No whine before it's time: Orson Welles reveals the hideous glory of hard times

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!"

It's said that this bit of dialogue was vamped by Orson Welles during filming of The Third Man and was kept because -- well, because he bloody well wanted it kept. He was a great artist, after all. A genius.

Discovering me in the depths of despair in my office one day, my son made me view these two videos. I have them bookmarked just in case I ever take myself too seriously or wax too melancholy about the vagaries of artistic endeavor or forget the refining fire that is hard times.

I especially love the part where he finally begs, "What is you you want? What? In the depths of your ignorance?" as cast and crew struggle through this radio commercial for frozen peas.


That poor man. He sounds as if he's being pecked to death by ducks, and it's clear he didn't suffer fools gladly.

But then who does?

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