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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 USA:

$7,130, 12 December 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$15,528, 19 December 2014
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Company Credits

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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 It's All True (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Good but very, very superficial.
27 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

If you want a film that explores the work of Orson Welles, this film is well worth seeing. However, if you want to see a film about Welles himself and explores his psyche, then you should look further. I knew about most of his film projects but wanted to know what made him tick...what made him so successful but so self- sabotaging (both in films and in his relationships). Sadly, the documentary has very, very little to say about this and instead talks about his genius in a way that almost seems like supplication- --as if to even talk about his faults or psychological make-up was somehow sacrilege. I wanted deconstruction--the film just gives us adoration.

So what question did I want to have answered? Well, most importantly why he never completed so many of his films and how this might be related to his personal life. A genius in some ways but also an incredibly flawed man who made a mess of so much promise.

If you ever find a film that DOES explore Welles' psychological make-up, drop me a line. But a film that ONLY talks about his work but doesn't criticize or analyze it is interesting...mildly...but nothing more. To me, NOT to talk about his psychological state is like doing a film all about George Washington and never mentioning the Revolutionary War!

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