Wellesnet News Vault
All the news too old to be news...
DECEMBER 1, 2004: I have a re-vamped version of the site coming soon, but I have to figure out some bugs before that happens. It will streamline the site and make navigation much easier. In the meantime, here are a few things of note...first up is a new feature of the site, which I've titled The Orson Welles Almanac. It's intended to be a brief monthly look at some aspect of Welles and/or his career. Up for the first installment is a look at Jack Moss and his impact on Welles' career. Click the link to read the article.
Yet another new book on Welles has been announced, this time on his radio career; titled The Medium and the Magician, it will be the first full length work on Welles and his work in radio, a subject long overdue for some in-depth coverage. It is scheduled for release in January. Click on the link to order from Amazon. Also, Walking Shadows: Orson Welles, William Randolph Hearst and Citizen Kane, by John Evangelist Walsh, was published. It takes a look at Hearst's war against Welles and Kane, for general readers. My initial impression is that it's the first book about the subject that really goes after Hearst with both barrels.
It's All True makes its debut on DVD this week, in a strictly no frills edition from Paramount, and considering the limited appeal of the film, we should probably be glad to have that, though some extras presenting a little more background on the film would have been useful for those not so familiar with the story ot how things went off the tracks for Welles and the film. It is at least cheap.
More to come before long, including a lengthy look at Welles' radio series for Lady Esther.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2004: Well, when I said I had more stuff on the way, I wasn't kidding, although the first one was unexpected. First up are some behind the scenes pictures from Chimes at Midnight, very kindly sent to me by Bruno Yasoni, who appeared in the film along with his brother as extras. If you ever wanted to know what color Falstaff's costume was, now you can. My thanks again to Bruno for allowing me to post them.
New material on The Deep has been added to that page, courtesy of Lawrence French, who sent it to me ages ago, and which I am finally getting around to posting.
More to come, as I slog through a backlog of material I've been sitting on for far too long...
SEPTEMBER 14, 2004: Well, my apologies for the lengthy delay in updating, but a mixture of things have kept me from sitting down and getting some material hammered out. On to the news:
If you keep an eye on Welles items on eBay, you may have noticed that a Brazilian DVD of Chimes at Midnight has surfaced (see left). I have had a couple questions about it, but no one has emailed or posted to the message board to comment about the quality. It is NTSC and region-free for those who can't handle PAL discs (like the current Spanish release), but it's listed at 105 minutes, which unless a typo, means that it's cut. So it may be a loser. But if you have knowledge otherwise, please let me know.
The Italian release of F for Fake debuted, but as with the Chimes Brazilian disc, no one has let me know about the quality. The Munich Film Museum's trailer restoration is a nice extra, but with a probable Criterion release at some point in anamorphic widescreen (one expects), I can't see paying for a PAL edition. But as above, if you can let me know about the disc and/or provide screen caps for the DVD comparisons page, let me know. And as for that expected Criterion release, it has not been announced, but it presumably is in the works. In further Italian Welles DVD affairs, I see that a Macbeth DVD has been released; the run time is listed as 81 minutes and Italian only audio; does anyone know if this disc is the shortened cut with optional English audio, or the restored version masquerading under misleading packaging? Or just what it says it is?
Further DVD mania: a reader in Portugal informed me that One Man Band is commercially available in that country as an extra on the DVD of Citizen Kane; this would be the original version of that documentary, not the recent re-cut version. And one last piece of DVD news is the appearance of a stunningly cheap bootleg of The Magnificent Ambersons that has bubbled up from China or Hong Kong. Copied from the French release of a few years ago (down to even using the French title on the box), this can be had for as little as a buck or two on eBay (before the shipping, which runs more than disc itself). Caveat emptor, of course.
Found the cover to Clinton Heylin's upcoming book (February 2005) on Welles in Publisher's Weekly's recent preview issue, and it is presented here, as you see. Click on the link to order from Amazon.
On the site, you will find the following new items which may or may not be of interest: first, the Shadow radio page is updated with corrected info about programs I had previously assumed were lost, which do indeed exist and are fairly easy to obtain via Internet channels. On the newly added Native Son page, there is a contemporary article with photo of Canada Lee. Program material to come soon. Regarding Lee, a new biography of the actor has been released, titled Becoming Something, which I'll have more on before long.
A recent book on Rita Hayworth, titled Being Rita Hayworth: Labor, Identity, and Hollywood Stardom, has been released (see right). Written by Adrienne L. MacLean and published by Rutgers UP, the book takes on Hayworth from the vantage point of how she helped to construct the star image that developed during her career. Some interesting material on her time with Welles in it.
And finally, Citizen Kane: A Casebook, edited by James Naremore, was released during the summer by Oxford UP. It collects several excellent articles on Kane, its production and reception.
And I think that's it. Have I forgotten anything? Probably. If so, just let me know at the email address right below this line...more to come before long.
JUNE 23, 2004: My contact email has changed; the new address is webmasterNOSPAM@wellesnet.com. Just remove the NOSPAM bit, of course.
MAY 24, 2004: The ongoing Bibliographies section gets a boost with a comprehensive list of articles and interviews in French, with my thanks to François Thomas for providing it.
MAY 10, 2004: Once again, time
flies since the last update. A few things to mention this time. First, I have
updated the Articles page with the last couple
years' worth of materials, something that's been rather long in coming. Also,
two more upcoming Welles titles have surfaced on Amazon: Walking
Shadows: Orson Welles, William Randolph Hearst and Citizen Kane, by
John Evangelist Walsh, will be published by Wisconsin UP in December. No other
info is available. The second is Despite
the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios, by Clinton
Heylin. Heylin has written numerous books on rock and roll; the pub date is
February 2005 from Chicago Review Press. Peter Conrad's Orson
Welles: The Stories of His Life is slated for a US paperback release
in September. And, finally, the original novel that Touch of Evil was
adapted from, Whit Masterson's Badge of Evil, will be re-issued by
a new imprint called Hard Case Crime, according to a Publisher's Weekly
article. The books feature lurid covers in the pulp style. Check out their
web site here.
MARCH 10, 2004: After an extended delay, we're back and running here. Computer problems kept me from updating in February, but they've been sorted and everything should run smoothly from here on. I did lose all my email last month, so if you emailed me and I never got back to you, it's likely because I lost the message. My apologies. The downtime did give me an opportunity to look over the site, and I'm in the process of revamping everything, which will make it much easier to get straight to a given page without jumping through several hoops. Anyway, that's the hope.
In Welles news, the screenings of "The Unknown Orson Welles" in New York and Los Angeles provided some information on where some of the projects are going; in Los Angeles, Oja Kodar and Gary Graver appeared to discuss their experiences with Welles, and according to a post by Lawrence French on the message board, they stated that $3 to $4 million is needed in completion funds for The Other Side of the Wind; further, the fight with Mehdi Bousheri over the rights ended with Bousheri's death, but a proposed deal with Showtime fell through after Beatrice Welles stepped in with the standard legal threats. So that situation remains in limbo.
Regarding other films, I received the following info about Chimes at Midnight: while the film has reportedly exited litigation, it can only be publicly screened in Spain and France until October 2004, due to a different rights situation in those countries. Also, a restoration of Chimes is currently being undertaken by the same people who worked on Othello, as noted on the message board; a work print of this restoration was screening last month in Chicago. Fortunately, if they botch this one up a la Othello, we at least have the Spanish DVD, and numerous prints of the film survive around the world. More as we hear it, of course.
