Precocious I

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The Fountain of Youth

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

What a pity! Why didn’t anyone ever employ this guy? Yes, I’ve heard the stories, but really! With no means at all, and with what appears to be utter effortlessness, Welles fashions this cinematically agile, thematically piquant concoction. The tone is Mephistophelian, but not Faustian. That is to say that temptations and devils abound, but without any system or salvation or even worthiness to balance it. The result is that everyone deserves what everyone gets. Bitterness? Having fun, and letting the eye twinkle, I think. More wonderfully, look at the use of shadows and backdrops, simple lighting effects, stills, narration and dialogue tricks (remembering Sacha Guitry’s Story of a Cheat?). I guess as the years go on the pitifulness of the situation diminishes somewhat. Welles did keep busy, after all. As Jonathan Rosenbaum has suggested, the end of the H-wood career wasn’t the end of him, so it would be well for us to leave the reversals to consider with gratitude the things that he so cheerfully and brilliantly turned to. But why didn’t anyone employ this guy?