A soundtrack for “The Story of Samba” from the Carnival episode of Orson Welles’s IT’S ALL TRUE
You can now Download 12 selections from the many songs Orson Welles was considering using for the original soundtrack to The Story of Samba episode of It's All True.
Thanks to João Perdigão / Canhotagem for providing this valuable link and compiling these vintage songs from the Brazilian artists Orson Welles was planning to use in his movie. Astonishingly enough, Welles was once again clearly ahead of his time. It's All True would never see the light of day in either Brazil or the US, but several of the singers and songwriters he chose for the film all went on to have substantial careers in Brazil. Four of the most prominent are:
Grande Othelo, Linda Batista, Herivelto Martins (Trio de Ouro) and Pery Ribeiro. Interesting clips of their work after appearing in It's All True can easily be found on YouTube. You can also read more about Brazilian singers and Praca Onze in Popular Song at Daniella Thompson's excellent website on the subject.
For the song titles below I have attempted rough English translations, but obviously these may be incorrect, so anyone who can help with better translation of the song titles or lyrics in English, please let me know.
Citizen Samba / by Canhotagem
1) Linda Batista – Batuque no Morro (3:05)
(Drumming on the Hill)
2) Anjos do Inferno – Nós Os Carecas (2:27)
(Hell's Angeles – We the Bald)
3) Pixinguinha – Carinhoso (2:57)
4) Trio de Ouro – Ave Maria do Morro (2:59)
(Gold Trio w/Herivelto Martins – Hail Mary of the Hill)
5) Dom Um Romão – Escravos de Jó (4:04) 2001
(The Slaves of Jó)
6) Época de Ouro – Um a Zero (2:12)
(Time of Gold – One for Zero)
7) Vadico – Se Alguém Disse (2:12) 1959
(If Somebody Said)
8 - Anjos do Inferno – Nega do Cabelo Duro (2:59)
(Hell's Angeles – He Denies them Hard Hair)
9) Orlando Silva – Lero-Lero (3:21)
10) Trio de Ouro – Lamento Negro (2:52)
(Gold Trio – Black Lament)
11) Ataulfo Alves – Ai, Que Saudades da Amélia (2:43)
(The Lament for Amélia)
12) Trio de Ouro with Castro Babosa – Praça Onze (3:08)
EXCERPT FROM A TIMELINE ON THE MAKING OF IT'S ALL TRUE:
THE OCIAA BOARD REJECTS COMPLETION FUNDS FOR "IT'S ALL TRUE"
May 25, 1943
In May Welles tried to get the new head of RKO, Peter Rathvon to allow him to finish IT’S ALL TRUE for a reduced budget of $100,000 but was once again rebuffed. 20th Century-Fox was now out of the running as a possible backer, but Samuel Goldwyn had showed a glimmer of interest in the project, which quickly faded after the OCIAA was now officially withdrawing it’s offer of $300,000 to complete the picture.
Thus, the OCIAA essentially orphaned a project they had lobbied Welles to undertake in the first place! Despite this setback Welles’ continues to write several proposals for the film. In these excerpts from later treatments, Welles adopted the style of his later essay films, F FOR FAKE and AROUND THE WORLD WITH ORSON WELLES where he would inject himself into the story by becoming both host and commentator on the events we are being shown on-screen.
In this treatment, Welles would arrive in Mexico, where he would be told (and tell) the tale of Bonita the Bull. From there it would be on to Brazil for the Carnival in Rio, which would be followed by the story of the Jangadeiros, when they arrive at Rio’s Harbor.
ORSON WELLES TREATMENTS (excerpts)
September 2, 1943
This is a picture divided into several parts. It is not, however, an arbitrary selection of short subjects, nor is it vaudeville. This is a new sort of picture. It is neither a play, nor a novel in movie form–it is a magazine.
(I am) ready to leave elaborate historical pageants to other movie-makers. The way (I) look at it, people are interested in people, and I’m going to use the camera to show American people to each other. Since the focus of the main part of our picture is on simple people, the incidental characters in the linking sequence are, wherever possible, presented as cultivated and well-to-do. The purposes of this tactic are I am sure, self-evident.
For FOUR MEN ON A RAFT, Welles would have read passages from Jacare’s own diary:
JACARE: We are part of another land. We belong to a great nation - Brazil. There is a President in a capital city. He is just. If he knew of these things, he would never permit them. We will go to him and he will help us …since the producer’s relations with the President of Brazil were of the very warmest, no possible official objection need be expected.
