He Was a Very Close Friend of Mine


Our Daily Correspondent

Your Monday needs something. But what? Could it be … a 1974 clip of Orson Welles reminiscing about his “friendship” with Ernest Hemingway? It has everything: titanic ego-clashing, disingenuous concern-trolling, bullfighting, damning with faint praise, posthumous character assassination. Welles claims to have been the only one with the courage to mock the great man. Welles is chomping on a cigar.

One begins to feel certain that both of them were awful. And that’s even before Orson Welles starts “camping it up” in a really uncomfortable burlesque of a homosexual. (This delightful interlude is what cemented his friendship with Hemingway—well, that and the obligatory fight.)

And yet, suddenly, when you think you can’t take another moment of macho posturing and pathetic self-promotion, something shifts. And there is real sadness there—not just the kind Welles thinks he’s invoking.

Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.