O for Orson

O for Orson

I've been on a movie kick, watching and rewatching films and documentaries about art. A must see is from one of my favorite people... "F for Fake" (1973) is the last major film by the man who himself became a household name through a form of deception. In this film essay/documentary Orson Welles explores the world of a master art forger. It takes one to know one -- as you may recall, Mr. Welles, inadvertently or not, pranked a nation with his 1939 radio play based on H.G. Well's "War of the Worlds". A master illusionist himself, Welles seems in sympathy with the dapper, aristocratic, polyglot Elmyr de Hory, who claims quite proudly that his work hangs in all the world's great art palaces. In the course of filming on swinging Ibiza, de Hory's home, a third world-class charlatan, Clifford Irving, appears, creating a trio of charming rouges enjoying each other's company. Also, you'll behold Oja Kodar, Welles' companion, and the fourth member of this merry band. Pablo Picasso and Howard Hughes play important roles in this labyrinthine narrative, though not directly involved (they were alive at the time, however, barely). A trailer was produced well after the fact and is mostly made up of footage not used in the film. Although I've linked the film on YouTube, how about procuring a genuine copy from Criterion, with all the bells and whistles. It includes commentary from Oja Kodar, among other things. And wouldn't you know it, there are phony fake de Hory's out there.

A genuine de Hory

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