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Me and Orson Welles 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars (36) IMDb 6.8/10

Student Richard Samuels wins a minor role in the 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar, directed by a youthful Orson Welles. During the week he makes his Broadway debut, finds romance with an older woman and discovers the dark side of genius after crossing the imperious, brilliant Welles.

Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes
1 hour, 48 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Richard Linklater
Starring Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes
Supporting actors Zac Efron, Zoe Kazan, Eddie Marsan, Christian McKay, Kelly Reilly
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: DVD
This is a little gem of a film - based on Robert Kaplow`s fictionalised account of the landmark 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar directed by Orson Welles.
Christian McKay gives an entirely credible performance as Welles and the re-creation of the production itself is marvellously evocative; at the time the play caused quite a stir with its contemporary anti-fascist message and bold design. Clearly a great deal of time and research was spent on getting the details right - even the actors playing Joseph Cotton and John Houseman bear a convincing resemblance to the real people.
The backstage story is entertaining and the cast is first rate; Efron acquits himself well and Danes plays her character - an ambitious, independently-minded production assistant - very convincingly, but make no mistake this is McKay`s film.
Much of the shooting was done in the UK and there was a lot of blue-screen work involved in re-creating 1930`s New York; the use of period swing music - lots of Goodman, Ellington and Dorsey - complete the feel of the times. Look out for the night-club scene; that's Jools Holland at the piano, backing up singer Eddi Reader - who also gives a lovely rendition of "I Surrender, Dear" right at the end of the closing credits!
Extras on the disc include some deleted scenes, a 12min. summation of the Caesar play scenes, two featurettes - "The making of..." and "The real Orson Welles" and a Q&A session with the cast and director.
This is a very underrated film and director Richard Linklater has really pulled out a winner; well worth your time if you enjoy theatre and the theatrical, a good story, or are just interested in Welles.
At the time of writing this review the DVD is available at a good price; don`t miss it.
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Format: DVD
Saw this at the cinema at the end of last year. Wrote a review (which Amazon have lost), so am now having to write another one! Yes its worth writing about... Let me start by being honest and saying if you're not really that interested in the theatre then you most probably will find this film boring. However if you are interested in the theatre or have tread the boards like myself, then you will probably thoroughly enjoy this. There is quite a bit of humour in this film, and it is definitely one I could watch again.

The story is based on Welles' earlier career when he directed in the theatre (prior to going to film). The year is 1937 and Welles is in the early stages of directing the Mercury Players in the production of Julius Caesar. A 17yr old high school kid (Zac Efron) chases an opportunity of a lifetime to make it as an actor by work with Welles in his performance at the Mercury Theatre. The rehearsals are not exactly going smoothly (technical hitches, hissy fits etc!) Along the way, the young man finds his first love - the Directors P.A (played by Claire Danes). Unfortunately for him, there is a more mature man on the scene, who always gets his way...

I studied Welles' career years ago at college and was so impressed with Christian McKay's 'first major role' performance as Orson Welles - he played him just as I imagined him to be! He even looked like him! (Although he was nominated, I was hugely disappointed that he didn't win a BAFTA - he deserved it!, and where was the Oscar nomination?!)

Zac Efron plays his character well in his first adult-oriented film role to date. Christian McKay steals the show though, and if anything, see this film for his superb acting.
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Format: DVD
An immensely entertaining film focussing on the rehersals for Welles legendary production of Julius Caesar in 1937. The story is told through the eyes of a fictional character, Richard Samuels, played beautifully by Zac Efron, a young man who lucks into the part of Lucius after encountering the Mercury Theatre Company, and Welles, in the street.

Both in form and in content there are strong echoes of "Shakespeare in Love", but with the startling originality of Christian McKay's performance as Welles, which captures Welle's genius, charm, ego, pettiness and ruthlessness in a seemingly effortless sweep. The movie is worth watching for this alone, but it also has much else to recommend it: a deeply entertaining behind the scenes account of the production of a great play; a touching portrait of a youthful affair between the lovely Clare Danes and Efron; and the great Eddie Marsden, who has over the years produced some memorable performances as terrifying characters, here playing the gentleman that was John Houseman.

The looming tragedy of World War 2 is underplayed in favour of a sense of youthful hope in the spite of the encroaching fear and disappointment: even the worst circumstances are replete with possibilities as Efron's character ultimately learns.
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Format: DVD
When I heard that teenage heartthrob Zac Efron was going to star in Richard Linklater's film based on the novel by Robert Kaplow about a fledgling actor who gets his lucky break playing Lucius in Orson Welles' legendary Mercury Theatre Broadway debut production of Julius Caesar in 1937, I was a little uneasy yet undeterred due to my enduring fascination with Welles it was always going to be compulsory viewing.

Having sat through at least two of the High School Musical movies my expectations were set suitably low, however much to my surprise Efron acquits himself rather well here as his easy looks and effortless charm are a perfect fit for the role of Richard Samuels, an indefatigable stage-struck romantic who forms a rapport with the celebrated iconoclast Orson Welles played with startling verisimilitude by newcomer Christian McKay.

The film is set just after Orson and producer John Houseman (Eddie Marsan) had their admirable run in with the government over the censorship of the musical The Cradle Will Rock due to writer Marc Blitzstein's affiliation to the Communist Party. This was a Federal Theatre Production; the project was one of FDR's New Deal initiatives aimed at giving jobless men practical work during the Great Depression, however Blitzstein's play had a pro-unionist message that did not sit well with the presiding administration and the theatre was locked and all the props seized provoking Welles and Houseman to hire an alternative venue out of their own pockets to stage an impromptu performance requiring some of the cast to deliver their lines from seats in the audience; the sensation was documented in Tim Robbins' 1999 movie of the same name.
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