In DVD-release news, Studio Canal's excellent anamorphic transfer of The Trial, available on disc in France, is being released in the UK by Warner on May 3; extras are nil, though. The Stranger has received a release in France and Germany from MGM; this edition has been called by DVD Beaver the best of any release so far. See that site's comparisons section for further info.
The Criterion Collection is releasing F for Fake on DVD, which comes as no real shock; in a Home Theater Forum chat last month with Criterion technical producer Lee Kline, Kline mentioned that work on the film was starting at some point relatively soon. Given their typical work, let's hope this proves to be a packed release.
In a chat on the Home Theater Forum, Warner Bros reps answered a question about any Welles films they might have (ie Ambersons) by stating that Ambersons would be released at some point. Nothing was added beyond that bit of "information," which we all knew anyway.
James Naremore, who wrote one of the best books on Welles in The Magic World of Orson Welles, is editing a volume in Oxford's Casebooks in Criticism series on Citizen Kane, to be published in June 2004; the press copy for Citizen Kane: A Casebook states: "Citizen Kane is arguably the most admired and significant film since the advent of talking pictures. No other film is quite so interesting from both artistic and political points of view. To study it even briefly is to learn a great deal about American history, motion-picture style, and the literary aspects of motion-picture scripts. Rather than a sterile display of critical methodologies, James Naremore has gathered a set of essays that represent the essential writings on the film. It gives the reader a lively set of critical interpretations, together with the necessary production information, historical background, and technical understanding to comprehend the film's larger cultural significance. Selections range from the anecdotal -- Peter Bogdanovich's interview with Orson Welles -- to the critical, with discussions on the scripts and sound track, and a discussion of what accounts for the film's enduring popularity. Contributors include James Naremore, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Robert L. Carringer, Francois Thomas, Michael Denning, Laura Mulvey, Peter Wollen, and Paul Arthur." Order it from Amazon by clicking on the title link.
Joseph McBride's upcoming book on Welles, titled What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Filmmaker is given as December 2004, which may or may not be correct. Click on the title to pre-order at Amazon.com and support this site.
Finally, what would an update be without Beatrice Welles-related lawsuit news? A federal judge in California ruled that Welles could resell the original Oscar she possesses for her father's screenplay work on Kane; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had contested her plant to sell the Oscar, bringing up the thorny issue of her signing an agreement that precluded such sales by giving the Academy first refusal for any sale. The judge ruled that this agreement only applied to the replacement Oscar Welles had received when the original was believed lost. The Academy plans to appeal, of course, so this will go on for a while longer. A quick Google search, or a look at the message board, will reveal the further details of this titanic struggle.
And with that, I think that largely recaps everything Welles-wise that has been going on the last few weeks. As always, please email me with any corrections or further information. Thanks to everyone who did pass along information, I greatly appreciate it.
JANUARY 5, 2004: Happy New Year to you all! A few things have been posted that may be of interest: First, I have a screen capture of the French F for Fake DVD added to the comparisons page, with details about the disc itself here. It looks like we will be waiting for the Criterion Collection (one assumes) to provide the hopefully definitive edition of the film. If you don't read the message board regularly, then you will have missed the following item: an audio version of the play Orson's Shadow is available from LA Theater Works. Also, new books about or including Welles are forthcoming in 2004; the first is by Robert Garis, titled simply The Films of Orson Welles, and described as "a comprehensive overview of Orson Welles' life and career, highlighting the shape of the filmmaker's career, his astonishing precocity and his extraordinary gifts that resulted in both splendid successes and puzzling failures"; the second is Irving Singer's Three Philosophical Filmmakers : Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir, the Welles portion of which is described as "Considering the work of Welles, Singer shows how and why the theme of vanished origins--"the myth of the past"--recurs in many of his films, starting with the Rosebud motif in Citizen Kane and continuing much later in his little-known masterpiece The Immortal Story." Click on the title links for each to order at Amazon and support this site. Publication date for both books is May 2004.
NOVEMBER 24, 2003: Newsday.com has this column about One Man Band, for your reading pleasure. I have updated the Orson Welles Show page with further information supplied by the editor of that show, Stanley Sheff. And finally, with the Thanksgiving holiday nearly upon us here, let me thank all those who contributed material to the site this year; as always, it is much appreciated in making this a better site. Also, thanks to those of you who have used the Amazon links to purchase items through this site, and in doing so help defray my costs in running Wellesnet.
OCTOBER 14, 2003: Tonight is the first screening (Showtime, 10 PM EST) of the North American version of the documentary Orson Welles: The One Man Band, and I wanted to post a few random thoughts about it. To begin with, it's marvelous to finally see the many clips of the various unfinished and otherwise missing in action Welles projects in good quality, rather than the so-so bootlegs that have been going around for the last few years. And frankly, anything that stirs interest in Welles is a good thing, I think. I'm not sure how many people will want to explore his work further based on the fragments presented here, but that's another discussion. The material ranges from the fascinating and tantalizing (the Other Side of the Wind clips, seen elsewhere), to the weak (the Churchill clip). The "Stately Homes" clip might do a bit to convince people Welles could do comedy, as it's a funny little piece. I would have rather not seen the F for Fake trailer yet again, and substituted more of the unfinished material. I'm not sure the idea of using clips of Welles' finished films works too well in the context of what the documentary was trying to accomplish, but it serves to open a somewhat esoteric subject to a more general audience interested in film and Welles. So in the end, it's well worth catching, and like so many of Welles' own projects, it now has multiple permutations of its own. And you don't need to plunk down silly money on eBay to own a copy, which is a nice change. Showtime is to be commended for their championing of this project over the last couple years or so. Here's hoping they get the Other Side of the Wind project rolling as well, which Bogdanovich hints at in OMB.
OCTOBER 11, 2003: I've received a screener copy of the new cut of One Man Band, and it's quite well done, albeit not without minor problems. More detailed thoughts to come in the next day or so. The new Peter Conrad book on Welles, titled Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life, is out and available in both the U.S. and UK. You can order the American edition from Amazon by clicking on the title link, which helps support the site. I just received my copy, and I'll get around to posting some thoughts on that once I've worked my way through it. Finally, some details on the upcoming French DVD of F for Fake (see left) have surfaced, and they are: a 4:3 transfer (which doesn't make clear if the transfer is fullscreen, or letterboxed without anamorphic enhancement), and extras include "exclusive extracts of French doubling"(?), "The deceptions of Orson Welles," filmographies of Welles and Francois Reichenbach, and a (the?) trailer. Release date is October 20.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2003: A couple things; first, as reported on the message board, cable channel Showtime will finally be screening the Peter Bogdanovich edit of the One Man Band documentary. An informant tells me that Showtime state that all legal hassles have been cleared up, so it's apparently a go, unlike the first time. Said informant also tells me the film has been slightly re-edited at the beginning versus the version that was to be shown in 2001. The first showing is scheduled for October 14 at 10PM EST.
In the realm of the ridiculous, there is this column by comic book writer Mark Millar, which "reveals" for the first time that Welles had made in-depth preparations for a film of Batman in 1946, which was dropped over casting issues. Not sure what prompted the gag, but it's amusing.
