Some people are not content to leave their brainchild in the hands of another. Orson Welles was one such individual. He believed in a hands-on approach from start to finish and it can clearly be seen in what is unquestionably his greatest work, Citizen Kane. This story of a young newspaper man’s rise to fame started with an original screen play co-written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz. Welles chose to direct his film as well as star in it like many pioneers of motion pictures.
Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on May 6, 1915, he was destined for greatness. His parents were upstanding citizens of the community, his father an inventor and his mother a concert pianist. His home lacked for little. Sadly his mother passed away when he was at the tender age of 7. His father would join her eight years later leaving a 15 year-old Welles a Ward of the State. Luck continued to be with the boy despite his loses when he was taken under the care of Dr. Maurice Bernstein of Chicago. During this time he attended the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, Illinois. He began writing his own plays and putting them on at the local Opera House. He graduated from The Todd School in 1931.
Graduating from school he decided to skip college though he was accepted by several. Instead he traveled Europe doing a variety of jobs that included a sketching tour of Ireland and be a matador in the Spanish bullring. In 1934 he was once again stateside and acting in a touring company. Not to be bored he directed his first short feature film, began acting on the radio and married. By 1937 he’d established a radio drama team known as the Mercury Theater which did many dramatizations of famous authors of the present as well as the past.
He would shock a nation on October 30, 1938 with his rendition of The War of the Worlds based on H.G. Wells’ famous novel . His broadcast was done in such a way that many listeners tuning in late thought we were actually being attached by men from Mars. H.G. Wells was not happy and Orson almost found himself thrown in jail for what was seen as a holiday stunt gone wrong.
In 1941 Welles took his talents to the Silver Screen with his first feature. Citizen Kane. Though a box-office flop at the time it has since become widely seen as one of the best movies ever made. This from a first attempt was more than lucky, it was genius. It won many awards including the coveted Oscar for Best Writing and Original Screenplay.
Welles would go on to make many more films but none would reach the public conscious as much as the first. In 1975 he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an award associated with greatness as it is given to those persons who have enriched the American culture through motion pictures and television. He was the 3rd individual to receive this award.
So why don’t you come join us. We’ll make sure you have a great time. More info and pictures can be found on our Facebook Events Page and on the official Webpage. Joining us will be film producer and Welles historian Michael Dawson. For more information about Welles please check out the wonderful website Wellesnet.com and for information on how Woodstock Illinois celebrated his birthday last year look on this page.
February 11, 2016
Live Organ music by Famed Organist Jay Warren at 7pm
Feature 7:30 p.m. (119 Minutes)
5 S. Prospect Ave. Park Ridge, ILL
75th Anniversary Screening
Regular – Day of $10 / Advanced $8
Seniors – Day of $7 / Advanced $6