Thanks for the feedback on my list; I actually had included the all-Black Macbeth, but edited it out of the list as its inclusion could be misunderstood; but you have reminded me that OW dated and married "WOMEN OF OTHER RACES :0 " from the beginning: Delores, Rita, Lina, Eartha, etc. Also he was criticized by a studio spy down in Brazil for filming "a bunch of jigaboos jumping up and down", and for focussing on the fortazelas (the slums) as well as on voodoo ceremonies, instead of just filming a nice, feel-good travelogue which would increase solidarity and especially tourism.
And of course the beginning of his career occurring just at the time the U.S. was gearing up for war, which probably affected the results of the 42 academy awards as well as the editing of and response to Ambersons.
Have you read the issue of Persistence of Vision from back in 1989? It was really a collection of papers which had been presented at a conference, and there's a whole section on It's All True with papers by Robert Stam, Susan Ryan and Catherine Benamou. They really cracked open this whole concept of racism and the Brazil trip; and not just racism but "post-colonialism", the "cultural superiority" assumed by most individuals from the so-called western culture.
Benamou is very interesting and Jonathan Roenbaum has reported that she has almost completed a book on Welles in Brazil, but is a perfectionist and is doing a bit of a Quixote with it, never quite finishing it; but she's a specialist in American (including Latin American) studies. You might recognize her name from the credits of "It's All True" which she was an important part of, but here's a little example of her writing from a web-site devoted to a Brazilian film festival of a couple of years ago:
IT'S ALL TRUE An Event Remembered, An Unfinished Film
"It's All True" is the name of an Orson Welles's four-episode film whose beginning dates back to 1941, when the director still had a contract with the RKO Radio Pictures studios in Hollywood. The movie would have been the second feature film directed by Welles himself - placed somewhere between "Citizen Kane" (1941) and "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942) - and the 5th project proposed to RKO by Welles's Mercury Productions. Welles, who wanted to transpose real-life stories to the screen, created the title. These stories would take place in North America and would include an episode about the life of musician Louis Armstrong, traveling over his origins in New Orleans to his national success in New York and international triumph in Europe. Taking place in different communities and regions, these four episodes would shape a mosaic of America in the face of modernity, illustrating its cultural and racial diversity and evoking its democratic process - with emphasis falling on the worker's dignity.
One of these four episodes began production on September 1941 in the states of Jalisco and Zacatecas, Mexico - the episode based on a story bought at the border of Mexico and the Untied States by the filmmaker Robert Flaherty (1884-1951) - director of influential documentaries such as "Nanook of the North" (1922) and "Man of Aran" (1934), and also co-director of F.W. Murnau in "Taboo - A Story from The South Seas" (1931). This episode has been titled "My Friend Bonito." It was probably inspired in a story, which took place in Mexico City in 1908, about a friendship between a wild bull and his tamer Bonito. Their friendship ended up saving the animal from death, thanks to the public in the bull's ring. The shooting was put on hold on December 1941, when Norman Foster, then a director under the guidance of Welles, was called back to Hollywood to direct "Journey Into Fear" (1942), a low-budget RKO project starring Welles, Joseph Cotten, and Dolores Del Rio - who was having a romantic and committed relationship with Welles at that time.
Welles intended to connect the Mexican episode to two new episodes to be shot in Brazil during a planned trip on request of the politician and businessman Nelson Rockefeller and supported by the strategic agency "Coordination of Inter-American Affairs." Rockefeller was counting on Welles as the "Ambassador of Amity" to tighten the ties between Brazil and The U.S., an endeavor in the cultural sector already initiated by the actress Carmen Miranda during a crucial moment of the war against the Axis. His arrival in Brazil has coincided with the Pan-American Conference, where all the Republics of the hemisphere should prove and display their alliance to the United States' rationale in the defense of the allied countries in exchange of commercial benefits.
The consequences of Latin American countries siding with the United States during the War turned up shortly after in the cinema and industry sectors. In Argentina, a country that formally maintained its neutrality during the War, the movie industry underwent a sudden fall after the cut on U.S. celluloid exports. In Mexico, where film production was decentralized and growing erratically, the movie industry managed to take a hegemonic position and triumph over other Latin American countries during and after the War. Brazil was also dreaming of establishing its own movie industry, supported by the Estado Novo protectionist legislation. Contrary to many Hollywood representatives, Welles announced his intentions to help the growth of the Brazilian movie industry, an undertaking not entirely surprising when considering the content and the strategies of the two Brazilian "It's All True" episodes.
According to the logic of the American version of the movie, the Brazilian episodes should be built on real stories. Like in the Mexican episode, the two filmed in Brazil would be shot in locations corresponding to the events portrayed in the film, mixing well-known actors with people without any familiarity with the film making, who would contribute to the drawing of the characters' contours and the dramatized events with their own experiences. Therefore, "It's All True" might be considered a film parting from Brazil and Mexico "to the outside," instead of just another example of a folkloric or bucolic picture made for consumption of eventual tourists in the audiences of American movie theaters.
The basis of communication and understanding among cultures and nations would be built through the practices of popular culture and the efforts by peoples of each country in the recognition and improvement of the relationship with social and political elites - these were the most important sectors for the commercial, cultural, and martial politics of "Amity." The first episode shot by Welles was "Carnival," a real documentation and celebration of the carnival from Rio de Janeiro, in all its different manifestations and places. The film drew a dramatized portrait of the social geography of samba, from its origins in the shanty-towns, including those slums formed by internal migrations, to more sophisticated places in the cosmopolitan cultural circuit like the Cassino Atlântico, the Cassino da Urca, and the Teatro Municipal.
