Sedona’s Citizen Welles

Continued (page 5 of 6)

Was there a movie theater in Sedona, and did you go see movies?
There was the Flicker Shack, but we didn’t see any movies. Again, coming home was sacred. In those days, there was no VHS, so it was just TV.

Your mom, Paola Mori, was an Italian countess who thought Sedona was beautiful, but what did she think of living in such a rural area?
It was difficult for her – more difficult for her than me. I left London for her because she was going to be alone in Sedona. We knew nobody. She got to know people through me. I worked for [Sedona watchmaker] Geoffrey Roth for a while just to have something to do. But it was tough for her. There was nothing.

Did your mom consider coming back to Sedona?
She wanted to, she loved it here, but she didn’t think about coming back. She needed to stay in Vegas.

She painted, right?
She was very artistic.

Did she paint Sedona?
Yes [gestures to room behind her] – they are in there. But there was always a dog in it or me – Sedona was the background. They are very sweet and charming paintings. I come from a very artistic family. And here I am…making handbags [laughs]. I am artistic. I realize that now, but it never dawned on me that I was artistic. It took forever to realize it was there.

Your father seemed to like working with family members. His second wife, Rita Hayworth, was in The Lady From Shaghai. Your half-sister, Christopher, was in Macbeth. Your mother was in Mr. Arkadin and you were in Chimes at Midnight. Did it make him feel more comfortable to be around familiar faces or was it a matter of economics?
I think it was both. He did a lot of adaptations, and he thought of specific people while he was doing the adaptations. Economics was always a huge part because he put all of his money into his movies. Everyone thinks I must be rolling, but they don’t understand. He made all of these movies, put all of his money in, and then it ended up being owned by someone else.

Parts of The Other Side of the Wind, his last, unfinished, film were shot in Carefree [Arizona] just prior to the time he lived in Sedona. Was any filming done in Sedona or other parts of northern Arizona?
No, only Carefree and Los Angeles.

Did he ever mention the possibility of shooting in Sedona?
No. He was home. The moment there was my mother and me, it all changed. Not when we were traveling, but when we settled in London. We didn’t think about making movies. [Editor’s note: Welles filmed a conversation with lifelong friends Roger and Hortense Hill in Sedona in June, 1978, that he may have intended to use as a segment in a never-completed self-portrait to be titled Orson Welles Solo. Portions of this footage, renamed Orson Welles Talks With Roger Hill, have been restored and were screened at Switzerland’s Locarno International Film Festival in 2005]

Comments are closed.