Andrés Vicente Gómez, who worked as a Producer on TOSOTW in 1973-4, has written a short autobiography on his production company website, and there's a chapter on his association with Welles at http://www.lolafilms.com/en-us/who-we-a ... dream-andr
és-vicente-gómez.aspx For obvious reasons, we all need to be VERY careful in our choice of words discussing this.
There are some colourful details about 'Treasure Island' and 'F for Fake', but it's the TOSOTW details which are most interesting. Gómez writes:
Andrés Vicente Gómez wrote:Regarding the end of my relationship with Orson Welles some lies were told, although he assured me they did not come from him. Accordingly, I don't want to go into that matter. I don't deem it relevant to mention the details of our split considering that our relationship was always polite and amicable and we had wonderful moments and experiences together. However, I must make it clear that if I abandoned the project, I didn't do so for financial reasons. My agreement with Welles, written and signed by him, envisaged my work as a producer, not an investor...Certain people who were close to Welles and part of his inner circle - the same ones who are spoiling his works and making a living from them - tried to justify his difficulties by linking them to the fact that I pulled out. They have even gone so far as to say that I had pocketed some of the Iranian money which in fact never existed, beyond the funds that were spent appropriately.
As far as I'm aware, this is the first time that Gómez has acknowledged in print that the accusations of embezzlement from TOSOTW levelled at an anonymous Spanish producer have been aimed at him.
For those who aren't fully up to speed on this, Welles himself outlined the story of an embezzler in some detail to his biographer, Barbara Leaming, on pp.476-80 of her 1985 biography. All the most relevant bits are quoted extensively at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Other_ ... on_history
in the section starting "The first of the backers..." But for obvious legal reasons, the Spanish producer wasn't named.
French producer Dominique Antoine (who worked for the Iranian-owned production company) told the same story, in K.C. Brechner's 1986 piece in American Cinematographer
67 (7), pp.34-38, but without naming them.
The film's co-star Peter Bogdanovich also tells the same story about embezzlement of $250,000 by a producer, in the introduction of the 1998 edition of This is Orson Welles
, but again, doesn't name them (although he does write "I recently saw the person on TV accepting an Oscar for coproducing the Best Foreign Film of the year", in an intro dated November 1997). (pp.xxviii - it should be noted that at the 1994 Academy Awards, Gómez picked up Best Foreign Film for coproducing the 1993 Spanish film Belle Époque
AFAIK, the first time anyone linked Gómez in print with the alleged emezzling producer was in Jean-Pierre Berthomé and Francois Thomas's 2006 book on Welles (translated into English in 2008); p.289, and again on p.292.
Several points come to mind.
Firstly, Gómez says that Welles told him he wasn't the source of the stories - this seems to be contradicted by Welles directly making such accusations himself, regarding an unnamed producer, to Leaming. And doing so in some detail, over a four page account.
Secondly, the version of events as-told-by-Welles-to-Leaming does seem consistent with the timeframe and locations mentioned by Gómez in his recent piece. (Obviously, Josh Karp's book later this year should hopefully clear up many of the inconsistencies about when & where TOSOTW filming/production happened.) Leaming mentions Welles and Oja Kodar during "heavy rains and flooding in Spain...basically cooped up in their hotel" while "the Spaniard" shuttled back and forth to Paris on their behalf, negotiating with the Iranians and allegedly "pocketing" most of the money. Production was then moved to Arizona, with "the Spaniard" still shuttling back and forth, the process of alleged embezzlement continuing for a while there before the producer was eliminated from the film's shoot.
Andrés Vicente Gómez wrote:[My involvement in TOSOTW] started in Madrid. It was there that we devised the strategies to be followed. We did it at the Hotel Eurobuilding, where Welles stayed for five months, and continued working in Paris. There, we stayed for the whole summer at the Plaza Athenée trying to obtain the necessary finance.
and then Gómez records production moving to the States, where "We settled in the middle of the desert". It does appear that the geography (if not the details) of the version propounded by Welles, Bogdanovich and Antoine is consistent with Gómez's version. And Gómez's account gives more specific details about which hotel, for how long, etc.
Thirdly, I notice an embellishment at the start of the chapter. Of his friendship with Welles, Gómez writes
Andrés Vicente Gómez wrote:From the very first moment, a mutual feeling of friendship and interest between us was established and would continue almost until his death a few years later.
Gómez first met Welles c.1971-2, and withdrew from his involvement with TOSOTW in 1974, and this chapter (and the subsequent one) seem to make it clear he had little or no contact with Welles thereafter. Welles died 11 years later.Thoughts? Please keep any comments on this emotive issue CAREFULLY phrased - Andrés Vicente Gómez is alive and well.