AUGUST 27, 2003: The main news has all been stated by various folks on the message board, but I'll recap here: the British Film Institute's National Film Theatre is running a Welles retrospective in September and October, which will include virtually everything Welles made. Details can be found here.PBS will be running a special on Project 891, where Welles got his directorial start in theater, with the 90-minute documentary Who Killed the Federal Theater? No specific airdates yet. A companion book will be released as well, titled Voices from the Federal Theater, to be published by Wisconsin UP. If you purchase the hardback, you get a DVD of the documentary. A paperback version will also be available. You can order it from Amazon (and support this site) by clicking on the link to the left.
In further DVD news, the UK sees a re-release of the Macbeth disc from Second Sight, and that company is also bringing out the "restored" Othello, with similar extras to the US disc, with the addition of the "Return to Glennascaul" short, which used to be on the Macbeth disc. Another Confidential Report release is forthcoming in the UK, and Touch of Evil is the recipient of a price drop in the U.S. Finally, Korea sees a deluxe Kane release that includes two bonus coasters, which double as DVDs of The Battle Over Citizen Kane and RKO 281.
JULY 17, 2003: I've added my brief review of The Immortal Story Italian DVD release, with plenty of lovely screen captures. I've also added bits to various pages around the site, and cleaned up a few nagging things.
Some release news: The Lady From Shanghai is being released on DVD in the UK in what appears to be the same edition as was released here a couple years ago. Othello is being similarly released in the UK (see left), in its "restored" edition, with a couple extra supplements not on the US DVD, namely the "Return to Glennascaul" short, production stills, and trailers. Finally, another Welles book is surfacing in the fall, from art publisher Taschen's filmmakers series, which has already published editions on Kubrick, Hitchcock and Billy Wilder. The author is listed as F.X. Feeney, who co-wrote the script for the adaptation of The Big Brass Ring. No US date given yet, but September and December dates are given for France and the UK respectively. Thanks to my web of informants for the info on the DVD releases.
JUNE 5, 2003: Menu shots for the UK Kane DVD are up here. Elsewhere, my review of the French Don Quixote disc is now up, for your viewing. Further, the French two-disc set of The Trial was released, and one of its bonus features is the inclusion of the cut scene between Katina Paxinou as a scientist and Anthony Perkins' K. I have re-constructed the scene with pictures and dialogue from the script book beginning here. Yet further, I have added screen captures of the French edition to the Trial DVD comparison page.
MAY 19, 2003: A few odds and ends; in New York, the Godlight Theater Company is producing a stage adaptation of The Third Man, which runs through the end of the week.
The final specs for the upcoming UK special edition of Citizen Kane have been announced, although some questions remain. It seems that the transfer was taken from "digitally restored from a fine grain 35 mm interpositive supplied by the British Film Institute. This was derived from a duplicate negative and represented the best elements available outside of the USA," according to a post by the producer on the Laureate Films web site. Whether this means they're using the digital restoration that Warner Bros commissioned from the Lowry Digital Images company or a separate version is unclear. The extras include what I listed below, though I've seen mention of not the "War of the Worlds" radio show, but a featurette about the panic it caused. A further extra is listed as the film's budget, which I assume means reproduction of the actual documents on the disc, but this is unclear also.
A new book on Welles surfaces this fall; Peter Conrad, who has written on Hitchcock, is behind this title, Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life. The book is described as "rather than producing another conventional biography of Welles, Peter Conrad has set out to investigate the stories Welles told about his life--the myths and secret histories hidden in films both made and unmade, in the books Welles wrote and those he read. The result takes us deep into Welles' imagination, showing how he created, then ultimately destroyed himself." Take that for what you will. You can pre-order the book at Amazon by clicking on the image to the left. Publication is in October 2003.
APRIL 28, 2003: Some news on the UK special edition of Citizen Kane has surfaced. According to DVD Review.net, the release will be a two disc set, including a new 50-minute documentary, "Anatomy of a Classic," telling the story behind the making of the film, the "War of the Worlds" radio show, "Hearts of Age," a commentary by film historian Ken Barnes, cast and crew bios, and a photo gallery. The Welles/Bing Crosby version of "The Happy Prince" is also a potential inclusion. Release date is given as June 23.
Also, I have updated the Ambersons DVD review page with details of the new Japanese edition of the film. Given the high quality usually put into discs over there, I was expecting better than the mess I got. See for yourself here.
APRIL 2, 2003: Some details on some forthcoming Welles titles on DVD: In Japan, The Magnificent Ambersons and The Stranger both see a late April release, but no extras are planned, aside from cast and crew bios. In France, a four disc set (see right) including The Stranger, Mr. Arkadin (dubbed in French), Around the World With Orson Welles (4 episodes), and the acting-only horror film Malpertuis. This has been available on eBay for those who want to lay out about $65, but it's available in France for around $23, although it's not intended for sale outside that country. Finally, the unfortunate Jess Franco cut of Don Quixote is being released in France as well (see above), with some extras, one a documentary about the film titled "The Complicated History of Don Quixote," an interview with a journalist about the novel, a photo gallery, and a Welles filmography. Release date for this disc (titled Don Quichotte en francais) is May 6.
MARCH 10, 2003: Mentioned on the message board recently was news of another Welles film making its debut on DVD, this time being The Immortal Story. An Italian company is doing the honors, though the listings I've seen give absolutely no specs beyond runtime. Release date is March 20, last I saw. Also, the Citizen Kane UK DVD release mentioned below is reportedly going to have new extras not seen on any other release of the film. We'll keep you posted once we find out what those might be. An early summer release date is currently given for this.
FEBRUARY 25, 2003: New for your reading enjoyment is an interview with Welles scholar/film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, conducted by Lawrence French. Thanks to Larry for sending it along. Enjoy!
FEBRUARY 3, 2003: On Friday, a suit was filed by Orson Welles' daughter Beatrice, contesting ownership of and royalties from Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. This article gives some details, but not many. More as it develops, I'm sure. More to come on the site as well, as I'm getting some long worked on pages done.
JANUARY 28, 2003: From an overseas informant, there is this link to news of a UK special edition DVD of Citizen Kane that is in the works for a summer release. Will they have access to Warner's restored version? It will be interesting to see if they come up with better supplements. Also, I don't know when it was announced, but two Welles related broadcasts have been named to the initial group of the National Recording Registry, a Library of Congress function similar in purpose to the National Film Registry. The two Welles-related shows are "The War of the Worlds" (big surprise) and the original cast recording of The Cradle Will Rock.
JANUARY 25, 2003: Since New year's was nearly a month ago, let me wish you an early Chinese New Year, instead. With some time off at the holidays recently, I've taken the opportunity to take care of a few housecleaning things on the site. As you may have noticed above, I've started an affiliate program with Amazon.com, to help defray costs in running the site. I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I'm finally gotten round to it. So, if you want to purchase a given Welles-related item or any other item and support your humble webmaster's efforts, click on a given link on the particular product or the link above and purchase the item(s) at Amazon on that visit (otherwise it doesn't count). I've tried to keep these ads unobtrusive in nature, as I don't want a site overrun by clutter. I thank you in advance.
In other news, a new Welles book has hit the shelves. The Encyclopedia of Orson Welles, by Chuck Berg and several others, covers much of Welles' career in a alphabetical reference format. See more discussion of the book in this thread on the message board. You can buy it by clicking the cover image to the left.
Also, check out the Senses of Cinema site for this excellent overview of Welles' career by Jaime N. Christley, which kindly mentions this site among the web resources available to the Welles scholar/afficionado.
