Saturday, October 30, 2010

Me and Orson Welles

Here's a terrific little movie with no explosions, gunfights, or car chases. I liked it a lot anyway. Zac Efron plays a high-school kid named Richard (Zac Efron), who gets a small part in the Mercury Theater production of Julius Caesar in 1937. I could relate easily enough because when I was in school, this production was still being talked about and mentioned in textbooks. (I don't know if that's the case today.) Orson Welles was still a presence in movies and on TV, and I heard and read quite a bit about him. The movie presents him as an arrogant, egotistical, maybe unknowable man, an artist but a despicable person, but one who has a spark of genius.

Why Christopher McKay didn't win an Oscar® for his remarkable performance as Welles is a mystery to me. Efron and Claire Danes are good enough, but McKay is amazing. Oddly, though, that's a problem for the movie because Welles isn't the main character. Richard is, and his coming of age is what the movie's all about. Don't let that bother you, though. This one's a lot of fun and well worth seeing.


  1. Did he do a great job or what? A nice little movie that too many people missed.

  2. An extremely enjoyable film with excellent performances. Should be on everyone's Netflicks que...

  3. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Terry Teachout has a long review of the film in the Wall St Journal. There's a short version, and link to the WSJ piece in his blog, About Last Night ( He was particularly impressed by the care that went into reproducing as closely as possible (no film exists), the original Welles Julius Caesar stage production.
    Art Scott

  4. Thanks, Art. The blog piece has a link to the whole interesting article.