In November 1937, high school student and aspiring thespian Richard Samuels takes a day trip into New York City. There, he meets and begins a casual friendship with Gretta Adler, their friendship based on a shared love and goal of a profession in the creative arts. But also on this trip, Richard stumbles across the Mercury Theatre and meets Orson Welles, who, based on an impromptu audition, offers Richard an acting job as Lucius in his modern retelling of Julius Caesar, which includes such stalwart Mercury Theatre players as Joseph Cotten and George Coulouris. Despite others with official roles as producer John Houseman, this production belongs to Welles, the unofficial/official dictator. In other words, whatever Welles wants, the cast and crew better deliver. These requests include everything, even those of a sexual nature. Welles does not believe in conventions and will do whatever he wants, which includes not having a fixed opening date, although the unofficial opening date is in ...Written by
Production designer Laurence Dorman's visit to New York City inspired his design of the street set on Pinewood's Orchard Lot: "It was worth every second actually, because we were able to visit the site of the theatre and I was able to get the geography of 41st Street into my mind, with Bryant Park and all the things that are mentioned in the script. And even though 41st Street was completely different to how it would have been in those days, I was able to just wander around the neighbourhood and take pictures all over midtown and all the way down to 22nd Street. I was picking out all of the old stuff, the architecture that I imagined would have been there at the time and turning it into our little composite street. I've taken a selection of buildings based on my photographs and put them together to suit my purposes." See more »
When Orson finds Richard on the park bench, Orson's collar is up in the wide shot, but only half-up in the following close-up shots. See more »
By the year of 1592, Shakespeare was already an actor, and a playwright. Records of how his stage career began have not survived. We do know that in 1594 he joined a theater troupe. Called... anyone remember? Not everyone at once now. The Lord Chamberlain's Men.
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Gilson Lavis is listed as "Drumer" instead of "Drummer". See more »
Okay, start with one of the most interesting and influential characters in film. Make a film that has him in it.
Take one of the most interesting and theatrical productions in theater, present it is as film and make the same film about its inception including chaos, the various seductions of the players and some presentation of his bellicose leadership.
Hang the thing on a story of callow discovery and you may have something. But alas, this almost succeeds on every score and it makes us unhappy because from the first we expect something worthy. We expect to be immersed somehow. "Cradle will Rock" succeeded in that respect where this did not.
One problem is there is no sense of the inner composition in Welles' mind. Sure we find he is oafish, appetite driven, needlessly obnoxious. But for each of these, there should be some window into what matters, what we came for. It sure wasn't hearing about a kid's screwups.
The impression fostered throughout is that some combination of accident, unsophisticated audience and dedicated cast/crew made the production a success. I saw this with "Hamlet 2" and as bad as that was, it was better in key ways. Above all, it tried.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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