An early Welles' RKO project that came to naught was a Life of Christ. Although Welles never did get to play Jesus, he provided the voice of Jesus in The Little World of Don Camillo (1951), a comedy starring Fernandel as a priest battling Communists in a small town in Italy just after the Second World War. Welles also narrated the dubbed-into-English version of Don Camillo. I'd heard of this film all my life and finally saw it over the holidays. It exceeded my expectations. The Little World of Don Camillo is an absolutely charming film; it has a very nostalgic appeal and reminded me of Vittorio de Sica's best work (the film was directed by Julien Duvivier, who was a friend of Welles). I can see why Don Camillo was a hit worldwide.
In the early fifties, Welles was living the life of a gypsy in Europe and Africa, trying to raise funds to complete his Othello. His narration for Don Camillo was likely done for quick cash to pay Othello-related expenses. Meanwhile, Welles' nemesis Robert Wise was directing the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, with music by onetime Mercury Theatre house composer Bernard Herrmann. Oh, the strange workings of fate!