ToddBaesen wrote:Another mistake that Welles made, that I hadn't even thought about before, until Mike pointed it out, was why Welles didn't think of keeping the long print of AMBERSONS he had with him in Rio? If he had it shipped back to his house in Los Angeles, he could have restored the film himself, as he was talking about doing in the sixties. We know from the "smoking gun" memo Catherine Benamou found, that the order to destroy the long 14-reel print wasn't even given until December 21, 1944, which was well after Koerner had already ordered all the AMBERSONS material on hand in Hollywood to be junked.
No doubt the tragic accident in the harbor of Rio was a factor, but Welles had no real obligation to stay for six months overseeing a Latin American cultural propaganda documentary, when his second, potentially great film was in danger from the Hollywood philistines. He must bear considerable responsibility for the beautiful but disappointing hodgepodge THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS turned out to be.
...what's really wrong with all these interpretations is most of them try to place the blame for what happened on Welles, Wise, Schaefer, Koerner, Jack Moss, Rockefeller, or pick your choice...The reality is there is enough blame for everyone to share in, and there really is no chief villain.
Due to the blunders of Jack Moss, Welles revised contract did not give him final cut, but Welles still expected it. After making CITIZEN KANE, why should he think otherwise, and especially after the top studio executives in December saw the rushes and expressed how pleased they were. So just that one detail would have made all the difference... if Welles had kept final cut, no matter who took over at RKO, the film couldn't have been released without Welles having the final say.
Some have reported that a 16mm copy was sent to Welles, but I don't think that would equal 14 reels (more like five or six)...Finally, there was the issue of legal ownership. RKO "owned" the prints sent to Welles; legally, Welles could not confiscate the prints for his own use. At the time, Welles was not aware that RKO intended to destroy the original negative...the idea of trying to retrieve those reels seemed pointless to Welles since AMBERSONS had already been released
mteal wrote: ...although he did preserve those frame enlargements that were seen in THIS IS ORSON WELLES...
mteal wrote:Interesting, I didn't know that. I'd like to see the ones for JOURNEY too sometime, if they're from missing scenes.
mteal wrote:...Another observation: isn't it amazing how much of the IT"S ALL TRUE footage survived down through the years, even though most of it remains undeveloped? Contrast that with how little of Ambersons (and Journey) survived.
"By the way, we saw nothing in so serious a presentation to provoke the merriment so many of the audience saw fit to inflict on us."
- preview card from Pomona (excerpt)
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