only special effect is right up the sleeve, so to speak.

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