I told Larry French that you had finished your review of Callows book, and I was going to ask him him to post the link on the Wellesnet main page, but since you've already provided us with that link, it would now seem to be a redundancy... Anyway, can we agree that if Catherine Benamou's book on IT'S ALL TRUE says that Welles was actually under budget when the plug was pulled on the film by RKO, that you finally accept that as the the real truth of the matter?
And isn't it ironic that Welles two documentary (or essay films) where titled: IT'S ALL TRUE and F FOR FAKE. It sort of sums up Welles entire life and career. But in one of the most brilliant observations I think Welles made, he told Kenneth Tynan: We are made of opposites; we live between two poles. There is a philistine and an aesthete in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don't reconcile the poles, you just recognize them.
Now isn't that the truth?
I certainly think so. We all are a big mass of contradictions, certainly Orson Welles was. He could be charming and he could be an ogre. But can't we all? We all love and hate, and can be nice one minute, and angry the next. But journalists especially want to categorize you into a convenient box. With Welles it was the "Boy Genius, who lost his talent and got fat, never living up to his promise." Well, we all know that is a completely untrue story. Or if you were Garbo the press said let's make you the great loner. If you were Boris Karloff, let's cast you as the great boogeyman, even though Karloff was probably the nicest, most considerate actor in Hollywood.
So it's idiotic to listen to any of these standard press descriptions, since it reduces an artist to a one line biography.
But depending on your view, Welles was either a genius, or after CITIZEN KANE, a total failure. I don't think anyone who is reading this needs to be convinced that Welles was never a failure, even with his worst film, whatever you might think it was. Instead I think as Joe McBride posits in his new book, it's the audiences, particuarly in America, who let Welles down, by not supporting a great visionary artist. In that regard Welles was like a Van Gogh. Never appreciated in his own time, because he was so far ahead of it... except for CITIZEN KANE, which everyone Universally regards as a masterpiece.