Here are some of Welles’ different approaches to the CARNIVAL footage:
We watch the people pouring into the city, dressed in as many different costumes as there are individuals. We see them swarming on the trolleys, like flies on a piece of sugar; we stop to watch the magnificent parade of floats; we listen for a moment as a lovely sambista stops the show at a swanky Rio night club...
In one treatment, Welles would turn over his hosting chores to a young boy:
Pery, this tiny, captivating child has lost his mother somewhere in the milling crowds... Making his way through seas of dancing feet with unperturbed good cheer, Pery becomes our guide... takes us places and shows us sights a stranger might easily miss during this first night of the Carnival.
Then, in the hills above Rio, Welles would meet Grande Otelo, and introduces him to us:
His name is Otelo. Remember that name. It belongs to the performer himself and this isn’t the last time you’ll encounter it. This is only his first American picture, and he’s a big hit in it, for sure. Otelo likes to be compared to Mickey Rooney, but he’s closer to a young Chaplin.
…From here we will come upon (Otelo) often as a type among carnival celebrants, a personalization of many popular aspects of the institution. This we think has been managed in the completed film in terms of truly uproarious entertainment.
Welles explained his plan to cross-cut between singers Grande Otelo and Linda Batista performing the song Batuque no Morro (Drumming on the Hill), noting the contrast between Otelo on the street and Batista at the Orca Casino.
…The contrast is one not only of voices, but of directions: The Carnaval of traditions is a celebration of the streets alone. But recent years have seen a trend indoors to the Baile and the Casino. The contrast, as it’s illustrated by this song, isn’t extreme—but the raucous raggle-taggle jamboree of the streets and the more professional, if equally enthusiastic atmosphere of the nightclub, is interesting in juxtaposition.
For the grand finale, Welles stresses the reason he was sent to Rio in the first place:
…when it seems that everything has been shown, the star enters to top everything. In our case, the star is the Americas. Rio’s carnival becomes Pan-America's carnival... the Americas, all Americas together, are joined in fact as well as in idea, today rather than in the future.
…we see Rio awakening in the dawn of the morning after.
Richard Wilson’s shooting log of June 7, 1942 describes this ending for the CARNIVAL episode:
…This scene showed the lost child who had been featured throughout, now alone and asleep against the lamppost, surrounded by mounds of confetti and the debris of revelry in empty streets stretching for blocks. Dawn is breaking. As distant figures of street sweepers appear with their brooms, a policeman tenderly picks up the sleeping boy, asks his name and where he lives. The boy's answer is a sleepy murmur of his favorite Samba, featured throughout. Their walk away is inter-cut with Grande Otelo saying farewell to Plaza Eleven as that song, also featured, plays like an echo. The lamp above the street sign goes out. Silence.
From this fade out, we’d go back and see Welles on the roof of a building overlooking the Praca Onze, which would soon be demolished to make way for the more modern Avenida Vargas. With Welles is Dona Maria, a representative of President Vargas' government.
WELLES: Rio is one of the only beautiful old towns where new things are even more beautiful than the old ones.
DONA MARIA: …the hills up there, for instance, where the poor people live, where the school of the samba comes from, you were up there photographing one of them Senor Orson, do you know we’ve got new housing projects for all those places – model homes. They’re going up right now.
No doubt President Vargas liked Dona Maria's report on the progress of the new housing projects that were supposedly replacing the slums in the hills above Rio, but Welles was clearly shooting footage that would have made Rio look more like the trash-filled Mexican border town that displeased another Senor Vargas in TOUCH OF EVIL. Welles recalled shooting in the slums in a later interview:
ORSON WELLES: I remember the night we tried to photograph one of the tenement districts in the favelas, in the hills above Rio when thugs surrounded us and after a siege of beer bottles, empties of course, stones, bricks, and I hate to think what else, we retreated to a more photogenic district clutching our Technicolor cameras as we went...
Welles would have ended the film, just as the original Time magazine story did, by observing a Beechcraft airplane flying the four Jangadeiros over Rio harbor to their home in the north:
TIME – December 8, 1941: …Swept away by the spirit of the occasion the directors of Navegacio Acrea Brasileira offered the fishermen a Beechcraft to fly them home. Air time from Rio to Fortaleza: Nine hours.
