The glories of stumbling across an Orson Welles short I’d never seen — “Return to Glennascaul”

Any film buff knows the pleasures of Turner Classic Movies — TCM — the cable network that replaced AMC — American Movie Classics — when AMC veered from its initial mission.

Old movies, pristine prints, a real cinema historian/cinema completist’s paradise. I tend to mute the introductions as I find the vapid Mankiewicz and assorted telegenic teleprompter readers annoying, but all in all, a valuable resource.

We were waiting up for SNL the other night when I noted this one was coming up, a little-seen Orson Welles-narrated ghost story made in Ireland (The GF and I LOVE Ireland) by the Gate Theatre folks– Hilton Edwards — who “discovered” him in the early 1930s and sent him on the road to glory.

It’s a damned Old School Wellesian delight. Orson as “rhapsode,” as my grad school adviser labeled him — a yarn spinner, storyteller. Welles, in Ireland rehearsing “Othello,” relates a spooky (predictable) tale told to him by a hitchhiker.

And even though Hilton Edwards is the credited director, Hell’s Bells, this is a short Welles film — moody and shadowy, immaculate Wellesian shot compositions and full of Orson blarney, whimsy, winking at his fame, the Irish, etc.

This isn’t as good a print, but here’s the film.

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