Ray: You have put an enormous feather into Wellesnet's cap by bringing us Josh Karp and the promise of his fabulous book, An Adventure Shared By Desperate Men (That Finally Came to Nothing). I hope he keeps this title because it says so much. May Mr. Karp only be able to change one or two words in that title -- the last ones!
Meanwhile, just as Colonel Viktor Kleinhaagen has gone on assignment to Brazil with Todd Baesen, his chief secret agent, my old friend Major Dino M. Christiansoni, has sent me a report I'd not come across. No doubt others here have, but if Mr. Karp has not seen the following anecdote, he may find it amusing, ironic perhaps:
According to Major Christiansoni, a keen student of Orson Welles, a DVD has recently been released of START THE REVOLUTION WITH OUT ME, a film directed by Bud Yorkin, starring Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder, and narrated by Welles. According to a commentary track provided by Yorkin, Sutherland, and Wilder, the 1970 French Revolution parody was originally to have been narrated by Laurence Olivier. An elaborate set had been prepared on an I8th Century French estate (or a facsimile thereof), consisting of a library where Olivier, reading from a massive journal, would open the picture, flanked by two large wolfhounds. As Olivier walked around the aristocratic formal grounds, providing a ponderous context for the comic goings-on, the dogs trotting ahead of him, he would constantly have to interrupt himself by having to wipe dog excrement off his shoes.
Olivier supposedly fell ill just before the shoot (or perhaps, had just read his part in the film, aforehand). In any case, Orson Welles, who was gathering money and ideas for his own projects, including perhaps, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, had two days to spare, and agreed to step in for Olivier, then possibly the most distinguished stage and screen actor in the English-speaking World. In full costume, props in hand, letter perfect, Welles entered onto the set. Director Yorkin and the other stars were ready to go. "And . . . ACT -- " Suddenly, Welles put down his cigar, raised in one hand the tome from which he was to be reading, and waved with his other a silk lace handkerchief reprovingly at the Director and Company.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he supposedly announced, "Orson Welles does not step in dog [bleep]!
Subsequently, there was a quick re-write of the script and a redressing of the set. Hence, we have the film we see today.
I tell this story as it was recounted to me from Shawnee Camp, near Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Major Christiansoni. The story may be apocryphal, but the point of the anecdote might be germane to the thesis of Mr. Karp's book! Let's hope we all, one day, find the treasure of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is only pure cinematic gold. . . .