I'm a longtime Mahlerite too, and I think the situation with Welles' unfinished films is similar to the situation of Mahler's 10th symphony, now available in four different performing editions by four different Mahler enthusiasts. That's why I'd like to see more then one crack taken at completing each of the Welles films (It would be especially disappointing to see Jess Franco's cut of DON QUIXOTE be the last word on the subject).
Anyway, being a lifelong classical music buff is one of the things that attracted me to Orson Welles, probably the most symphonic of all filmmakers. That's also why I appreciate Ken Russell's attempts to tell the stories of famous composers like Mahler, even if his films do go off the deep end at times. It's not a very commercial subject which, I suppose, is why Russell felt he needed to spice things up. Boy did he ever: Glenda Jackson getting gang-groped in the asylum in THE MUSIC LOVERS and MAHLER's 'conversion' scene are two of the most spectacularly tasteless things I've ever seen in a movie.
For some reason, when you mentioned Aldous Huxley as the author of THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN and as one of the screenwriters for JANE EYRE (along with Welles and Houseman) I was reminded first of Huxley's DOORS OF PERCEPTION and then of MORRISON & ORSON WELLES, a wierd but entertaining little piece at the now-pretty-much-defunct Welles ng at
Jim Morrison, of course, took his band's name from Huxley's book and was reportedly an admirer of Welles too. The character of John Dale in THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND certainly bears a strong resemblance to Jim Morrison, and it would be interesting if the two ever really had met.
Welles also said that he and Huxley were chums, and spent many hours debating the pros and cons of using hallucinogenic drugs to explore the mind (which makes me wonder if Welles ever saw Russell's ALTERED STATES, in which William Hurt makes his first appearance with The Doors' LIGHT MY FIRE on the soundtrack). In CITIZEN WELLES, Frank Brady strongly suggests that Huxley's roman-a-clef novel about Hearst, AFTER MANY A SUMMER DIES THE SWAN, was one of the inspirations for CITIZEN KANE, so that may have been the source of their friendship.
The only Huxley novel I've ever read is BRAVE NEW WORLD, but I'd like to eventually get to both "Swan" and "Devils". It's also been a long time since I've seen Russell's film of THE DEVILS, and I'm looking forward to seeing the complete version although yes, it's pretty gruesome stuff.
Russell's project about Nicholas Tesla also sounds interesting. The earlier Tesla film with Welles also stars Oja Kodar as the love interest, wearing a brown wig that makes her look like Kathy Lee Gifford (Remember her? She used to be a star). Welles, as J.P. Morgan, sounds like he's reading cue cards, and does half of his part while lying in bed. Maybe that was one of his contract stipulations.