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February 1996, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 09:39:14 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Peter Latham wonders:
"Concerning the film "Heavenly Creatures", I have a question:
What is the purpose of the recurring Orson Welles image? Specifically, is he
the embodiment of the murderous impulse conjured up by the girls?
Any thoughts would be appreciated."
I'm not too sure, except that the girls seem to have a love-hate fascination
not so much with Welles himself as with Harry Lime.  While one girl initially
has fallen for the charismatic image of Welles (and he *was* a box-office
draw as an actor until he used up that image through his weight gains and
the self-parodic low-budget films that sustained his filmmaking), the
other girl finds him scarey and repulsive.  They both run home shrieking from
the image of him in THE THIRD MAN and incorporate him into their play-kingdom
as, yes, the Murderous Urge.
It's interesting how Welles has been popping up in recent films.  TOUCH OF
EVIL played a role in one recent film (I want to say THE LAST SEDUCTION, but
I think that's wrong).  And THE THIRD MAN figures again prominently in
LEAVING LAS VEGAS.  All the more surprising, maybe, when my students seem to
so universally dislike  the film's pace and stylization when I show it.
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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