Telegram From Orson Welles to Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammoir (1951)
Book ID: 64912
Telegram from Orson Welles to Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammoir concerning the Oscar nominated Return to Glenascaul. Mounted, framed & glazed [39 x 42cm].
Welles in Venice writes that their letter describing the narration required from him was delayed and that he had ‘shot some optional prologue film’ for them. “Return to Glennascaul” to which this telegram relates, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject.
Orson Welles made his professional acting debut at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Welles left New York on the SS Baltic in August 1931, bound for the Grand Tour – but spent almost all his time in Ireland. He disembarked in Galway, visiting Connemara and the Aran Islands. In Dublin, he attended the Earl of Longford’s play ‘The Melians’ at the Gate Theatre. Among the cast he spotted an actor he’d met in the west, and went backstage, where he caught the eye of Hilton Edwards, who had been looking for someone to play the Duke in a play called Jew Suss. Welles claimed he was an actor in New York. Edwards later said he didn’t believe a word, but still hired him on the spot. Welles received a standing ovation on opening night in October 1931. He then appeared in a series of Gate productions, including Hamlet. He left Ireland for home in 1932, but throughout his Hollywood career and world travel, Welles kept in touch with MacLiammóir and Edwards. When he directed a movie version of Othello in the early 1950s it was Micheál MacLiammóir whom Welles asked to be his Iago.
Around that time he returned to Ireland and made a short film with Edwards and MacLiammoir called “Return to Glennascaul” (1951). It was filmed in the Phoenix Park and narrated by Welles, who played an American who picks up a hitch-hiker who hears him tell a disturbing ghost story. This atmospheric little film was shown for many years in Dublin cinemas before the main feature.