DECEMBER 21, 2002: Here's wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and a good year ahead. There's been nothing of note to report regarding Welles news for a while, aside from the release of a Kane DVD set that includes the RKO 281 film and a couple knick-knacks. Nothing that requires you to run out and buy it, by any means. The Italian novel Black Magic, which revolves around Welles being involved in a murder during the filming of the 1949 film of the same title, has been released in France. Quite a while back, this novel was reportedly in development as a film with Kenneth Branagh as Welles (!??!). No English version of the novel has yet appeared.
And finally, I renewed my domain ownership for the next three years, so we'll be around for a while here, hopefully bringing many more interesting features to the site as I continue to work on it. As always, let me know any ideas or suggestions you may have, either by email or on the Wellesnet message board. Thanks to all who've emailed with information, pictures, and suggestions this past year.
OCTOBER 16, 2002: I've received a report from an anonymous source that the play Orson's Shadow, a ficitionalized account of the troubled production of Ionesco's Rhinoceros that starred Laurence Olivier and was Welles' final theatrical production, will be transferring to New York.
I have also been doing some odds and ends stuff around the site, cleaning some typos, making corrections, adding new photos, and so on.
Finally, see this post on the message board, which provides some interesting info about the recent Welles symposium in Germany.
AUGUST 21, 2002: If you've been following the message board, you'll have seen the news about a deal between Oja Kodar and Showtime cable network to finish The Other Side of the Wind for theatrical and television screenings. The deal has been put on ice by Beatrice Welles, who claims rights to the film. Should this dispute actually ever make it to court, things will might get settled someday, but as always, don't hold your breath.
In Mannheim, Germany, there will be a four day symposium dedicated to Welles' work, covering a huge amount of his late, unfinished material from October 4-6. Visit the Cinema Quadrat site for more details (in German, obviously). Looks like some fascinating stuff will be going on there.
AUGUST 12, 2002:Many of you will likely have seen the results of the British Film Institute's polling of critics and directors on the ten best films of all time. Regardless of how silly an exercise this is (and any such poll is, really), Citizen Kane came out once again as the top film in the poll, and seven of Welles' films (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Lady From Shanghai, Touch of Evil, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, and F for Fake) were among those nominated, with Welles himself coming out as the top director. I don't put much stock in this, or any other poll of the "best" films or music, or whatever. Everyone has their own opinion and agenda, and it all comes down to subjectivity, so how can you argue about the results? For example, I find 2001 a terminally dull film, but I won't argue with people who think it's the greatest thing ever. (Although the person who voted for Back to the Future needs to be checked for foreign substances, frankly...) I daresay within the next couple or so polls, Kane will fall from the top spot, as younger critics will want to anoint their own sacred cow, be it 2001, or The Godfather, or what have you. And then we'll have people talking about how overrated those films are.
JULY 9, 2002: Well, it's been a while since I last updated, but I finally have some new stuff ready to post. I've added a new review of a Welles-related program. That would be The Magnificent Welles, a filmed presentation of actor Marcus Wolland's one man play about Welles during the filming of It's All True, set in Welles' Rio hotel room. The tape is available from StageDirect, a new company working to bring the best in fringe theater to a wider audience. You can read my review here. Thanks to Gary at StageDirect for sending it along. Also, I've made minor corrections to some of the radio pages. More to come, hopefully in a more timely fashion...
MAY 15, 2002: I've added scans of the Mercury Wonder Show playbill to that page. If you haven't seen the reproduction in This is Orson Welles, check it out. Also, I've added a couple more pictures to the Lady from Shanghai page, and added new films to the Documentaries page.
APRIL 22, 2002: Real world affairs have kept me from doing more on the site lately, but I was sent info about a Brazilian film festival, It´s All True - International Documentary Film Festival. As you might have guessed from the title, part of the focus is on Welles, as 2002 is the 60th anniversary of Welles' trip to Brazil in his ill-fated attempt to make It's All True. You can check out the festival's site at http://www.itsalltrue.com.br. The Welles material can be found under the "International Retrospective" section. Definitely worth a look, and it sounds like a fascinating festival.
MARCH 26, 2002: Well, I've been variously busy and lazy, but finally, at long last, the updated Radio section index is up and functioning, with the updated pages to go with it. Also, the page for The Other Side of the Wind is up as well. Next, I've posted another comparison of the two extant DVD versions of F for Fake with the Criterion LD, originally posted on the message board. Thanks to Jaime N. Christley for allowing me to post it on the site in full, and for the screen captures from the Brazilian disc as well.
MARCH 23, 2002: The book Orson Welles: Interviews (pictured left), edited by Mark W. Estrin and published by Mississippi UP, is out and available. It's filled with excellent articles, with some very rare pieces presented for the first time among them. Well worth picking up wherever you buy your books.
In DVD news, the UK company Eureka Video has released a double feature of Welles' The Stranger, with another Edward G. Robinson film, Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street. The Stranger is listed as having a commentary track, but there's no indication as to who is on it. It will also be released as a single disc, apparently.
I've been busy, so it completely slipped by me, but the first week of March saw the first anniversary of this site. Time flies, huh? Hopefully year two will go as well as the first. Thanks to all who helped out and all who have visited and continue to drop by...
MARCH 10, 2002: I've added a nice photo to the top of the Mercury Wonder Show page, showing some servicemen heading into the show, which has a great looking exterior, if nothing else.
MARCH 8, 2002: Welles rises from the dead! Not really, but the makers of a new television adaptation of The Black Museum radio series are resurrecting Welles' narrative voiceovers from that show to use in the new version. The silliest aspect of this is that an actor resembling Welles in silhouette (presumably the Welles of the 1970s and 80s, and not of 1951, when the recordings were made) will be used to give the impression that it's actually Welles talking to us now, in case viewers don't recall that he died in 1985. One of the men involved is Harry Alan Towers, producer of the Harry Lime and Black Museum radio series, as well as numerous schlock films.
A few things tweaked here and there on the site, but the main addition is the new Radio index page, which consolidates things a bit more in that section. The radio pages are slowly being re-formatted. Broken links to the old radio page may remain on the site; these will just get cleaned up with time, so bear with me. The main links are correct.
FEBRUARY 27, 2002: As you can see, I have changed the font again. The last one annoyed me, so out it goes. I think this is a much nicer, cleaner font. But enough about fonts, let's move on to bigger and better things. I will gradually be adding screen captures from all the extant Welles DVDs that I own, and here are some from the Japanese F for Fake disc. As always, they aren't tiny, so be prepared for some load time if you are on a slow connection. Addition 3/1: Comparison of DVD and LD added.
FEBRUARY 22, 2002: At long, long last, the Sketchbook transcriptions are finished (of the five episodes I possess), with the addition of episode 6. This final episode of the show concentrated on bullfighting, and the It's All True story of Bonito the bull. As noted on the Sketchbook index page, if anyone out there can hook me up with/trade me a copy of the first episode, I'd be eternally grateful, and no doubt so would the millions of devoted readers of the other five transcriptions, since now they would at last have a complete set.
FEBRUARY 10, 2002: A couple brief notes from the message board; first, a remake of Mr. Arkadin is apparently in the works. Will it fare better or worse than the Ambersons mini-series? Also, the British DVD of Confidential Report (picture below) is apparently of decent but not superior quality. In other words, it's watchable until something better comes along. We'll have more details on this disc as we get them. And finally, there is a new Welles site on the web; check out this site, dedicated to The Magnificent Ambersons. It's filled with loads of rare Ambersons-related photos and other goodies.
