The Hearts of Age 1934


The heart ofage

Short experimental film

The Hearts of Age is an early film made by Orson Welles. The film is an eight-minute short that he co-directed with friend William Vance in 1934. The film stars Welles’s first wife, Virginia Nicolson, and Welles himself. Wikipedia

An elderly woman sits on a bell as it rocks back and forth, while a servant in blackface pulls at a rope. A dandified gentleman appears at the top of a stairway and doffs his hat to the lady; he smiles and courts her attention. She does not respond, but the servant hangs himself. The scene changes to an darkened interior: the gentleman sits at a grand piano and plays, but something is wrong. He opens the piano’s lid and finds the woman lying inside, dead. He leafs through a number of tombstone-shaped cards with different inscriptions – “Sleeping”, “At Rest”, “With The Lord” – and finally chooses one that says “The End”.

The film’s action, such as it is, is intercut with random shots of bells, headstones, a church cross and other images, sometimes printed in negative. Many years later Welles acknowledged that the film was an imitation of the early surrealist films of Luis Bunuel and Jean Cocteau. He did not consider it a serious piece of work, and was amused at the idea of being added to his creative canon

Initial release: 1934
Directors: Orson Welles, William Vance
Screenplay: Orson Welles
Producer: William Vance
Cinematography: William Vance
Cast: Orson Welles, Virginia Nicholson, William Vance, Paul Edgerton, Charles O’Neal

Author: Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

5 thoughts on “The Hearts of Age 1934”

      1. He certainly was. I think the first movie I saw him in was Casino Royale with Peter Sellers and David Niven. I saw him on a television show that aired in the U.S. in the 1970s, a weekly roast hosted by Dean Martin that I thought was hilarious as a kid.


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