Orson Welles Narrates an Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory

In 1973, Orson Welles nar­rat­ed this ani­mat­ed short, which fea­tures some­what sur­re­al art­work by Dick Oden. You can see more of Oden’s work here.

The Alle­go­ry of the Cave illus­trates Pla­to’s view of knowl­edge as pre­sent­ed in Book VII of The Repub­lic: in ordi­nary expe­ri­ence, we see only shad­ows of the true world, which we can only behold by pur­su­ing rig­or­ous philo­soph­i­cal analy­sis.

This is not the only time “The Cave” has been set to film in some form. Open Cul­ture read­ers may recall this bril­liant ver­sion done with clay­ma­tion. Glut­tons for pun­ish­ment may wish to peruse this col­lec­tion of 20 YouTube ver­sions at PartiallyExaminedLife.com, many of them fright­ful­ly ama­teur­ish and some of them pre­sent­ing a warped and/or incom­pre­hen­si­ble ver­sion of the sto­ry.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free­dom Riv­er: A Para­ble Told by Orson Welles

Orson Welles Reads Moby Dick

Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Mark Lin­sen­may­er runs the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life phi­los­o­phy pod­cast and blog, which recent­ly released an episode dis­cussing Pla­to’s Repub­lic.

The War of the Worlds: Orson Welles’ 1938 Radio Drama That Petrified a Nation

Back in the late 1930s, Orson Welles launched The Mer­cury The­atre on the Air, a radio pro­gram ded­i­cat­ed to bring­ing dra­mat­ic, the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions to the Amer­i­can air­waves. The show had a fair­ly short run. It last­ed from 1938 to 1941. But it made its mark. Dur­ing these few years, The Mer­cury The­atre aired The War of the Worlds, an episode nar­rat­ed by Welles him­self that led many Amer­i­cans to believe their coun­try was under Mar­t­ian attack. The leg­endary pro­duc­tion was based on H.G. Wells’ ear­ly sci-fi nov­el, also called The War of the Worlds, and you can lis­ten to the clas­sic radio pro­duc­tion here, or above.

The Mer­cury The­atre also adapt­ed a series of oth­er major nov­els, includ­ing Drac­u­la, Trea­sure Island, and The Count of Monte Cristo. And then there’s Dick­ens. In 1938 and 1939, The Mer­cury The­atre pro­duced two ver­sions of Charles Dick­ens’ A Christ­mas Car­ol. In the 1938 ver­sion (get mp3), Welles played the role of Scrooge. The 1939 ver­sion (mp3) fea­tures Lionel Bar­ry­more (yup, the grandun­cle of Drew Bar­ry­more) play­ing the same role. You can lis­ten to these shows and oth­ers at this web site ded­i­cat­ed to The Mer­cury The­atre on the Air.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Orson Welles Meets H.G. Wells in 1940: The Leg­ends Dis­cuss War of the Worlds, Cit­i­zen Kane, and WWII

The Dead Authors Pod­cast: H.G. Wells Com­i­cal­ly Revives Lit­er­ary Greats with His Time Machine

Orson Welles Explains Why Igno­rance Was the Genius Behind Cit­i­zen Kane

Var­i­ous films direct­ed by (or star­ring) Orson Welles can be found in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.