Jonathan Rosenbaum interviewed on Orson Welles
Producer Greg Boozell has sent along this link for Wellesnet viewers to preview a very informative interview with Jonathan Rosenbaum condcted by Mara Tapp, which concentrates on four of Orson Welles lesser viewed films: MR. ARKADIN, DON QUIXOTE, FALSTAFF and F FOR FAKE.
It also goes into some detail about Welles pioneering work with Afro-Americans and Afro-Brazilians, which really seems to be the smoking gun that nobody talks about in terms of Welles career problems.
However, it now seems clear it was one of the major reasons Welles RKO contract was terminated, and was also the reason Welles career on the airwaves ended, since it was after Welles demanded that the white policeman who blinded the black WWII veteran, Issac Woodard be brought to justice, that Welles radio days came to an abrupt end.
Rosebaum also points out that Welles use of mostly black entertainers, like Grande Otelo in IT'S ALL TRUE, had to have been considered incredibly radical back in 1942, epecially to the incoming regime at RKO, so that certainly has to be taken into consideration on why that film was never completed by the studio -- even after they invested over $500,000. in making the picture!
But as Welles noted, "they thought I was just shooting a bunch of Jigaboo's in the streets of Rio."
In fact, of all the numerous books on Welles, it seems most of them barely touch on how radical Welles was on the race issue back in the days when that could easily end the career of politicians and entertainers. Welles was challenging the status quo of the time, by featuring black entertainers in what was supposed to be a mainstream movie documentary on "goodwill" between the Americas. Unfortunately, that goodwill didn't extend to the many racist politicians and studio exectutives who obviously didn't share Welles enlightened views in the dark days of WWII.
To imagine what kind of opposition Welles faced back then, one only has to look at what is happening in America today, and magnify it many times.
Needless to say, the Rosenbaum interview is fascinating viewing for all Welles aficionados and will be airing locally in Chicago this Friday, October 26. However, it can be previewed right now, at the links below. Thanks to Greg and host Mara Tapp for putting together this wonderful piece, which includes many long clips, including the sequence from DON QUIXOTE, with Patty McCormack sitting with Don Quixote in a cinema, when the dumbfounded Don attacks the movie screen.
Unseen Orson Welles
Friday, October 26
at 10:00 a.m. on CAN TV19
Film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum discusses the important, lesser-known works of filmmaker, Orson Welles with host, Mara Tapp.