FEBRUARY 5, 2002: The UK DVD of Confidential Report was released last week, but no reviews have been forthcoming. If anyone has seen the disc and can comment on the quality, please drop me a line.
JANUARY 30, 2002: I have posted for your enjoyment and scrutiny screen captures from the FocusFilm Citizen Welles package and the corresponding releases already available. The Stranger can be found here, and The Trial here. Be warned, though, that the screen capture images are somewhat large, and if you don't have a faster connection they may take a while to load. Also, I have put up a page for The Orson Welles Show, Welles' 1979 TV talk show pilot.
JANUARY 14, 2002: The new miniseries production of The Magnificent Ambersons debuted last night on the A&E network and to my eyes was a colossal waste of time and money. For me, poor performances by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jennifer Tilly and lackluster direction shoot down any hopes this had of being even entertaining, let alone meaningful. The use of Welles' script amounted essentially to a publicity ploy, particularly as the producers added further material and removed Welles' original ending. If you want to view it, A&E is replaying it several more times this month, and a home video release is forthcoming. Also, check out the Wellesnet message board's Film section (link above) for links to various media reviews, as well as the message board participants' views on the show.
JANUARY 9, 2002: If you don't normally come in through the index page, do check it out, as I've completely revamped it. I got rather tired of the old look. In other site matters, I've added an article written by Tim Cumming, published just recently in the UK paper The Guardian, about the story behind The Other Side of the Wind. Check it out, and thanks to Tim for sending it along.
JANUARY 1, 2002: Happy New Year, and with the turning of the calendar, I'd like to thank everyone who has visited, as well as everyone who has contributed to the site over the last nine months. I won't name everyone specifically, since some wish to remain anonymous (and I don't want to forget anyone), but the folks in question know who they are. Thanks again.
DECEMBER 27, 2001: I've added an article about The Trial, taken from a 1962 issue of the magazine Films and Filming. It's a trifle overheated at times, but it's an interesting look at Welles' style on the set. In book news, Amazon lists a new title, The Encyclopedia of Orson Welles, by Chuck Berg, to be published in July 2002.
DECEMBER 24, 2001: Okay, I am back after a much-needed vacation, and I picked up some new stills during said vacation that I have posted. Three are from Ambersons, one from The Stranger, and two from Lady From Shanghai. Also, I've added two Confidential Report images from the British release press book, thanks to Kevin Thomas. Go to each film's index page to either view the pictures or access the links.
In other news, a post on the message board stated that the 1992 Don Quixote cut assembled by Jesus Franco is now out on DVD in Spain, with both English and Spanish language tracks and subtitle tracks. Released by VellaVision, it's relatively cheap, but considering that a US distributor has the rights to the film, a release here is hopefully forthcoming. More on this release as we find out about it.
Finally, have a happy and safe holiday season!
DECEMBER 12, 2001: I have done a few little improvements to various pages, correcting typos and such that slipped by the me the first time through. Also, as a prelude to the forthcoming Other Side of the Wind page, credits and an article by Lawrence French are posted at the given links.
And courtesy of one of my legion of informants, the following brief description of the Magnificent Ambersons mini-series from A&E, debuting next month: "The A&E movie is loosely based on the Welles screenplay. It opens with the ball. There is a brief flashback scene explaining the past relationships of the lead characters. There is no narration and the ending is faithful to the book. It ends with Eugene, Lucy and George at the hospital. There is no boarding house scene with Fanny. " So much for adhering to Welles' screenplay, I guess. Speaking of Ambersons, head to your nearest newstand and pick up the January issue of Vanity Fair, which features a lengthy article about the film and the ongoing hunt for the lost footage. It's well worth checking out. And in yet more Ambersons news, the French special edition DVD of the film has been released, and it's a decent release. While the picture quality doesn't match the recent Kane restoration, it's solid and clear and worth picking up if you have the hardware to play it and can't wait any longer for Warner Bros to get around to releasing it.
Finally, Confidential Report will receive a UK DVD release on January 28, 2002. No word on extras, if any.
MESSAGE BOARD UPDATE: The new board is up and running! Check it out here and change your bookmarks!!
NOVEMBER 28, 2001: The cover of the upcoming release of the "Citizen Welles" DVD set is posted to the left for your viewing pleasure, and a brief article about film critic Jeffrey Lyons (who provides the commentaries on both films) is here on the message board. In other Welles-related DVD news, the new and superb 2 DVD set of Hitchcock's Rebecca includes the Campbell Playhouse version of the story among its extras. And on the bonus disc of Kino's recent Buster Keaton 11 DVD box set, Welles' filmed introduction to The General is included.
NOVEMBER 11, 2001: A couple things; first, a new Welles book is currently slated for April 2002. Part of the University of Mississippi's filmmakers interview series, Orson Welles: Interviews, edited by Mark W. Estrin, will be published in both hardback (for academic libraries, likely) and paperback. I've seen a couple of these books, and they aren't bad. I'm not sure what this one will have that we haven't seen already, but we'll find out next year.
Pictured left is the cover to the new French special edition DVD of The Magnificent Ambersons (or La Splendeur des Amberson). More details about the release can be found on the message board here.
And in site affairs, I have added beaucoup des foreign book titles, with yet more French books, and added Wellesian texts from Spain, Germany, Italy, and many many more. Well okay, maybe only one or two more. But take a look, won't you, and if you know of still more titles, please drop me a line... Also, I have updated several of the radio pages and fixed a couple of broken links there, and same goes for the books pages.
OCTOBER 30, 2001: I happened to look at my counter and saw that the site has gotten more than 5,000 hits. Thanks to all the visitors for stopping by... In some DVD news, the remake of The Magnificent Ambersons from the A&E network is due on January 29. No word on specs or price. The new DVD of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (directed by Robert Wise) includes trailers and TV spots narrated by Welles. Thanks to Ray Kelly Jr. for sending the Trek DVD info.
In site news, I have many more foreign books to add; I've been tipped off to a German title and found a number of Spanish and Italian titles, so those will be added shortly, once I find (or don't find) some cover shots of the books.
OCTOBER 26, 2001: In some site news, I have finally beginning to add navigation bars at the bottom of each page. This will make it much easier to get to each section's main page. They are slowly being added through the site, so don't expect them all at once... Also, Richard France has sent me information about a lecture that he presents titled "Early Orson." If you know of a school/museum/etc that would be interested in sponsoring a presentation of this lecture, information can be found at the link above.
The Foreign Languages Books Page is now up, but it relies exclusively on French titles. If you have knowledge of other titles, please let me know.
OCTOBER 22, 2001: You may have seen a blurb from the Ain't It Cool News site that reported news of an upcoming DVD set release from Anchor Bay Entertainment, which was to include several Welles films, including a restored, more or less finished version of The Deep, among The Stranger, Mr. Arkadin, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, and a new documentary on Welles. This report is FALSE, according to Anchor Bay. They are not releasing any Welles films at this time. So the question is, did the individual reporting this news just get the company wrong or simply make it up? If anyone has more info on this, please send it along...
