The Fountain Of Youth may not be one of the better known films made by Orson Welles (it is often overlooked due to limited availability), but it certainly should be. According to its Wikipedia page, the film was produced as a television pilot for an ill-fated anthology show that Welles was going to develop, but ended up airing on NBC’s Colgate Theater for only one broadcast. It was adapted from a short story by John Collier called Youth From Vienna, detailing a couple’s desire to be forever young. The film’s stature lies in its extremely inventive use of pairing stills with live action and voice-over, as well as its ambitious and layered storytelling—now serving as a reminder of what might have been if Welles had succeeded in its production.
“To shoot a scene, there was a slide projector sixty feet or so away from the camera that projected the still onto a huge opaque screen (which more than filled the camera lens) in front of which we worked. A few pieces of furniture, or whatever were required in the foreground to dress the set, completed the arrangement. Most scenes were in either medium or close shots and, rather than cut from one scene to the other, Welles had the actor stand in place while the opaque screen behind him dissolved to the new scene. If the actor was going from an exterior to an interior, the lights on him would go dark, leaving him in silhouette during the backscreen dissolve. As the background changed to the interior, the lights came up on his face and he removed his hat and coat as the camera pulled back revealing the new interior set.”