Todd: I think what you neglect in your thinking is the terrible judgment of Time [no pun intended -- well . . .], which hails first efforts early in a career; then, later denigrates similar works or acts for not being the same . . . or being different. Welles, from the beginning of his career, it seems to me, was obsessed by this paradox. In his predictive cinematic autobiographical allusions, he returns to the observation again and again. What was admired in Youth is condemned in Old Age.
For instance, at the end of "The Newsreel" in CITIZEN KANE:
"Charles Foster Kane continued to
direct his falling empire ... vainly
attempting to sway, as he once
did, the destinies of a nation
that has ceased to listen to him
... ceased to trust him..."
That observation of the elderly Kane's struggles becomes perilously close to self-judgment as early as THE STRANGER. The view and vision of this transition between youth and age continues through MR. ARKADIN, TOUCH OF EVIL, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, and F FOR FAKE. [I was increasingly struck by illustrations of the idea as I watched what is really a whimsical epilogue or summation of the latter film: the complete mixed media trailer contributed by ste and Hadji elsewhere.] That central duality might be an obvious organizing principle for a more satisfactory DON QUIXOTE. It might be the touchstone for anyone trying to edit the dual [multiple?] takes on J.J. "Jake" Hanaford's real/cinematic experiences, at the end of his life, in THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.
Increasingly, toward his own end, Welles comes to say that none of the mundane biographical details really matter. Only the works count.
Still, Todd, as Louis McNiece wrote so memorably in "Bagpipe Music": "But if you break the bloody glass you won't hold up the weather!"
A majority of the public, if not our critics, I'm afraid, accept that dictum. Again, if we could only whisper in the ear of Sasha Welles [or whoever it is has the uncut negative in a closet somewhere]: "The movie is called THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, and it is now . . . Showtime!"