best film: Citizen Kane is a top five all-time film. It is so clearly worthy of its lofty reputation and the praise bestowed upon it. It’s a stylistic showpiece that never gets old or relents. That said, Welles is an all-time great auteur and starred in eight of his own films so there’s a lot to choose from in the Welles cannon here (Touch of Evil chief amongst them) and then you have Carol Reed’s masterpiece: The Third Man. All three of these films are towering masterpieces but the answer is, of course, Kane.

best performance:  Citizen Kane and this choice is not so easy. I think Kane is the answer though I’m not married to it. In Kane Welles essentially plays two roles—the ambitious and cocky (and charming as hell) young upstart and then the soured and vicious older man. It’s an ambitious performance worthy of praise. In Touch of Evil and Chimes at Midnight he’s so much more interesting than the “leads”. His face is so fascinating.  On a per-minute basis his work as Harry Lime in The Third Man may be the best. He’s talked about the entire movie leading up to his arrival, shows up, torches it, and then leaves. It’s spectacular.

stylistic innovations/traits: Welles is magnificent in three of the best 100 movies of all-time (Kane, Touch of Evil, Third Man) and if you throw in Chimes at Midnight that is a hell of a 1-4 performance mount rushmore. There’s not a lot after that and he’s even pretty spotty in the other 4 films in which he directs and stars. I think in those I’d rather see someone else (even in Lady From Shanghai which I list as his 5th best performance below). So the depth in that filmography just isn’t there from an acting standpoint but he is, of course, first and foremost a master of an auteur- one of the all-time greatest.

directors worked with:   Welles (8) and Mike Nichols and Carol Reed once a piece

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Touch of Evil
  3. Chimes at Midnight
  4. The Third Man
  5. The Lady From Shanghai

Archiveable films

1941- Citizen Kane
1946- The Stranger
1948- Macbeth
1948- The Lady From Shanghai
1949- The Third Man
1952- Othello
1955- Mr. Arkadin
1956- Moby Dick
1958- Long, Hot Summer
1958- Touch of Evil
1965- Chimes at Midnight
1966- A Man For All Seasons
1970- Catch 22