In 1955, the celebrated polymath Orson Welles was invited to write, direct and present his first television production – a series of travelogues exploring Europe. A unique and enthralling entry in the career of one of modern cinema’s most revered figures, Welles’ masterful series is released at last, on Limited Edition Blu-ray and DVD on 24th August. The discs are accompanied by some rare and fascinating extra features.
Part home-movie, part cinematic essay, each episode of Around the World with Orson Welles takes the viewer on a journey to meet famous people and explore the continent’s most romantic cities. In Paris, we are introduced to artists and poets such as Jean Cocteau; in Madrid, we attend a bullfight; in London we hear from Chelsea Pensioners and in Vienna, in an episode which was long believed lost, we are taken to the locations of The Third Man in which Welles starred.
The six episodes (each approx. 26 mins) that were commissioned by Associated-Rediffusion and broadcast on Britain’s then-new ITV channel are: Pays Basque I – The Basque Countries; Pays Basque II – La Pelote Basque; Revisiting Vienna; Saint-Germain-des-Prés; London – The Queen’s Pensioners and Spain – The Bullfight.
The BFI has been marking Orson Welles’ centenary year with a two-month retrospective season at BFI Southbank (1 July – 31 August) and the release in selected cinemas UK-wide of Touch of Evil (1958) and the new documentary, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, which also comes to BFI DVD on 24th August.
Around the World with Orson Welles will be released on Limited Edition Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD on 24th August 2015 by the BFI at the RRP of £22.99 for either edition.
Special features will include:
The Dominici Affair by Orson Welles (Christophe Cognet, 2000, 52 mins): documentary, including a partial reconstruction, exploring the making of Welles’ unfinished Around the World with Orson Welles episode The Tragedy of Lurs, about the controversial Dominici murder case in France
The Levin Interview with Orson Welles (John Phillips, 1967, 27 mins): rare interview of Welles discussing his work and career with Bernard Levin
Illustrated booklet with a new essay by Ben Walters and film credits