By Orson Welles own admission, he was not good at titles. He told as much to Peter B. in THIS IS OW, when he said he wished Tennessee Williams could have written the titles for some of his films.
I hardily agree with Welles, since whether the plays that Williams's wrote were good or bad, they always seemed to have a great title. For example, here are a few titles from some of Williams less known later plays:
SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR
IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE
THE FROSTED CLASS COFFIN
A HOUSE NOT MEANT TO STAND
In any case, looking at the list of Welles film titles Store has provided, it's interesting to note that nearly every Welles film had an alternate title along with an alternate cut.
So for CITIZEN KANE, RKO initially announced it as:
JOHN CITIZEN, U.S.A. and later as AMERICAN
Then, after the next few Welles films which were all from novels, that kept their original titles, we get:
THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI
(Or even earlier, BLACK IRISH)
This is an adaptation of IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE, from a novel by Sherwood King. Who changed the title of the novel to THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI is something no one had yet determined, to my knowledge.
OTHELLO also had an alternate title, as well as the different alternate versions:
THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE
MR. ARKADIN, of course has the alternate title of CONFIDENTIAL REPORT.
TOUCH OF EVIL, is a title Welles said he disliked, and the title of the script that he first read by Paul Monash, and the book it was adapted from was called BADGE OF EVIL.
The title FALSTAFF is another area of mystery. While most people seem to think Welles preferred the title CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, all the evidence from film posters in both Europe and America seem to point towards FALSTAFF as being the title that was most widely used for the film.
F FOR FAKE - Here's the clearest example of a film without a title. Welles apparently couldn't decide on what to call the film, and it was actually reviewed as "Question Mark" in Variety in 1973. It wasn't until it's American release in 1976 that Oja Kodar came up with the final title of F FOR FAKE, which was long after the fact, since the title is never actually seen in the film!
FILMING OTHELLO - although this is the title Welles used on the film, many people writing about the film, notably David Thomson, called it "THE MAKING OF OTHELLO"
Last edited by ToddBaesen
on Thu May 08, 2008 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.