Producer Michael Dawson brought a restored version of Orson Welles' "Othello" to movie-goers in 1992. He has been actively working with Woodstock Celebrates Inc. to organize a proper 100th birthday celebration honoring Welles' legacy in 2015. Dawson took time to discuss the 1992 restoration and future Welles projects with Wellesnet's Mike Teal.
By MIKE TEAL
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the restoration of "Othello," which you produced in conjunction with Beatrice Welles and the Paola Mori Estate. What are your thoughts as you look back on that project?
I’m glad we did it. It catalyzed an interest in Welles, and turned up the Bunsen burner on studios looking at the other art fare in their archives, polishing that stuff up and getting a restoration industry going. I look at it as hopefully having been the basis for promoting the concept of restoration in general, but it was also a factor in restoring Orson Welles’ reputation, and correcting the misassumption that he went downhill after "Citizen Kane".
How did you get involved in the project?
I had been working on a documentary, called "Citizen Welles," for about two years, and I did many interviews for the film. One of them was with Beatrice herself, who later contacted me regarding "Othello" and said it was one of the few films that she inherited from her mother’s estate. She said that some company in Italy was going to try and release the film, and I said that what she should do to try and stop that is to get a hold of the original elements of the film. (more...)