Monday, January 10, 2011

Kael on Welles

I was at a party once where conversation turned to Pauline Kael. A guest commented that he didn't know much about Kael except that she "didn't care much for Orson Welles."

The idea that Kael had it in for Welles has been a useful weapon in certain film history debates but it doesn't hold up that when you read what she actually wrote about the man. Here's a representative quote I came across recently:
I mean men like Griffith and von Stroheim and Abel Gance and Eisenstein and Fritz Lang and Orson Welles who thought big, men whose prodigious failures could make other people's successes look puny.
From the review of the Bible, collected in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang.