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Best Shot Special: The Orson Welles Centennial !

HMWYBS: Mid Season Finale 

Orson Welles  burst on to the cinematic scene in 1941 with Citizen Kane, which has led numerous film polls across the decades as the 'Best Film Ever Made'. (Kane's nearest rivals for the title in frequent pollings here and there seem to be Vertigo and The Godfather) It famously lost all but one of its Oscar nominations (Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz his co-writer took the Original Screenplay prize, Welles' only competitive Oscar) but genius is rarely fully appreciated in its time. Incredibly, the writer/director/actor was only 26 at the time but he was no one hit wonder adding several more classics to his filmography before his death at 70 years of age in 1985. For today's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode, our midseason finale (the series returns on June 3rd), I asked participants to choose between Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, my personal favorite of his), and The Lady From Shanghai (1948) depending on what they felt like watching.

Gawk at beautiful screengrabs from those movies from 10 Best Shot participants. Click on any of them to be taken to the corresponding article singing that shot's praises...

5 participants 

54 Disney Reviews - first time participant! welcome

Antagony & EcstasyThe Entertainment JunkieA Fistful of FilmsAllison Tooey

5 participants 

Coco Hits NY

Antagony & EcstasyA Fistful of FilmsAllison TooeySorta That Guy

5 participants 

Lam Chop Chop
The Film Experience

Antagony & EcstasyA Fistful of FilmsFilm Actually

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT will return on June 3rd with Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (1990). More films for the summer TBA... until then tell us your favorite shot or moment from anything Orson Welles in the comments. 



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Reader Comments (17)

Just tweeted you my post, sorry I'm so late!

May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShaunT

Great end to a great season!

May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCoco

thank you COCO. and thanks for taking my message seriously and inviting a friend along :) this series is always more fun with more sets of eyes.

i'm a little disappointed with the turnout for this midseason finale -- especially since two of the choices were such short movies -- but what can you do. I need to learn to look on the bright side and i love reading everyone's posts.

May 6, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm also surprised by the low turnout (especially with Citizen Kane in the mix), but I'm looking forward to reading all these posts!

May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Citizen Kane is full of extraordinary shots but my favorite is when you see Kane's mother talking with the lasyer inside the hoise and through the window you can see Kane playing in the snow with rosebud. The choice made by his mother and how it changed his whole life.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Great use of shadows. So many film makers think every corner needs to be lit into flatness.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

No two ways about it, the turnout is depressing. But then, Welles is one of my all-time favorites.

But hey, everybody picked some terrific, terrific shots. Not that it's hard to do with this set of film. And I enthusiastically co-sign Henry's thoughts on the use of shadows.

May 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

Allow me to add a few more shots to the pile. I'm just late because I had a lot to do today.

I chose to do two of the movies; Magnificent Ambersons (which I haven't seen before) and Citizen Kane. You can find them at my livejournal account under the titles "A Bygone Tale We Cannot Fully Understand" and "Critical Kane."

Thank you so much for doing "Kane", seriously. I've wanted to gush about my chosen shot for AGES.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Tooey

Maybe more shots will trickle in ... I wanted to watch all 3 films as well but ran out of time! I can't wait for the second half and Dick Tracy!

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLam

squasher, lam, allison, tim, coco -- all you regulars make this series so satisfying to keep renewing. each year I'm like "maybe this should be the last," but then i remember how edifying / interesting / provocative the previous season was and i'm like "oh, hell. one more time"

I'm REALLY excited for the second half of the season. Dick Tracy and Magic Mike woohoo. haven't decided the others yet.

May 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

i also wanted to say that lam chop chop and film actually's chess board stills from Lady from Shanghai made me so envious -- how did I not clock all of that?

May 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh, rats! Why am I always forgetting to look at this site? I would have loved to do the Orson Welles challenge!

Some great choices here!

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGina

The low showing is shocking to me...but maybe it's a case of more being too much, with three options people feeling like they couldn't choose or decide or that they needed to do all three and couldn't find the time.

Alas...the shots chosen are all great so :-D

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

PLEASE keep doing this series. I love it, even though I typically only manage to watch about a third of the movies in time for the post. I never submit my favorite shot, but I often choose one anyway and/or try to predict others' choices.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercash

Great selections from the participants. As Nathaniel knows, I just returned home from a vacation, otherwise I'd have been all over this. My choice would have been a cheat, combining shots of Agnes Moorehead in Kane and Ambersons.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Please keep doing the series Nathaniel, there are those of us who love looking through the choices and the comments. I always learn something, even about films that I think I know really well. I never seem to make a submission even though I mentally choose a shot or a scene.
I'm renewing my request for Joe Wright's "Pride & Prejudice", to honour it's 10th anniversary.
And I promise that regardless of what film you choose the next time, I will submit an entry.
(pinky swear)

I suspect the low turnout has more to do with the advent of Summer than with the choice of Orson Welles. When that nice weather comes we are all taking some time to go outside. Thanks again to all who make this series what it is.

May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

It was such a neat experience to participate and I look forward to doing it every chance I can. I have actually not seen the other 2 Orson Welles films but they are on my list. I love the way he uses shadows to create layers within the storytelling.

I've been enjoying this project as a viewer for a while so it is neat to participate!

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterR Wagner

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