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Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (2014)

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A look at the life and work of the great theatre, radio and film artist.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (archive footage)
Christopher Welles ...
Herself (as Christopher Welles Feder)
Joanne Hill Styles ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ruth Ford ...
Herself (archive footage)
Paolo Cherchi Usai ...
Himself (archive footage)
James Naremore ...
William Alland ...
Himself (archive footage)
Reggie Armour ...
Himself (archive footage)


Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on the eve of his centenary - the enigma of his career as a Hollywood star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure), and a crucially important independent filmmaker. Orson Welles's life was magical: a musical prodigy at age 10, a director of Shakespeare at 14, a painter at 16, a star of stage and radio at 20, romances with some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Rita Hayworth. His work was similarly extraordinary, most notably Citizen Kane, (considered by many to be the most important movie ever made), created by Welles when he was only 25. In the years following Citizen Kane, Welles's career continued to change as he made film after film (some never finished, many dismissed) and acted in other projects often to earn money in order to keep making his own films. Magician features scenes from almost every existing Welles film, from Hearts of Age, (which he ... Written by Anonymous

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language, some suggestive images/nudity and smoking | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 November 2015 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Il mago - L'incredibile vita di Orson Welles  »

Box Office


$813,505 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,130 (USA) (12 December 2014)


$15,528 (USA) (19 December 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)


(Black & White and Color)
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Did You Know?


When the paternity of Welles's alleged son is mentioned, one of the photographs which is shown and purported to be of Welles is actually a photograph of Vincent D'Onofrio, who played Welles in Ed Wood. See more »


Features Get Shorty (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

23 April 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The movie was presumably a "quickie" meant for the centenary of Orson Welles's 1915 birth. It goes superficially over Welles's life and work, and a number of people who have interacted with or call him a strong influence are interviewed. But basically this documentary says a lot without teaching much.

It starts with describing Welles's childhood and his broken home, how he was a child genius who could do a lot of intellectual (but not athletic) things, how he ended up getting into Hollywood and cinema, as well as stage acting, and how he kept starting a bunch of movies but never finishing them, how he kept getting into trouble over creative control and financing, and how he became a legend despite all his troubles and comparatively thin body of finished work.

Yet you ultimately find out little about Welles. His chaotic family life is not really covered, nor the reason he could not discipline himself enough to complete more work, nor why at the end of his life he went into decline with self-parody. His trouble with Hearst over "Citizen Kane" is not even mentioned. Interesting only as the most basic of introductions to Orson Welles.

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