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Close-Up: Orson Welles, part 1

It tackled difficult subjects like divorce, drug addiction and racism. CBC-TV's program Close-Up was never one to shy away from controversy. But Close-Up also mixed it up with lighthearted topics, like Parisian dancers or holiday camps; the program had its fair share of big-name celebrity interviews too. Running from 1957 until 1963, Close-Up was created by producer Ross McLean and hosted by J. Frank Willis. Its wide roster of interviewers included Elaine Grand, Percy Saltzman, Pierre Berton and Jack Webster. We feature five complete episodes from the year 1960.

Does Orson Welles live to work, or work to live? Neither, says the celebrated filmmaker and actor. He doesn't actually see a need to separate the two. "Work is an expression of life for me," he says in this 1960 episode of Close-Up. In the first of a two-part interview, Welles discusses creativity, politics, the press and art criticism. He also ponders the idea of "home" and comments on the impact of Citizen Kane, a film he made when he was only in his mid-20s.

Born in 1915, Orson Welles skyrocketed to fame in his early 20s when he adapted H.G. Wells's novel War of the Worlds as a radio drama, broadcast as a Halloween special in 1938. The first part of the program was presented as a fake newscast, which unfortunately led a number of listeners to panic because they believed it was a real report of a Martian invasion.


 • In 1941, Welles released Citizen Kane. He co-wrote, directed, produced and acted in this film (playing the title role of Charles Foster Cane). The main character was modeled after newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Today, Citizen Kane is still considered by many film critics to be one of the best films ever made. It regularly comes in at number 1 on various film ranking lists, including the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest films of all time.
Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: Feb. 25, 1960
Guest(s): Orson Welles
Interviewer: Bernard Braden
Duration: 27:37

Last updated: August 30, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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