It seems clear which camp Richard Schickel is in:
"After 1942, [Welles] did almost nothing of unambiguous value."
On Kane: "...people did not yet see that it was less a fictional biography of William Randolph Hearst than a fictional autobiography of George Orson Welles"
"He was either making versions of Shakespeare or cheesy crime novels."
"How, people go on wondering, could the man who created "Citizen Kane," arguably the greatest of all American films, fritter away the rest of his life."
"All the while he pursued his own deluded definitions of genius."
"But Welles' political opinions, situated at the more radical edge of the liberal spectrum, were not to everyone's tastes, and neither was his solipsism."
"Sometimes he just wanted to turn the camera on himself while he bloviated."
Jonathan Rosenbaum has neatly divided most writers on Welles into 2 camps in his 1996 article "The Battle Over Orson Welles": one group who see Welles's career primarily as a failure and not living up to the promise of 'Citizen Kane', and the other group who view Welles's life more "sympathetically and inqisitively" and for whom "...the jagged path of his career can't be charted according to any simple pattern of ascent or descent; there are peaks and valleys throughout." In the above review Schickel clearly identifies himself as belonging to the set of assumptions of the first group, assumptions shared by Kael, Higham, Callow (though he seems to be moving to a middle postion), Carringer and Thomson, and also exemplified by the documentary 'The Battle Over Citizen Kane'. Writers in the second group include Bazin, Brady, Berthome & Thomas, Cobos, Cowie, Leaming, McBride, Naremore, Riambeau and Bogdanovich, and their point of view is embodied in the documentary 'It's All True' . Personally I would add Conrad to the first group, and Anderegg, Benamou, Heylin and Rosenbaum himself to the second group, along with the documentaries 'Rosabella' and 'Brunnen', among others. Rosenbaum notes that the first group describe Welles as "...a deeply flawed, morally reprehensible human being and the [second group] don't." He also (in a comment on Thomson) observes, I think, an assumption made by all members of the first group: "...since Welles clearly never delivered another Kane...there's no point in looking for anything else in his oeuvre, including unreleased work..." work that's never been seen, or has only been seen by a few.
In 2007 Rosenbaum's collection of all his writings on Welles from 1972 to the present entitled 'Discovering Orson Welles' will be published by the University of Calfornia Press; since I believe Rosenbaum to be the single best apologist for the second group, it will act as a necessary corrective to the Thomsons, Schickels, et. al.
Until then, I encourage interested individuals to search out 3 articles which defend Welles against this attack with great subtlety and precision and which also delineate with great clarity the underlying assumptions consciously or unconsciously held by writers in the first group.
1. Rosenbaum, Jonathan: 'Orson Welles's Essay Films and Documentary Fictions', in "Placing Movies", University of California Press, 1995
2. Rosenbaum, Jonathan: 'The Battle Over Orson Welles', in "Cineaste" No.7, 1996
3. Rosenbaum, Jonathan: 'Orson Welles as Ideological Challenge' in "Movie Wars", A Capella Books, 2000
PS: Schickel also makes the following observation in the above review:
"Every great director I've ever known spends months in the editing room, more months on the dubbing and scoring stages, driving themselves and everyone around them crazy with their slavish devotion to detail. When they're not doing that, they're wheedling money out of their backer or fending off suggested improvements. It is how great movies are made."
Funny: this sounds exactly like Orson Welles to me, when making films such as 'Othello', 'Don Quixote' and 'Chimes at Midnight'. :;):