by Orson WELLES
1934 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 1S / 8' 20

An elderly woman sits on a bell as it rocks back and forth, while a servant in blackface pulls at a rope. A dandified gentleman appears at the top of a stairway and doffs his hat to the lady; he smiles and courts her attention. She does not respond, but the servant hangs himself. The scene changes to an darkened interior: the gentleman sits at a grand piano and plays, but something is wrong. He opens the piano's lid and finds the woman lying inside, dead. He leafs through a number of tombstone-shaped cards with different inscriptions - "Sleeping", "At Rest", "With The Lord" - and finally chooses one that says "The End".

The film's action, such as it is, is intercut with random shots of bells, headstones, a church cross and other images, sometimes printed in negative. Many years later Welles acknowledged that the film was an imitation of the early surrealist films of Luis Bunuel and Jean Cocteau. He did not consider it a serious piece of work, and was amused at the idea of being added to his creative canon.

“Produced as a component of a live summer theatre production, no other exhibition was intended for this film. It is of interest today as the first screen appearance of Orson Welles, aged twenty, with his first wife Virginia Nicholson.” (David Shepard)


distribution format Digital file on server (FHD)
version restored version
notes New music by Donald Sosin
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 24 fps
sound sound
rental fee 29,00 €