And why does Orson Welles love Eveyln Waugh?

Start around 2:05.

“Falstaff is I think the most unusual figure in fiction in that he is almost entirely a good man. He’s a gloriously life-affirming good man. And there are very few gigantic silhouettes on the horizon of fiction who are good. They are always flawed. They are always interesting because of what is wrong with them. Falstaff is, I think, really Merry England. I think Shakespeare was greatly preoccupied, as I am, in my humble way, with the loss of innocence. And I think there has always been an England, an older England, which was sweeter, purer, where the hay smelled better and the weather was always springtime and the daffodils blew in the gentle, warm breezes. You feel a nostalgia for it in Chaucer, and you feel it all through Shakespeare. And I think that he was profoundly against the modern age, as I am. I am against my modern age, he was against his. And I think his villains are modern people…They represent the modern world, which includes gouging out eyes and sons being ungrateful to their fathers, and all the rest of it. I think he was a typically English writer, arch-typically, the perfect English writer in that very thing, that preoccupation with that Camelot, which is the great English legend, you know. And innocent is what Falstaff is. He is a kind of refugee from that world. And he has to live by his wits; he has to be funny. He hasn’t a place to sleep if he doesn’t get a laugh out of his patron. So it’s a rough modern world that he’s living in. But I think you have to see in his eyes – that’s why I was so very glad to be doing it in black and white, because if it’s in color, he must have blue eyes – you know, you’ve got to see that look that comes out of the age that never existed but exists in the heart of all English poetry.”

Emphasis very much mine. Just imagine Welles as Gilbert Pinfold.


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    Speak it, Brother.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    ‘He abhorred tobacco, Francis Bacon, ruffled collars and polyphony — everything in fact that had happened in his own lifetime.’

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