Wayward Wayfarers: Orson Welles

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Just a couple of excerpts from the early pages of My Lunches with Orson:

Henry Jaglom: Isn’t it shocking that we all do so little to alleviate all this incredible suffering?

Orson Welles: No. No, because it’s only one aspect of our essential sinfulness. We are sinful in so many ways.

Henry Jaglom: I never want to believe you have a religious bent, but, actually, you do.

Orson Welles: I know. I believe we’re much healthier if we think of our selfishness as sin. Which is what it is: a sin. Even if there is nothing out there except a random movement of untold gases and objects, sin still exists…Everything we do that is self-indulgent, and against what we were born with, the capacities we have, what we could make of this planet…And there’s no remission for what I mean by “sin” except doing something useful. The confessional does the same thing as the shrink, rather more quickly and cheaper. Three “Hail Mary’s” and you’re out. But I’ve never been the kind of religious person that thinks saying “Hail Mary” is going to get me out of it…You see, I’m religious, but you don’t need God and his angels to feel that way. “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves”…

Orson Welles: You must stop trying to figure out why I have antipathies. Don’t waste our time.

Henry Jaglom: You mean just accept them?

Orson Welles: Yeah. That’s right. Irene Dunne was so dry-toothed and such a good fucking Catholic that I wanted to kick her in the crotch. Such a goody-goody. And she was always heading the censorship groups, and all that. Conservative, in a terrible Catholic-Christian way that I found peculiarly offensive. To me, she was the nonsinging Jeanette MacDonald, you know. And I hated her as an actress. She was so ladylike that I knew there wouldn’t be any electricity between us…

Henry Jaglom: In England, you know, you have a man named Michael Lindsay-Hogg, of quite considerable stature and prominence, going around insisting that he’s your son. Says so on television.

Orson Welles: It’s extremely unlikely, which I’ve never told anyone, because I never slept with his mother, Geraldine [Fitzgerald], all the time she was staying with me. She lived in my house when I was divorced from my first wife, for the first six months I was in Hollywood. She was not my type…

Henry Jaglom: Maybe you just forgot.

Orson Welles: Well the dates are right. So there’s just a chance that he is. He believes it. I have no idea. He’s a talented fellow…He’s a very good director…

Henry Jaglom: He made the first few of those Brideshead Revisited episodes that I like very much. The pilot, and about six others – the best ones.

Orson Welles: Really. I didn’t know that. Brideshead is the only [Evelyn] Waugh novel I don’t like. Waugh was my idea of the greatest writer of the century. I read Waugh through, all the works, except Brideshead, once a year. That’s how much I like him. It’s the greatest therapy. Black Mischief and A Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies.



  1. Jonathan Webb says

    All I can say is, “wow.” So, wow.

    Thanks for this.

  2. Thank you Matt! Other than that, Webb already said it all.

    possibly related: foals
    file under: not quite as deep as VW, lack of clothing, wayward wayfarers, sin

    I don’t know much about them or if a cry to Mary means anything or if the last line cancels it all out or I’m just overthinking this… but have at it.

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