Good News Welles fans: I have located the missing interview tapes with Stefan Drosseler! So all the many questions about the Welles programs that have been posted for Mr. Drosseler in a seperate thread will now be answered on Wellesnet - along with many other fascinating details - once I have transcribed the tapes, and allowed Stefan to review them, since English is not his native language.
I also have conducted a long interview with Gary Graver, and I must say I found both Stefan and Gary to be very nice, down to earth people, with many interesting stories and quite fascinating information on Welles. Of course, once the interviews are posted by Jeff on Wellesnet, readers will be able to decide that for themselves...
I also must say, I found each of the six programs presented by Mr. Drosseler to to be of tremendous interest and excitment, and can't imagine anyone interested in Welles work not wanting to see them. The standout program for me was devoted to the unfinished films, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND and THE DEEP. Having read comments by several people that suggested OSOTW is not very good, or doesn't deserve to be finished - I totally disagree with that negative assesement - especially after seeing the beautiful selections of clips (all edited by Welles) and assembled by Stefan. While it may be true that a completed OSOTW may not play nearly as well as the clips, since a good deal of editing remains to be done on the film - which obviously cannot be done by Welles. However, the six clips shown in LA were all quite brilliant in their conception and execution, and clearly indicate to me that OSOTW would be a Welles masterpiece if he had finished editing it.
Two new scenes I'd not seen before were standouts, and I'd not seen any comment on them previously:
An exchange between Jake (John Huston) and Zarah Valeska (Lilli Palmer) before Jake blows out the candles on his birthday cake. Zarah asks Jake about his leading man, John Dale walking off his picture, and presents him with his birthday cake, telling him to blow out the candles. Hannaford caustically says, we should get Juliette Riche if we want somebody to blow…
The scene contains several beautifully framed shots of Lilli Palmer and John Huston, both lit by the candles on the cake, but they are never seen in the same shot - only in reverse shots - but beautifully edited together - just as Huston describes in his autobiography, since Lilli Palmer had already shot her scenes.
Another scene is set on the MGM studio back lot:
John Dale (Bob Random) is seen standing naked on a raised set, and starts pulling his pants up, as the red Indian actress (Kodar) approaches him. She leads him to an old bed frame with no mattress - only rusty springs, allowing the ensuing sex scene to be shot from below the bed at a low angle. Amid the standing sets of the studio backlot they lie down and begin to make love, while all through the scene, Hannaford is directing the two actors offscreen on how to play it, giving his directions in a increasingly negative tone to John Dale - the handsome young star he secretly covets. Hannaford says: (I'm paraphrasing here) "That's it move your hand slowly across her thigh," then - "Johnny, really stick your tongue in her mouth," etc. Finally as Hannaford's directions become more and more abusive, John Dale gets up from the bed, and runs off down the dirt street of the studio backlot town, stark naked, as the camera pans over and follows him. Hannaford continues taunting him: "that's it, leave now and you'll never work in this town again... Keep the camera rolling boys, I want a complete record of this." Though we never see Huston, his performance dominates the scene with the marvelous vocal intonations of his voice.
We then cut back to Jake's birthday party where the sex scene was being projected, as the camera pans across the long faces of Jake's cronies (Edmond O' Brien, Mercy McCambridge, etc) who are standing in semi-darkness, lit only by the light of the movie projector shining it's image on the screen…
In typical Welles precision, the last slow panning shot in Hannafords movie, from right to left, is matched by a cut to the slow panning shot in the projection room from left to right.
And finally, here is an early scene, that ends on a highly comic note, and recalls the car driving scenes in TOUCH OF EVIL - since we know that the camera in TOE was mounted on the hood of the cars, in OSOTW we actually see the cameraman shooting Hannaford on the hood of the car in the following sequence:
Hannaford is driving a covertable sports car through a twisting hilly road (the Hollywood Hills?) and Brooks Otterlake, a hot young director and protégé of Hannaford's is seated next to him.
In the back seat are two journalists, and on the hood and trunk of the car, are a cameraman and a soundman, who are both positioned to record Hannaford's every word. The opening lines play in overlapping dialogue.
Okay, I'm ready to go.
Don't mind us.
I want a drink.
Mr. Hannaford, is the camera eye a
reflection of reality, or is reality
a reflection of the camera eye?
Or is the camera really a phallus?
Take it from me fellows. Our friend
here, he just hates being interviewed.
So I donated a lot of my own tapes.
Save your voice Skipper. It's all here
on the tapes. Right here -- Listen.
Let's scatter them here and there among
you cineastes. To spare him as many
questions as possible.
Answers -- now those are my department.
A glass of whiskey is poured for Hannaford
The Whiskey's for him, Pister...
And let's have it.
Hannaford is handed the glass and a delighted look appears on his face.
Mr. Hannaford, could you please slow
down... Otherwise I'm going to fall
off the car.
The camera pulls back to reveal the soundman sprawled across the trunk of the car, holding on for dear life, as Hannaford speeds around a turn in the curving road.