Great work, Roger. That sounds like a fascinating memo. Somewhere I have Welles's instructions for the new scene where George finds Isabel unconscious, which I found in the Peter Bogdanovich archive at Lilly. I'll have to go through my notes to see if I can find it. One of these days someone should put all the memos from the whole Ambersons/It's All True debacle together into a single book. That would tell the story better then any biographer could.
That's very interesting to hear how Wise thought both porch scenes were splendid in and of themselves. Also, the continuity of the last part of the picture that Moss apparently was requesting seems to correspond to what was eventually shown at the second preview in Pasadena-
Jack's farewell at the station
Fanny collapsing at the boiler
George's visit to Bronson
George's walk home and repentance
Lucy and Eugene in the garden
At the risk of sounding like an apologist for Moss, who clearly bungled things for Welles, I've always felt that this order would have been the most effective, and indeed, the Pasadena preview was said to have been much more successful then the disastrous first preview at Pomona, where Welles's requests were carried out pretty much to the letter, including both the 'big cut' and his completely eliminating the Lucy/Eugene garden scene later on.
Not to make any wild speculations, but Welles's Pomona cut almost completely eliminated Anne Baxter from the second half of the picture, which I've always felt was interesting in light of the passage from Frank Brady's CITIZEN WELLES book, where Baxter recalls how Welles made a crude pass at her one night after drinking nine demolitionary martinis. Is it possible he was getting artistic revenge against Baxter for spurning his sexual advances?
As far as Welles's explanation for wanting the 'big cut', I've never seen a clear-cut answer to that, but I do know from the research I did at Lilly last year that Welles said he was unhappy with some of Delores Costello's line readings during those scenes, particularly her letter-to-George scene, where Welles thought she sounded too 'sibilant'. But I think a more likely explanation is that Welles simply got cold feet about the oedipal nature of those scenes. Whatever the reason, Welles's "Pomona" cut seems to have seriously diminished the importance to the picture of both Delores Costello and Anne Baxter. It was also obviously a much darker and more despairing conception of the story then the script he had originally submitted to RKO for approval. That may be partly why they felt they had the right to massacre it the way they did.
One last note:
Let me apologize for this in advance, but here's an excerpt from THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORSON WELLES:
According to David Thomson, Welles had every reason for returning to reedit "The Magnificent Ambersons" but was reluctant to leave Rio. When Jack Moss, Welles's new manager, was asked by RKO's Cy Endfield why Welles did not return, Moss showed Endfield footage featuring Brazilian chorus girls and said that Welles, who had shot the footage, told him "I fucked that one...and that one...and that one." Moss added, "There's no place in the world where he can do what he's doing there."