Here's 2 letters from George Schaeffer and Herbert Drake (Mercury Press rep) to Welles in Brazil ( pasted from the Ambersons site: http://www.ambersons.com/Memos.htm
) which would seem to indicate that not only could Welles return earlier than he did, bit that Schaeffer and Drake wanted and expected him to:
With THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS now undergoing drastic revisions in Hollywood, Welles was facing a whole new set of problems in Rio. With much of the allocated budget for IT'S ALL TRUE already spent, Schaefer sensed that costs might continue to escalate, and became alarmed at Welles' proposal to film a spectacular finale at Rio's Urca Casino.
GEORGE SCHAEFER TO ORSON WELLES:
April 16, 1942
HAVE BEEN TRYING, ALL DAY YESTERDAY AND AGAIN TODAY BUT UNSUCCESSFUL. YOUR CABLE WAS RECEIVED AND I HAVE FULL APPRECIATION OF YOUR PRODUCTION DIFFICULTIES SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I MUST TAKE FIRM POSITION AND CANNOT PERMIT MONEY TO BE EXPENDED AT RATE YOU ARE PLANNING - AND I MUST KNOW WHEN YOU EXPECT TO FINISH. YOU HAVE BEEN AWAY FOR THREE MONTHS NOW AND SURELY WE EXPECTED YOU BACK LONG BEFORE THIS. ON TOP OF THIS, RECORDS INDICATE YOU SPENT $33,000 IN MARCH. THIS IS ALL OUT OF PROPORTION TO WHAT WE EVER ESTIMATED. WE CANNOT GO ALONG ON THAT BASIS EVEN IF WE HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN SHOW AND ASK YOU TO RETURN. THIS IS HOW SERIOUS SITUATION IS. WITH RESPECT TO MY OWN APPREHENSION, I MUST CONTACT YOU BY PHONE WITHIN 24 HOURS AS THERE ARE SOME DEVELOPMENTS THAT LOOK VERY UNPLEASANT IN MANY DIRECTIONS.
As George Schaefer's position as head of RKO (as well as the Mercury's chief supporter) becomes extremely precarious, Herbert Drake, the press representative for Mercury productions, sent Welles this plan to help with his public relations efforts regarding IT'S ALL TRUE and the increasingly hostile RKO regime, which will soon be headed by RKO vice-president, Charles Koerner.
HERBERT DRAKE TO ORSON WELLES (excerpt):
June 1, 1942
You have got to come home right away - hugely - and not sneak in on a plane. You must return with trumpets and banners because the campaign really needs a good hot fillip of the old Welles personality. I have been planting pretty solid stuff locally and nationally and I think we have made par for the course. There have been two other Welles pictures to keep alive, and the RKO anti-Welles battle to fight. It has never been so virulent. The juggling act done by your press office here has been nothing short of extraordinary. I'm as nervous as a cat, and being without information all the time has made things really tough. But a real bang-up arrival can take the newspapers' attention off Kirkoff and Ann Sheridan and focus the limelight on you.
There is a widespread, nurtured campaign to prove you have been spending too much time and wasting too much money in Brazil; that "Ambersons" is no good, and "Fear", ditto. This has gone so far as a personal visit by Koerner to the Hollywood Reporter. As I wrote Wilson, Billy Wilkerson informed his staff that he was quoting Schaefer when he said "Koerner told Wilkerson that RKO would on no condition ever allow you to work in the studio again".
I have shown Ambersons on two occasions to the picture papers, once when it was two hours twenty minutes long and once at one hour thirty three minutes - the final version. They liked it both times, from "Beautiful" (Life) to "Better then Kane" (UP). So, you need a splash arrival.
It will be tough to get Nelson Rockefeller's cooperation, since the whole intent of the Coordinator's office is to avoid anything that looks like publicity. Nothing you can say and nothing I can say can impress anyone with the importance of the expedition, as opposed to the film itself. I can always sell them the idea that your pictures will be magnificent, but they have been hearing about neighborly expeditions for some years now, and Disney's Saludos Amigos took the cream off the idea. However, if someone in Washington will come out with a Thank You statement to you, you will return a conquering hero.