Two actors were responsible for linking these spaces as well as samba variations such as choro, Afro-Brazilian drumming known as batuque, and samba de enredo: Sebastião de Souza Prata, known as the Grande Otelo, and the singer Peri Ribeiro, the oldest son of Herivelto Martins and Dalva de Oliveira, two great artists of the Brazilian music. Grande Otelo and Peri Ribeiro played respectively the parts of malandro, a streetwise man and controversial figure in the public realm under the Estado Novo regime, and that of a boy, lost in the amusement dance searching for his mother. This episode was entirely shot in Technicolor -- a huge innovation for Brazil at that time -, and would work, in theory, as the Brazilian answer to the episode (only planned, never filmed) "Jazz History" starring Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and other musicians in the cast, with musical arrangements by Duke Ellington.
The second Brazilian episode called "Four Men on a Raft" (or "Jangadeiros," the typical raft riders from Northern Brazil), would round up the South American section. It would dramatize, starring the original protagonists, the courageous odyssey - in both political and physical terms - of four raft riders from the state of Ceará who sailed off the city of Fortaleza to Rio de Janeiro, from September to November 1941. Their objective with this trip was to claim their inclusion, as a working class, in the system of Social Security offered by the Estado Novo to those that worked in the agriculture. President Getúlio Vargas signed a law-decree guaranteeing this protection on November 17, 1941, a decision interpreted by Welles as a sign of the president's goodwill during the democratic process that should follow Brazil's entrance in the War along with the United States.
Unfortunately, the shooting of "Jangadeiros," first done in Technicolor, then in black-and-white, coincided with two devastating events that affected both the community of raft riders in the Fortaleza colonies Z-2 and Z-1 and the future of "It's All True," also impacting Orson Welles' career in the U.S. In May 1942, during the shooting of the raft riders' arrival in Rio de Janeiro, the leader Manoel "Jacaré" Olimpio Meira vanishes in a sea accident at Barra de Tijuca (under some observers' view - the same type of accident that killed the activist Chico Mendes). Jacaré was replaced by his brother, João Jacaré who, in the new plot, travel to Rio with the three survivors. This new plot also demanded the inclusion of the fictitious death scene of a young raft rider called Sobrinho. In June, during Welles's trip to Fortaleza with the small crew formed by Richard and Elizabeth Wilson, the secretary Shifra Haran, and the photographer George Fanto (borrowed temporarily from Cinédia, with the assistant Reginaldo Calmon), the president of RKO George Schaefer resigns from his position. Soon after, Mercury Productions is banished from the studio.
The material filmed in Mexico and Brazil has never been entirely edited by Welles - who wanted to include samba recordings originally composed by Dorival Caymmi, Herivelto Martins, Grande Otelo, and Pixinguinha, and sung by Emilinha Borba, Orlando Silva, Linda Batista, and Chucho Martínez Gil. For the episode "Jangadeiros," the soundtrack of his dreams would comprise Heitor Villa Lobos, and for "My Friend Bonito," the Mexican modern composer Carlos Chávez. The soundless rough copy of the movie, lacking a final script of the Brazilian episodes, has hindered the RKO specialists' task of deciphering the plot and the cultural importance of what had been filmed.
After Welles's departure to Europe in 1947, his studio practically cannibalized his scripts and much of his material recorded on film in movies such as "Pan-American" (John H. Auer, 1945), "Notorious" (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946), and "The Brave One" (Irving Rapper, 1956), among others. As a counterpoint, Welles managed to rescue some of his aesthetic and thematic ideas through a series of quotations made in the following movies: "The Lady from Shangai" (1948), "Macbeth" (1948), "Othello" (1952), "Mr. Arkadin" (or "Confidential Report", 1955), "Touch of Evil" (1958), and "Chimes at Midnight" (1965). However, these quotations were ignored for many years, probably due to the refusal of Welles's critics in Europe and in the U.S. to recognize the existence of a project which, although canceled during its execution, was still almost entirely in the memory and imagination of its Brazilians, Mexicans, and Americans creators.
The film's cultural legacy lives on the Portuguese and Spanish languages. During the years when the material was vanishing, it lives on essays written by critics Tomás Pérez Turrent and Emilio García Riera ( México), Antônio Paranaguá, Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes e Vinícius de Moraes (Brazil), and in the movies by Nelson Pereira dos Santos and Glauber Rocha at the dawning of the Cinema Novo. After its recovery, this legacy has become visible in cinematic homages, like the trilogy by Rogério Sganzerla.
Besides some excerpts, which can be cherished in a copy that this Festival will screen, there is a larger text and story to be rescued from the cans stocked up in the UCLA collection and yet labeled "It's All True." They are 68,145 feet corresponding to "My Friend Bonito"; 32,000 feet in black-and- white, and 3,000 feet in Technicolor corresponding to "Carnival," and 48,500 feet in black-and-white of "Jangadeiros." This material still needs to be preserved - a process that depends not only on the recollection of the events and of such a peculiar project in the continent's history, but also entails the public appreciation of those countries involved in its production. Welles and his collaborators' innovative efforts in a moment of shared artistic inspiration deserve all our support.
Associate Producer and Executive Researcher of "It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles"
We can only hope she finishes her book, as it will be the definitive report on Welles and Brazil. By the way, I know a Brazilian couple, and the fellow is 50, and though not born in 1942, Welles is still a respected legend to him; one can only conclude that Welles touched a sympathetic nerve in Brazil, and a somewhat different kind of nerve in the RKO boardroom.