OCTOBER 13, 2001: Straight from Richard France himself on the Stranger/Trial DVD set (see below for more): "My role on the DVD version of The Trial and The Stranger was that of narrator, NOT scholar. I was recruited by my good friend, Michael Dawson, who had previously done such a splendid job of restoring Othello -- and has spent the past half-dozen years trying to acquire the rights to Chimes so he can restore that one, as well. It's true that Michael and I sat through screenings of Trial and Stranger and recorded random comments throughout them. However...they are NOT being used (which is fine with me, as I couldn't find anything positive to say about The Stranger -- The Trial, yes, emphatically yes...). The name Focus Films didn't enter the picture until a week or two after I returned home from Chicago, when one of their people called to request a quote for their liner notes. I wrote something that they didn't like, whereupon this fellow came back with some glowing remark of his own -- which I rejected. Finally, we settled on some innocuous statement...That was in July. Since then, I've learned that Jeffrey Lyons has been hired to record the random comments." Thanks to Richard France for sending the information.
In other news, the new paperback edition of Orson Welles on Shakespeare: The WPA and Mercury Theater Playscripts has indeed been released by Routledge, and should be available at good bookstores new you or online for $24.95. This edition includes a new introduction by Simon Callow.
In other DVD news, Warner Bros recently stated that aside from a restored, special edition release of King Kong, they have no plans to release any RKO films in their library, which obviously includes The Magnificent Ambersons. Warner's shortsightedness on this front is ridiculous, and clearly displays their interest in pandering to the lowest common denominator in producing their DVDs. Essentially, what they're saying is that no one will buy these films, which include Ambersons, the Astaire-Rogers films, some classic noir, and more. Obviously these films won't sell in quantities comparable to stuff like Star Wars: The Phantom Script or The Mummy Regurgitates, but to assume there is no market for the classics is just bad marketing. Rant over.
OCTOBER 8, 2001: Well, my review of the Citizen Kane DVD is coming sooner or later, as real world issues have kept me from sitting down and going through all of it in as much detail as I would like. The page for the 1951 stage production of Othello is up, with accompanying program to follow shortly.
In more DVD news, November will see the release of a special edition of The Magnificent Ambersons, albeit in France. The disc will include a commentary (in French, one assumes), and further extras such as interviews and the trailer. Oddly, the soundtrack is listed as being Dolby Digital 5.1, which I highly doubt.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2001: The Citizen Kane DVD was released by Warner Bros. Home Video a couple days ago, and I'll have a long review of it up on the site within the next couple or so days, once I've had enough time to work my way through the commentaries and extras. My initial impression is that the film looks absolutely fantastic, aside from one digital clean-up mistake, which you can read about on the message board, in the film forum. The extras are only so-so, with the inclusion of The Battle Over Citizen Kane being a lousy choice, but since it was already made and had an Academy Award nomination, it had built in "prestige," I guess. It's still junk, though, in my opinion.
Overshadowed by the release of the Kane DVD is news that the release of The Stranger and The Trial mentioned below will apparently be some kind of special edition release. The company releasing the set, Filmforum, have done work that ranges from appallingly bad to decent, with some good extras on certain releases. For their Welles release, the set is listed as including: commentary tracks (no mention of who will be doing these, though), remixed Dolby 5.1 sound (call me a purist, but it's a dumb idea), a 30 minute documentary with Welles theater historian Richard France featuring info on the "restoration" of the two films, a stills gallery, and trailers.
In other, somewhat related product news, Richard France's book Orson Welles and Shakespeare: The WPA and Mercury Theater Playscripts will be re-published by Routledge in paperback. Its original pub date of August has come and gone, though, so no telling when it will actually surface, although Amazon.com lists October as the new date.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2001: It was brought to my attention that I hadn't finished the page for The Trial, so that is now up,with video info. Also, as posted on the message board, the "Citizen Welles" DVD set supposedly will have commentary tracks (no names given), Dolby 5.1 sound re-mixes (bad idea) and a 30-minute documentary with Richard France (author of two books on Welles' theater work) about the restoration of these two films. The company in question, Focusfilm, has made some abominable DVDs in the past, so I'm not holding my breath for anything great here, but we'll see.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2001: From the Hollywood Reporter: "Focusfilm Entertainment and Intermission Prods. will release a two-disc "Citizen Welles" DVD box set, which features two other notable Welles films -- "The Stranger" and "The Trial" -- along with his first film, 1934's "Hearts of Age," which he wrote, co-directed and starred in. The "Citizen Welles" DVD carries a suggested retail price of $29.95 and is expected to arrive in stores Nov. 20." What does this mean? Yet more crappy public domain releases of Welles films, most likely, though we'll see when the set actually comes out.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2001: The first review of the Citizen Kane DVD is available at DVD File. It has pictures of the menus and such. The disc sounds good overall.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2001: A couple tidbits reported on the message board: first, the Touch of Evil DVD won the Video Store magazine award for Best Restoration. Congratulations to all involved with that. Also, here is a link to a lengthy article by Time's film critic Richard Corliss on Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air.
In site news, I've been rather remiss lately in getting regular work done on the site due to real world obligations. I hope to get things moving again shortly. I have updated the radio pages in a couple spots; detailed pages on Hello Americans and a couple other shows are forthcoming. Also, the long promised theater pages will be coming soon as well. I just acquired some more programs, so those will be hitting the site soon as well. The "Voodoo" Macbeth page is up now in that section.
AUGUST 17, 2001: Here is an article from Video Store magazine about the restoration of Citizen Kane for its release on DVD. It sounds like they went to quite a bit of work, but some of the comments made about restoring the film to what they "thought" Welles would have wanted are curious. We'll see how they did once it comes out next month.
JULY 29, 2001: Completely forgot I hadn't ever added the Citizen Kane video page, so that is up, with more information to be added as I locate it. Also, the Around the World in 80 Days page is up, with program images as well. Program images are up for King Lear as well.
JULY 26, 2001: The soundtracks page is up with basic info on the various soundtracks to Welles films.
JULY 24, 2001: The transcription of the fifth episode of the Orson Welles Sketchbook is up, minus one missing sketch that I cannot find the file for. It'll go up soon as I find it or recapture it.
In real world news, the remake of The Magnificent Ambersons that made use of Welles' script premiered in Germany at the Munich Film Festival and here is a review of the film, from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, courtesy of one of our overseas correspondents:
Festive Mood: The Magnificent Ambersons
"She dances as if she was sixteen", says Lucy. She's right, we saw it with our own eyes, the loving couple, at night, in the park, snow was falling, and servants came running with some umbrellas.
Lucy is talking to George, the young Amberson, at the magnificent ball at the Amberson mansion in Boston [sic], and the subject of her remark is Isabel, George's mother. Isabel is dancing with Eugene Morgan, Lucy's father, and it's love at first sight between them.
"The Magnificent Ambersons" was a marvelous novel by Booth Tarkington, it was a great film by Orson Welles, and is now a wonderful film by Alfonso Arau. An incredible story begins that night, a story of love, of a never tiring attempt to remain true - "true to one's true love" -, of the entanglement of love and jealousy: between children and their parents, among the children themselves, among the parents. It's also a story of becoming an adult, of George's growing up and that of America - the painful story of its early industrialization at the beginning of the 20th century, under the sign of the invention of the horseless carriage.
Alfonso Arau does not fear comparison with Orson Welles, nor with Visconti - the ealy Amberson ball sequence is perhaps only half as long, but certainly as splendid as the great party at the end of "Il Gattopardo". Back in 1942, Welles' version of "Ambersons" was a tragedy - Welles was not allowed or not able to supervise the final cut of the film, and it was shortened from 131 to 88 minutes. Arau has used Welles' original screenplay, and its spirit is indeed palpable in his film - all the more so as he succeeds in NOT doing a copy. The unconventional director of "Picking Up the Pieces", which just had its run in our theatres, has developed a remarkable sense for this American deliverance story, for the almost psychotic, almost shakespearian East Coast [sic] hubris. Yes, arrogance is Youth's privilege, and the punishment that it risks is also a pleasure - who would know better than the man who astonished, duped and traumatized the world with "Citizen Kane".
