Yeah, I do get a sense of Welles' spirituality from some of the Mercury broadcasts, most notably in "The Man Who Was Thursday". I guess both the selection and the treatment of it portray a certain warmly humanistic, yet non-denominationally theological side. I also seem to recall from what I've heard of "Ceiling Unlimited" that he shows quite a pensive, spiritual side there, too. I'd be interested to know of any particular instances you've come across that exemplify his spiritual side. I suppose I'm aware of the totemic power he attached to Moby Dick (as mentioned in the Independent article) and Don Quixote, but I'd be fascinated to hear about any specifics.
Ruth Warrick briefly mentions her sense of Welles' spirituality this on the easter egg on the North American/Australian version of the Kane DVD. She doesn't go into much detail, but she mentions that although it may seem surprising, she found Welles to be a very spiritual person, and quoted him saying that if one really knows Shakespeare and The Bible, it's all one really needs (I'm paraphrasing, as I don't have the disc on hand).
When Welles has been mentioned lately in arts broadcasts and articles over here, it's generally with the same sense of grandiosity and ultimate underachievement, sometimes tinged with intrigue into his unfinished or unreleased films - he's usually portrayed as the great filmmaker who could never finish anything. But I feel that with just a slightly greater familiarity with Welles' work, the sense of spirituality, good humour and human warmth, temper completely the sense of grandiosity - he always seems to have been aware of his talent and achievements, but always aware of particular mistakes and shortcomings. I find him one of the most warm and likeable of directors, much more so than (for instance), Lang, Hitchcock or Preminger.
I tend to feel that that Welles' later work is in some ways his most personal. I suppose many filmmakers move towards making more personal, autobiographical films in later life, but I feel Welles, through necessity as much as anything, touches on a very direct, human element in some of his later work and fragments, with the same mastery that he displays in his earlier, studio films. Those 1970s "Moby Dick" extracts show so much warmth, so much humanity, and I find them extremely poignant; in the way that such a master of the cinematic form has become able to convey so much even in such a stripped down manner - transcending cinema convention and returning to a most personal form of direct address. Perhaps that's why I find difficulty with the Faustian analogy of underachievement - rather than Birdseye commercials and the Transformers movie, for me Welles' later years represent some of his finest work - "F for Fake", "Filming Othello", and those poignant readings of American literature for the Japanese market in the early/mid eighties.
I'll make sure to look out for Clinton Heylin's book. Incidentally, and in response to MR, Bogdanovich gave a 25 minute interview this week on the BBC News 24 programme "Hard Talk Extra". He spoke only in passing of Welles- in response to a question from the interviewer asking if there was any of Welles in him, his response was that he was flattered by the comparison, as he loved Welles dearly; and contrasted them in the sense that "...the advantage I had, that Orson didn't have, was that I did make three pictures that were successful. Orson had the bad misfortune of not making any films that were "box office". And so they [the studios] were just basically uninterested in him". The more I see of Bogdanovich and his work, the better I like him. He's equally well aware of his own talents, failings, achievements, and mistakes; and I find his candour quite endearing. There's a link to a synopsis of the interview here:
The page includes a link to a RealMedia stream of the entire interview, but I haven't been able to get it to work, maybe the link is broken.