Just catching up to this swiftly moving, lively thread --
Christopher: How heartening it is to read of your belief that major retrospectives of ALL Orson Welles' works should be held in the United States, where he was born and bred, the country where I'm sure he would like to be honored as one of its most significant artists, one its greatest citizens and patriots.
Gang: I'm worried about a tendency we have: we get off on these arguments over whether or not Welles wrote much of THE THIRD MAN; or more recently, about which biographical stance toward Welles is the best one; or now, what city should house the next major retrospective of his work. I bring these up because I've been guilty of taking part in all of them.
Whatever we may think of Mr. Schickel's sneak review of Joseph McBride's book, one of his shots struck near to me. He spoke of "acolytes" of Welles as if they were crazies. There's an outside chance that he was referring, in part, to me -- to us!
We may have an opportunity soon, in some small way, to really bring public attention and finances to the works of Orson Welles. The greatest accomplishment that we might help bring about now is to celebrate the Artist in all his multiplicity, to bring closure for all those alive who knew him and kept his flame, and to advance his unrestored or unassembled works, with a view toward their completion, at a major appropriate venue in the United States.
The planning, financing, advertising, and protocols of such a venture are beyond the ken of most of us. We, myself included, have an off-the-cuff weakness for proposing single-handed projects to restore DON QUIXOTE or to re-make CITIZEN KANE in anime. [Wait, wait, I say that only in jest!] And I'm the first to proudly step forward to write a cheque for five dollars to accomplish it. We really do need to get some responsible institutions behind our efforts, or Beatrice Welles will not need to sic her legal teams upon our projects.
If we are seen as a group of well-intentioned dilletantes disputing tertiary matters, or complaining about in what city the reception tables are to be set up, we may be defeating our larger potential.
If so, Richard Schickel may not be the only one to conclude that Welles' advocates are nuts, no matter how untrue we know that to be, in our hearts. Let Joseph McBride or Jonathan Rossenbaum be the best advocate for the reputation of Orson Welles, but I beg us not to do anything which would drive off possible backers.