Madeleine Stowe is excellent as Isabel, and Bruce Greenwood, who was JFK in "Thirteen days", is every bit as good as Welles' Eugene, Joseph Cotten. And Jennifer Tilly, knowing that it's pointless trying to compete with the one and only Agnes Moorehead, found a whole new way of tackling her spinster role.
It started with a glance, a prospect of a truly great love, and with an exchange of glances, decades later, this love is sealed. An exchange of glances that goes directly through the camera.
by goet [i.e. Fritz Goettler, one of Germany's leading film critics]
JULY 18, 2001: The section for Horse Eats Hat is up. Also, a page of screen captures from Mr. Arkadin has been added, courtesy of Jaime Marzol. Please be advised that these pages have many photos and can take a while to load, depending on your connection speed.
JULY 9, 2001: A whole mess of theater-related material will be up any day, but for now, I have put up a review of the Japanese F for Fake DVD here.
JUNE 28, 2001: And now we have the specs for the Kane DVD: "Disc One features Citizen Kane in its original full frame aspect ratio, with breathtakingly restored picture and audio (digitally remastered video from the highest quality surviving elements), two full-length audio commentaries (one by noted film critic Roger Ebert, and the other by writer/director and Welles biographer Peter Bogdanovich), the 1941 New York movie premiere newsreel, a photo and art gallery (of storyboards, rare production photos, call sheets and other memorabilia), the original theatrical trailer, subtitles in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Disc Two features the two-hour documentary, The Battle Over Citizen Kane, featuring interviews with Welles, the stars of Citizen Kane and associates of both Welles and Hearst, rare footage from Hearst's San Simeon estate and Welles' historic The War of the Worlds broadcast and biographical profiles of Welles and Hearst." Sounds good, aside from the Battle Over Citizen Kane disc, which is a pretty lame piece of work, although it has some decent footage in it here and there. The above info came from the Digital Bits DVD site.
JUNE 27, 2001: Warner Brothers has officially announced that they are working on a Citizen Kane DVD, something we've all known about for months, and they confirmed that it will be a special edition, but gave no indication as to extras. Price will be $29.95 before discounts available. Interestingly, the soundtrack is being listed as Dolby 2.0, as opposed to mono. Warner, despite their appalling lack of action on the massive catalog of classic films they own, usually does very good special editions, so we hopefully have something to look forward to here.
In site news, I have added a few photos to the Don Quixote page, and a couple to the 50s Acting page as well. The index page on The Deep is up as well. More to come in the days ahead, including the debut of the radio section in its infant form...
JUNE 19, 2001: At long last, I have finished initial pages for all of the films, as today I put up the index pages for Citizen Kane, Chimes at Midnight, and The Immortal Story. You can get to them all from the Films page, obviously. Now we move on to radio and theater. Also, the Welles as Actor section now has a rundown of Welles' projects for the years covering 1951-60.
JUNE 18, 2001: I have added two slots to the Films page: Documentaries and etc (covering all the films made about Welles, and so on - still in the building stage) and Welles as Actor, which seems pretty self-explanatory.
JUNE 13, 2001: A few pieces of news: first, the dates for the premiere of the Ambersons miniseries at the Munich Film Festival: July 5 and 6. On July 7, the original Ambersons will have a screening. In further Munich news, the Festival will be screening several rare Welles items, including Portrait of Gina, scenes from The Deep and Other Side of the Wind (approximately 30 minutes each), Filming the Trial (83 minutes worth of this unfinished film), and the premiere of the documentary Orson Welles in the Land of Don Quixote.
Also, I have added a photo of the house that Tarkington based the Ambersons' house on in the original novel. It's on the Ambersons' film index page. Thanks to Lee Gordon for forwarding the above info and photo to me.
Updates have been slim recently, because I have been working on building the radio section of the site, and trying to finish the remaining initial pages for Kane, Chimes and Immortal Story. Hopefully they'll be done soon.
The remake of The Magnificent Ambersons, directed by Alfonso Arau from Welles' original screenplay and additional material, will make its world premiere at the 19th Munich Film Festival, which runs from June 30th to July 7th. Thanks to Robert Fischer for sending the information.
MAY 31, 2001: Well, if you were paying attention to the index page or this page, you'll see the Message Board button. Wellesnet now has its own message board, for discussion of all things Welles. Register your presence and join in, won't you?
MAY 28, 2001: Here in the US, it is Memorial Day, the national holiday dedicated to the veterans of the armed forces. In that vein, I've put together a page on the Mercury Wonder Show.
MAY 24, 2001: A couple of things; first, a link to an article by David Thomson about the legacy of Citizen Kane, published in the UK newspaper The Independent on April 28. The end thesis is that if people would forget Kane and move on, maybe we could have some better movies these days. Yes, he apparently gets paid to write this stuff, and no, I can't explain it either. Also, I have corrected a couple mistakes on the audio page.
MAY 23, 2001: Long time no update. I have added a page on Welles audio items here. It's not entirely finished, but the main part of it is there. It's occasionally a bit tongue in cheek, as a couple of the items covered are pretty awful. My apologies if you're a Manowar fan. Also, small updates to a couple of the books pages.
MAY 13, 2001, part 2: In the January 21, 2001 Sunday Times, Simon Callow reported on what carnival in Rio was like, as he visited that city in order to help better understand Welles' time in Brazil during the It's All True fiasco. Welles is mentioned infrequently, but the upshot is that the hedonistic qualities of carnival would have appealed to Welles' boozing, drug-using, and general hell-raising interests. For those interested in when Callow's next volume is coming, it would not appear anytime soon, if he's still working on that period. To find the story, just run a search when you reach the site. The title is "Rio Carnal."
MAY 13, 2001: Just returned from a trip to Indiana University to visit the Welles collections there; I hope to have some interesting things from that visit up in the coming weeks. Thanks to the staff at the Lilly Library for all their assistance. Thanks to Kevin Thomas, I have posted two more F for Fake lobby cards from France. Check them out. Finally, a call for assistance. If anyone has or knows where I can get copies of the Orson Welles Commentaries radio series from 1945-46, please let me know. I am specifically looking for July and August of 1946. Thanks.
MAY 7, 2001: Word has come from Showtime that One Man Band has been delayed while a last minute legal rights glitch concerning one of the clips is worked out. Unfortunately, this now means the film won't be seen until late in the year in all likelihood. Thanks to Ray Kelly for sending this info along. Now those of you who signed up for Showtime can cancel it again and save your money... Nevertheless, here is a link to an article about the film that includes an interview with Peter Bogdanovich, who supervised the new cut of the film. Thanks to Ray Kelly for sending this. The film is scheduled to be shown on Showtime 2 through the rest of the month, with the next screening tomorrow (5/7) evening at 10 PM EST.
Also, in lieu of the Chimes at Midnight page being up, I have put up my review of the Spanish Chimes DVD here.
MAY 5, 2001, Part 2: I have finally transcribed the third episode of the Sketchbook. Enjoy.