ORSON WELLES: The flight back really happened. This picture is all true. Bonito was pardoned; carnival was just as you’ve seen it; the four men from the North really sailed all those long miles to Rio in five logs of wood with only the stars to guide them, so they could talk to the President of their country. Naturally our cameras weren’t always on the spot. Some of the action we had to reconstruct. Here, for instance — before we’d finished with our work, Jacare, the leader of the jangadeiros, had died in the sea. But this is still the end our picture, because this is the best place we know to stop. Also, it’s true. Jacare did go back to Ceara, and, of course, he’s still there — alive in the love of his fellows; still with us, like the Dragon of the Sea who told the slave traders he’d carry no more slaves. For Jacare lives now in American history. This picture is his; a humble, solid declaration. To Jacare, then! To his sixty days on the open sea, and the eight hours it took a plane to fly him back through the air, over fields and mountains and jungles to his family on Ipacema Beach; to the hours less it’s going to take to fly there tomorrow; to all brave flights and voyages; to his dream of the future.
FARWELL, PRACA ONZE
They’re going to raze Praca Onze
They’ll be no more samba schools
The tamborin is weeping
The entire hill is weeping…
Put away your tambourines,
Because the samba schools won’t be parading today
God bye my Praca Onze
Already we know that you will disappear
Yet we have our memories
You will be forever in our hearts
Some new day we’ll have a new square
And sing of your past
Com a Praça Onze
Não vai haver mais
Escola de samba, não vai
Chora o tamborim
Chora o morro inteiro
Mangueira Estação Primeira
Guardai os vossos pandeiros, guardai
Porque a escola de samba não sai!
Adeus, minha Praça Onze, adeus
Já sabemos que vais desaparecer
Leva contigo a nossa recordação
Mas ficarás eternamente em nosso coração
E algum dia nova praça nós teremos
E o teu passado cantaremos
Mangueira Estação Primeira
Guardai os vossos pandeiros, guardai
Porque a escola de samba não sai!
Adeus, minha Praça Onze, adeus
Welles’ new Sept 2 treatment was handed over to RKO, where it most likely wasn’t even read by studio heads Charles Koerner or Peter Rathvon. Instead William Gordon prepared a highly negative summary that he sent on to Koerner.
WILLIAM GORDON TO CHARLES KOERNER (excerpts):
September 10, 1943
This newest version of It's All True makes nice reading, but I don't think it's a practical motion picture. To me, this outline appears to be full of fast, smooth, evasive double talk–another example of Welles's charming, persuasive, impractical self. No matter how you slice it, all in the world you have here is a bullfight in Mexico and a carnival in Rio. There is no sustaining story, no romance, no nothing, except what undoubtedly are well-photographed travelogue scenes.
Audiences (composed of what audiences are composed of) will be indifferent to seeing (Welles) enjoying the beauties of the countries he visits. I doubt whether in a picture advertised as tending to better inter-American relations, it is fair to Mexico to set up the promise to audiences to show them Mexico at its best – including the culture and the fineness of the people – and then restrict this demonstration to a bullfight, no matter how noble the bull or how many little boys are crying over the beast's imminent departure from this life. North American audiences do not like bullfights and will pay you not to show them.
Carnival shows the great pageant that is Rio… but will not mean much to the guys who whistle in the gallery. It still looks like a hodgepodge and I’d be scared to death of it as far as broad audience appreciation is concerned… We will not keep a typical movie audience in its seats if all we've brought them is a nicely photographed scene of dancing in the streets, interspersed with that high and mighty attitude of Welles' …and his constant and continuous showing off.
The use of Portuguese and Spanish reaches ridiculous heights when Welles acts as a Brazilian interpreter for the Chilean girl. Any Spanish-speaking person can follow Portuguese intelligently — certainly better than one who learned the language in six easy lessons.
Possibly this outline can be brought in at a nominal, acceptable cost. However, in light of our previous experiences with the producer, the cost could reach exorbitant, even fantastic proportions, especially since it is so loosely drawn and none too well particularized.
In my humble judgment, I think we have the CIAA even more over a barrel than they have us and I believe the only practical way to get this matter finally disposed of is by getting the CIAA to guarantee all further costs, based on an approved final script, or by at least having the CIAA guarantee all costs over and above the fixed budget that would be agreed to by ourselves and Welles.
