It's odd, I heard that the first time the makers of Ferry To Hong Kong heard the film thought of as a comedy was when Welles described as such in an interview: up until they had thought of it as an action drama. Anyway:
Store Hadji said: "I've heard so many times about the 'spectre of failure' associated with Welles, how he didn't live up to his potential, on and on. I remain supremely happy with his entire body of work, and think his films such as The Trial, Falstaff, and even F for Fake were breaking new ground for Welles and showed his undiminished interest and capacities for editing, writing, and performance.
Movies are made outside of Hollywood, you know."
Amen. Sometimes some people(such as that IMDb reviewer)'s gloating over the crap Welles appeared in seems rather morbid to me. I can see the appeal, lots of people love a good sob, or even a sadistic chuckle, over how the mighty fall. But to me a Welles who had a continuous career making compromised films in Hollywood would have been a far more tragic figure than the Welles who refused to put his name on anything that wasn't his, and so had to work as a jobbing actor.
Re: stature and output, Indeed, I think any filmmaker worth bothering with would rather make a dozen great films than 100 average-to-poor ones. For example, Robert Bresson made a tiny number of films by the standards of Billy "One-Shot" Beaudine, but I know whose work I, and I suspect the majority of film lovers, would rather watch.
Harvey said: "However noble his intentions, Welles slummed and damaged his reputation in scores of lousy pictures."
Well, it's odd, but I don't think Welles would be respected as he is today solely for his acting if he hadn't been a director. Of course, if he had taken better roles, his acting might have really shone, anyone know if he was offered any really good roles he turned down?
Harvey also said: "To the uninitiated (meaning most of the public), Welles is more familiar from his appearances in dreadful movies directed by others than he is from Falstaff, F for Fake, Filming Othello or The Dominici Affair."
Well, the thing is, those of us who come here aren't uninitiated. We're initiated, we know why the crap roles were taken, so, personally speaking, I don't think we have to worry too much about what the uninitiated know. To many people, Welles is a ham actor who made one good movie (though most of them don't see what's so good about it): I don't put myself into the shoes of those people, mentally speaking, because I imagine it's a very boring place to be.
"But Heston probably caught Ferry to Hong Kong on the late show one night and sat, shaking his head in disbelief, saddened to see the dreck the Great Director was appearing in — not two years after directing Heston in the masterpiece Touch of Evil."
That's an interesting image. If only Heston could have known as he shook his head that within a few years he'd have made Skyjacked and Airport 1975 , eh?