Orson Welles' true feelings about his fellow Hollywood stars and directors have been laid bare in newly released audiotapes, in which he brands Sir Laurence Olivier "stupid" and James Stewart a "bad actor".
The Citizen Kane actor/director rants openly about several big screen stars in the long-lost tapes, which were recorded in the early 1980s during candid conversations with his filmmaker friend Henry Jaglom.
In the chats, Welles calls Charlie Chaplin "arrogant", slams Joan Fontaine for having just "two expressions", and admits he didn't like horror icon Alfred Hitchcock: "I've never understood the cult of Hitchcock. Particularly the late American movies... Egotism and laziness... I saw one of the worst movies I've ever seen the other night (Rear Window)... Complete insensitivity to what a story about voyeurism could be. I'll tell you what is astonishing. To discover that (its star) Jimmy Stewart can be a bad actor... Even Grace Kelly is better than Jimmy."
Welles also mentions Marilyn Monroe and recalls, "I used to take her to parties before she was a star... I wanted to try and promote her career. Nobody even glanced at Marilyn," and elsewhere he rages, "I never could stand looking at Bette Davis, so I don't want to see her act."
Welles suffered a fatal heart attack in 1985 before the tapes could be used for a planned autobiography, and they have been kept in a garage until now.
The interviews are set to be published later this month (Jul13) in new book titled My Lunches with Orson by movie historian Peter Biskind.
He explains, "He's not the great director being interviewed by a starry-eyed journalist. He's speaking to a friend, and is therefore free to gossip... Welles comes off as a fascinating bundle of contradictions, at once belligerent and almost childishly vulnerable."