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Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Promotional still of Orson Welles narrating the radio adaptation of War of the Worlds 1938 / Image courtesy: BBC
13 MARCH 2014
Orson Welles, one of the most influential figures in North American cinema, will be profiled with an extensive retrospective at the Australian Cinémathèque, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), from April 5 to May 28.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said tickets were on sale now for 'Orson Welles: A Retrospective', a program including the filmmaker's completed feature films as director, selected shorts, documentaries, television and radio work, and highlights from his prolific acting resume.

The program includes the Australian premiere of a recently rediscovered and restored short film intended to accompany a stage play.

'From the esteemed Citizen Kane 1941 to the classic film noir Touch of Evil 1958 and innovative adaptations of Macbeth 1948 and Othello 1952, Welles was an extraordinary creative force in 20th century American popular culture,' Mr Saines said.

'The program will open on Saturday April 5 with screenings of his first two features, Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons 1942, and continue every Wednesday and Saturday evening, and on Sundays.'

The Audio GOMA Bar is open from 5.30pm during Saturday evening screenings.

Amanda Slack-Smith, Assistant Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, said a highlight of the program would be the Australian premiere of the recently rediscovered and restored Too Much Johnson 1938.

'A slapstick comedy initially intended to be shown in conjunction with a stage version of the William Gillette play but never completed, Too Much Johnson was rediscovered in Italy, painstakingly restored and first shown to rapturous response in Europe and the US in October 2013,' Ms Slack-Smith said.

An innovator in theatre, film and radio, Orson Welles (1915–1985) was hailed as the new wunderkind of American theatre at the age of twenty-three, and rocketed to international fame when his 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' alien invasion novel War of the Worlds was misinterpreted as a news report by some listeners and reportedly caused widespread panic. Welles survived the ensuing media storm to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine the same year and attract the attention of Hollywood Studios.

He subsequently negotiated a contract with unprecedented creative control with RKO studios that saw him co-write, direct and star in Citizen Kane 1941, a film which overcame a poor commercial performance at the time to be recognised as an undisputed classic of cinema.

The retrospective includes 12 feature films completed by Welles over the course of his five-decade career, which was marked by a tumultuous relationship with Hollywood studios. Also featured are his documentary F for Fake 1973 and selections from his equally lauded acting career, such as The Third Man 1949 and Compulsion 1959, television episodes and radio plays, including the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast.

Tickets are available via and at the box office prior to screenings.

Adults $9 / 5-film pass $36
Concession: $7 / 5-film pass $28
Members $6 / 5-film pass $24
Promotional still of Orson Welles narrating the radio adaptation of War of the Worlds 1938 / Image courtesy: BBC
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Opening Hours
Monday to Friday  10.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday  9.00am – 5.00pm
(The Gallery has late opening hours when evening
Australian Cinémathèque screenings are scheduled.)