Before we invented Peter O' Toole or the concept of an Expendable, all that was left for creative types on the tail end of their careers to do was drink themselves into oblivion. Much has been said about Orson Welles' fall from grace. He went from creating the top movie of everything, Citizen Kane, and scaring the piss out of people with a Martian warning to being unable to justify his participation in a commercial about burgers.
"I have an early call tomorrow. For a commercial. Dog food, I think it is this time. No, I do not eat from the can on camera but I celebrate the contents."
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."
"I passionately hate the idea of being 'with it'. I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time."
"If there hadn't been women we'd still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends."
To me, Orson is so much like a destitute king. A ‘destitute’ king, not because he was thrown away from the kingdom, but on this earth, the way the world is, there is no kingdom good enough for Orson Welles.
— Jeanne Moreau
What would Welles’s Don Quixote have been like if he had been able to finish it? But then it is pleasurable to imagine what he might have done with any theme because he was, literally, a magician, fascinated by legerdemain, tricks of eye, forgeries, labyrinths, mirrors reflecting mirrors. He was a master of finding new ways of seeing things that others saw not at all.
- "In theatre, you know, the old star actors never liked to come on until the end of the first act. Mister Wu is a classic example—I've played it once myself. All the other actors boil around the stage for about an hour shrieking, 'What will happen when Mr. Wu arrives?,' 'What is he like, this Mr. Wu?,' and so on. Finally a great gong is beaten and slowly, over a Chinese bridge, comes Mr. Wu himself in full mandarin robes. Peach Blossom, or whatever her name is, falls on her face and a lot of coolies yell, 'Mister Wu!!!' The curtain comes down, the audience goes wild, and everybody says, 'Isn't that guy playing Mr. Wu a great actor!' That's a star part for you! What matters in that kind of role is not how many lines you have, but how few. What counts is how much the other characters talk about you. Such a star vehicle really is a vehicle. All you have to do is ride."