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The Fountain of Youth (1958)

A couple is conflicted when they are offered a chance at youth.


Orson Welles


John Collier (story "Youth from Vienna"), Orson Welles
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Marjorie Bennett ... Journalist
Madge Blake ... Journalist
Billy House ... Albert Morgan
Rick Jason ... Alan Brody
Nancy Kulp ... Stella Morgan
Joi Lansing ... Carolyn Coates
Dan Tobin ... Humphrey Baxter
Orson Welles ... Host / narrator


A couple is conflicted when they are offered a chance at youth.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Romance







Release Date:

16 September 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Orson Welles Show See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

"She could feel and almost hear the remorseful erasures of time."
13 May 2008 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

In 1958, the same year that he turned a B-movie thriller into one of film noir's greatest entries, Orson Welles was offered the opportunity to venture into television productions. He really was the perfect candidate for such a position; having kick-started his entertainment career hosting the radio programme "Mercury Theatre on the Air," he had already had much experience presenting classic works of literature in hour-long time-slots, demonstrating a keen capacity for unique and innovative storytelling {his October 30, 1938 broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" is now legendary}. Producer Desi Arnaz basically gave Welles complete creative control, and he decided to adapt "Youth from Vienna," a story by John Collier. A little-known film from Welles, 'The Fountain of Youth (1958)' was originally intended as the pilot for a television series – not unlike "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," I'd imagine – but production was ultimately, and inconceivably, discontinued after the single episode.

Humphrey Baxter (Dan Tobin) is a respected scientist, an expert in the peculiar field of human glands. When the aging researcher falls for young theatre actress Carolyn Coates (Joi Lansing), everybody in New York – even Baxter – is surprised when the beautiful socialite, in turn, falls in love with him. After a three year absence in Vienna, where he has been conducting secret research, Baxter returns to America to find that his woman has abandoned him for a handsome tennis player, Alan Brody (Rick Jason). With extraordinary patience and restraint, the scientist draws together his painstaking plans, to exact cold and damning revenge on the woman who has betrayed him. 'The Fountain of Youth' toys with classic notions of aging and mortality, raising the possibility of prolonged life and emphasising its destructive effects on the human mind. A taut and intelligent psychological drama, the film – aside from being entertaining – leaves you with plenty to ponder.

Many early television shows have a tendency to be horrendously stagnant and monotonous, with actors exchanging unconvincing lines amid a shoddy-looking production set with cardboard walls. However, Welles borrows from his extensive film-making experience to produce a work that is both refreshing and enjoyable. The eccentric editing techniques – cutting sporadically between still frames, live action and Welles' enigmatic narration – are similar to his later work in 'F for Fake (1974),' and help make the story almost compulsively watchable. Like most of Welles' masterworks, many of which failed spectacularly at the box-office, the director's genius was also the cause of his own downfall, for he was consistently ahead of his time, and possessed an artistic vision with which producers and audiences could not identify. Thanks to the short-sighted producers who failed to green-light "The Orson Welles Show," we mortals will never hear the tale of the man-eating tiger orchids… and that's the greatest tragedy of all!

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