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Saturday, May 6, 2017

"This was the noblest Roman of them all/ All the conspirators save only he/ Did that they did in envy of great Caesar/ He only in a general honest thought/ And common good to all, made one of them/ His life was gentle, and the elements/ So mixed in him that Nature might stand up/ And say to all the world, “This was a man.”

Henry Jaglom is one of my favorite directors in movies. He has an Altman-like touch- big casts of interesting people who talk about stuff- that's a weakness of mine (a sibling once asked for no more Iris Murdoch novels at Christmas because she said that's the way they were, too).

His 1996 film, Last Summer in the Hamptons, is a good example.

Another, from the previous decade, is Somone to Love. In it, Jaglom plays a director who assembles friends and associates in a theater about to be demolished to ask them about loneliness.

Jaglom and Orson Welles were great friends, and Jaglom put him in the back of the theater, said something like, "So talk," and filmed the results.

Shortly afterward, Welles died at 70.

The movie took two more years to bring out, and it struck me as his valedictory: the great actor/writer/director/success/failure; the man Billy Wilder told, "Give it up, kid, it's all downhill now" after seeing Citizen Kane; the voice of National Geographic Specials; the actor who was Cardinal Wolsey, Harry Lime, and General Dreedle; the master of shoestring productions like Macbeth; the huckster who parodied himself selling wine on TV and doing magic tricks for Johnny Carson.

There was only one, and another will not appear. Joy it was to share his time. Orson Welles was born on this day in 1915.

If you can find Someone to Love, do. Here is a sample:

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