Information on CARNAVAL from the UCLA holdings Website
Episode 2, Carnaval—rushes / Mercury Productions for RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., with the collaboration of Cinédia Studios, Inc., Rio de Janeiro; director, producer, screenwriter, Orson Welles; executive assistant and associate producer, Richard Wilson; screenwriter, Robert Meltzer. 1942. approximately 41,011 feet of nitrate film rolls (sd., b&w and col.). Film rolls in 26 cans, of which 3,330 feet have been preserved. Of the Technicolor footage, approximately 5,481 feet remains, which is most likely the nitrate positive film referred in the 1952 RKO inventory. Materials entirely in English.
In December 1941, Orson Welles was asked by John Hay Whitney director of the OCIAA (Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs) to serve as goodwill ambassador to Latin America. Part of Welles’ duties for the government were to include the filming of Rio Carnival at the request of the Brazilian DIP (Department of Press and Propaganda). As a result, My friend Bonito was suspended, director Norman Foster recalled to Hollywood to direct Journey into fear and the finishing touches were put on shooting for The magnificent Ambersons, all in time for Welles and a twenty-seven member RKO/Mercury crew to begin shooting Carnaval in early February 1942. After documenting the festivities in both Technicolor and black and white, laboratory tests were done of the Technicolor footage in Argentina. Given the positive results, the black and white crew was assigned to shooting locations around Rio and the Easter festivities in Ouro Preto, in the nearby state of Minas Gerais. The Technicolor crew was assigned to shooting fictional re-enactments of musical actitivies associated with Carnival preparations and celebrations at the local Cinédia Studios, starring Sebastia Bernardes de Souza Prata ("Grande Othelo") and Pery Ribeiro, son of samba star, Dalva de Olveira and composer Herivelto Martins, who assisted Welles with choreography and set design. In the meantime, preparations were made to begin shooting the arrival of the Jangadeiros in Rio de Janeiro in both Technicolor and black and white. Following the "accidental" death of jangadeiro leader, Jacaré, in mid-May 1942, Welles’ production budget was severly cut and after the shooting of the Orca Cassino scenes the first week of June, most of the RKO/Mercury crew was sent back to Hollywood. Very little of the Technicolor footage was printed and most of both the black and white footage remains in nitrate form. Some shots of the fictional material were used by RKO in films in the mid-late 1940s. While nearly all of the black and white footage has survived, vast amounts of Technicolor footage were disposed of by Paramount/Gulf + Western after its acquisition from Desilu Studios of It’s all true as part of the RKO library in 1967. According to the November 1952 inventory at RKO, 7 reels or 6,500 feet of black and white positive footage exists printed from Technicolor negatives, 1 reel or 5,481 feet of Technicolor positive and 200,000 feet of Technicolor negative, along with 50,000 feet of music sound negative, which possibly contains the Rio Technicolor scenes from Jangadeiros.
Cast: Sebastia ̋Bernardes de Souza Prata (Grande Otelo), Linda Batista, Emilinha Borba, Chucho Martinez Gil, Pery Ribeiro, Abigail Mauricio Horta, Balduína de Souza.
Credits: Musicians and bands: Francisco Alves and Orchestra, Anjos do Inferno, Geraldo Caboré, Dédé and Group, Fon-Fon and Orchestra, Gáo and Orchestra, Benedito Lacerda, Luperce Miranda, Namorados da Lua, Pixinguinha, Russo do Pandeiro, Pãs Douradas, Periera Filho, Luciano Perrone, Trio de Ouro, Ray Ventura Band.
Vocalists: Ataulpho Alves, Odete Admaral, Jaime Brito, Horacina Correa, Carmen Costa, Nelson Gonclaves, Marilu, Cyro Monteiro, Moraes Netto, Dalva de Oliveira, Eladyr Porto, Quarteto de Bronze.
Assistant director, choreographer, and composer, Herivelto Martins; Technicolor cinematographer, W. Howard Greene; cinematographer (b&w), Harry J. Wild; Technicolor camera operator, Henry Imus; camera operators (b&w), Edwin Pyle, Joseph Biroc; assistant cameraman, Willard Barth; Technicolor technicians, John M. Gustafson, Sidney Zisper; sound recordist, John L. Cass; sound assistant and maintenance, William Turner; boom operator, Fred Rogers; still photographers, Ned Scott, Jean Manzon; color technicians, G.S. Hannaford, Robert Brower; electricians, Walter Quast, Jimmie Almand, John W. Neff, Leland Armstrong; grip, James Curley.