that's tremendous news about LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. chaney was such a pioneer, his work on HE WHO GETS SLAPPED, and UNKNOWN are incredible. would be great to see a restored LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT.
everyone has said it can't be done, can't be restored. schmidlin said it, the guy i spoke to years ago at voyager, have forgotten his name, he's responsible for the welles stuff they do, he said it can't be done. when i slashed it together years ago i was knocked out by the results.
since this is a self financed project, i pray that train of though continues to permeate the minds of those who can subsidise the project.
guys like schmidlin, and herman g. weinberg, that do restorations, are no stupid enough to embark on a restoration out of their own pocket, for no money, with no deal upfront. they need cash to work. mteal and me are stupid enough, and we are doing it.
harvey has thrown some good suggestions our way where to shop this thing when it's ready to show. i think with a bit of luck by the end of this year we will be there.
THE TOUCH OF EVIL BOOK
we talked about this for a while then it sort of dissappeared. this it what happened:
i corrected a lot of stuff that schmidlin didn't like the first time i sent it to him. after the corrections, before resubmiting it to schmidlin, and i was also sending a copy to myron meisel, and val de vargas, who i want to include in the writing credits, i sent it to a friend that teaches film at a university in germany, for him to trouble shoot it before i sent it to these prospectives. meisel, and de vargas were very receptive to the book when i spoke to them about 2 years ago.
below i posted what my friend wrote back. i suppose it will be 5 or 6 months before it's ready to send out again.
Sunday, June 30, 2002
I’ve looked through your manuscript several times, getting my thoughts together. Sorry it took so long, but I wanted to study it as fully as it deserved. Here are my opinions, for whatever they’re worth.
1. The graphics are exceptional. You have illustrated all your points with very clear examples from the film, many of which were quite a revelation to me (who has seen Touch of Evil at least a dozen times!). I particularly like the shots that illustrate the use of shadows, and the use of characters’ bodies as “screens” on which shadows are projected. I also think that this hard work you’ve done will be the best argument in favor of getting the book published, and past any objections put up by Universal and/or the Welles estate.
2. You show a breadth of knowledge about the film, and about Welles’ other films. This allows you to analyze the film in an intelligent, thoughtful way; this is clear in virtually all of your comments. You are also able to discuss Welles’ technique due to this grounding in his other works. At the same time, you don’t fall into the trap of being didactic or esoteric-your comments are always interesting without being too “inside” for a general audience.
3. You’ve drawn on a lot of source material, in addition to the film itself. The quotes from the Welles memos are particularly good (I didn’t even know they existed!), as are the comments by other writers and critics. Of course, this just leads to more potential headaches when it comes to clearing this material for publication, but that’s your problem!
1. There are numerous spelling and grammar mistakes in the pages I received. Of course, it’s possible that you just didn’t get a chance to run it through a spell-checker first, and that this has already been corrected. But there are some cases where you are using words that don’t exist (e.g., “analyzation” rather than the correct “analysis”), or the mis-spellings of names (e.g., it’s “Kristin” Thompson who writes/lives with David Bordwell, not “Christin”). You even write Heston’s name as “Charleton” instead of the correct “Charlton.” (By the way, according to the IMDB, Heston was paid 7.5% of the gross for Touch of Evil-I guess he lost money, eh?)
2. Although I agree with your analysis of the sexual elements of the film (e.g., Susan’s dangerous attraction to Mexicans), I would advise you to tone down your commentary on it. As written now, it comes across as a bit too smarmy and leering, and contrasts with the tone of the rest of the writing.
3. The most serious problem with what you sent me is its form. It is really difficult to follow, and I think that separating out the Welles memo quotes, citations from other authors, excerpts from the screenplay, and your own analysis is the problem in a nutshell. Now, maybe this is not the final form you have in mind for the book, but rather a “collage” you’ve assembled for a rough draft. I hope so, because the information is just too scattered the way it is now. I think you have to come up with an actual traditional narrative, using the citations as quoted material in the body of your own writing. The problem that this presents, however, is incorporating all of the graphics over what will be several pages of text. Obviously, you will have to wait until the final draft is done, and then place the graphics at the top or bottom of the page in which it is most appropriate to the text.
All in all, a very impressive. I think it will appeal to the film buff more than the general public, but you certainly must have assumed that yourself before taking this on. I still fear that rights clearances will be your undoing, making this a quixotic labor of love, but I sincerely hope you prove me wrong in this. If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know, and I hope that the small reservations I expressed above aren’t taken the wrong way.
Most of all, thanks for giving me to opportunity to see even this little bit! I hope I can see more in the near future.
All the best,