MAY 5, 2001: This comes from the LA Times, dated 5/3/01 in an article about the El Capitan Theatre:
"While the new print of "Kane" being screened at the El Capitan is perfectly fine (struck from the same dupe negative used for the 50th reissue in 1991), it is not exactly the latest and greatest. For that we'll have to wait until the fall, when Warner Bros., which acquired the RKO film as a result of the merger with Turner Entertainment, unveils an even better print and special edition DVD of "Kane," mastered from a recently discovered original fine-grain master positive stored at the Cinematheque Royale in Brussels. It turns out that this 1941 nitrate fine grain (most likely sold overseas by RKO in the 1950s with the film's international television rights) is the oldest and best pre-printing source available, yielding greater sharpness than believed possible. The original negative was destroyed in a fire in 1970."
You can read all of it here: http://www.latimes.com/print/calendar/20010503/t000037136.html
MAY 4, 2001: I have added a review of the new Dominici Affair DVD, which you can find here. In the unsubstantiated rumor department, the Digital Bits DVD site stated again recently that Citizen Kane is slated to come out in fall as a major release from Warner Brothers, as had been planned but never confirmed. If this is indeed the case, we'll probably get an official announcement by mid-summer, I would think.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, this may interest you:
"A special screening of the Orson Welles-directed film, "Touch of Evil," will be shown at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, May 19th. Admission is free of charge and plenty of free parking is available. Rick Schmidlin, producer of the recent re-issue of the film by Universal Studios, will speak on the reconstruction of the film based on a 58-page memo by director Orson Welles to Universal Pictures. Rick Schmidlin will also participate in a panel discussion with OCC faculty Members Arthur Taussig and Lee Gordon on the film. Orange Coast College is located at 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. The film will be screened in The Forum building. for directions to Orange Coast visit, http://www.occ.cccd.edu/comed/pages/occmap.html
The International Film Series at Coastline College will wrap up its 2001 season with a special screening of "Une Histoire Immortelle" (The Imortal Story) an Isak Dinesen story directed by Orson Welles on Friday evening, May 11th, at Coastline College's campus in Garden Grove, California. The program will begin with a discussion of the film by CCCD faulty member Lee Gordon at 6:30 p.m. and the film will begin at 7:30. Admission is free of charge. Coastline College's campus is located at 12901 Euclid St., Garden Grove, CA 92840 For directions, phone (714) 241-6209."
APRIL 29, 2001: A Rita Hayworth publicity photo has been added to the Lady From Shanghai page. Still working on the theater pages, which I hope to get up soon.
APRIL 25, 2001: Could we finally get to see decent copies of the Jess Franco cut of Welles' Don Quixote? According to the following press release, we might. The people at Sub Rosa Studios, a distributor of B-movies and other esoterica has picked up the rights, and the legal issues that prevented an earlier DVD release by All Day Entertainment are apparently settled. Here's the release, from February 2001:
SYRACUSE, NY, February 06, 2001 -- Sub Rosa Studios, a leading home video distributor of contemporary independent and international features, has been named the sales representative for the U.S. theatrical and home entertainment release "Don Quixote de Orson Welles," Orson Welles' unfinished film version of Cervantes' classic.
Orson Welles filmed his "Don Quixote" in a stop-and-start manner in Mexico and Spain from 1957 to 1971. While principal photography was completed, the soundtrack (which Welles planned to dub all of the voices himself) was never finished and much of the footage was presumed to be lost. Filmmaker Jess Franco, who served as second unit director of Welles' "Chimes at Midnight," tracked down nearly all of the missing footage and completed the soundtrack. The resulting "Don Quixote de Orson Welles" was briefly shown at several non-theatrical venues in 1992 before being withdrawn due to various legal and financial issues which have only recently been settled.
Sub Rosa Studios is best known as the producer of the annual B-Movie Film Festival and as the curator for the online pantheon the B-Movie Hall of Fame, as well as for the popular e-commerce video site B-Movie Theater (www.b-movie.com) and for its own line of titles ranging from cheerful exploitation flicks as "Flesh Freaks" and "The Mutiliation Man" to critically-acclaimed, award-winning features including the 1998 Macedonian Oscar contender "Goodbye 20th Century!" to popular cult films such as the infamous "Zombie! Vs. Mardi Gras."
"We are truly honored that Kevin Collins of One Shot Productions (via his partners in Spain) has chosen us to bring this important and long-missing piece of Welles' cinema," says Ron Bonk, founder and president of Sub Rosa Studios. "We are currently in negotiations with several major distributors regarding this project and we are determined to see this production receives the widest possible US release."
APRIL 23, 2001: I have started adding pieces of the pressbook from the United Artists' release of Othello in 1955. I have also started work at long last on a links page, that will hopefully be up someday soon. If you have any suggestions for it, let me know. More theater stuff coming soon as well.
APRIL 16, 2001: Some new material, including poster art and a transcription of some important comments Welles makes during the film, on the F for Fake page, courtesy of Lawrence French. Also, the Touch of Evil pages are back up and running. Even further, I have added the first material to the Theater section: program materials for Rhinoceros.
APRIL 12, 2001: The pages on Othello are back up and ready for perusal.
APRIL 10, 2001: In site news, I have put the pages on The Trial back up and added the Japanese DVD releases of Ambersons and F for Fake to their respective video pages. A post on the old Welles board notes that the screenings of One Man Band on Showtime next month will be a new version of the film that was developed and narrated by Peter Bogdanovich, and this version includes more footage that the original version, including more from The Dreamers and clean footage from Quixote. Should be interesting.
APRIL 9, 2001: April means rebirth and all that springy stuff, and so it goes for Wellesnet also. I have re-formatted the site, and this hopefully means smooth sailing from here on out, at least in a technical sense. Let me know what you think of the somewhat new look. The film pages remain bare in some cases, but more materials will be coming as I get to them. I have added the first in what I hope to be a complete series of transcriptions of Orson Welles' Sketchbook, with accompanying sketches as done by Welles for the show. Check it out on the films pages under television.
APRIL 2, 2001: A couple of brief notes; for those in or near Spain this month, the Filmoteca Espanola is showing a number of Welles films and related projects, including One Man Band, The Dominici Affair, the documentary Orson Welles in the Land of Don Quixote, the Franco cut of Don Quixote, and more. You can look at the schedule here. Thanks to “Mr. Kurtz” for letting me know about this. Also, Showtime will be broadcasting One Man Band in May, on the 6th (on Showtime), and the 7th and 12th on Showtime 2.
MARCH 21, 2001: Thanks to the tireless Lawrence French, you can now check out some materials on Don Quixote.
MARCH 2001: Welcome to WellesNet, a site dedicated to the works of one of the 20th century’s great talents, Orson Welles. We’re still under construction (and will be for a while), but do check out what’s here and what’s going to come. Here you’ll be able to find information on Welles’ works in film, theater, radio, and television, as well as works about Welles, reviews, and hopefully a lot more.
There hasn’t been much hard Welles news of late. The RKO re-make of The Magnificent Ambersons that uses Welles’ original script is still in production, and you can check out the official web site here. 2001 is the 60th anniversary of Citizen Kane, and Warner Brothers, who own the video rights to Kane, are planning a special edition DVD for the film that will hopefully include more than the boring “how Kane influenced me” interviews and such. Time will tell.
No word on Ambersons or The Stranger, the other RKO items that Warner should also have rights to. This past fall we saw the DVD releases of Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil, but the latter disc appeared as far less than the special edition that had been planned, due to “legal issues.” The disc does have the Welles memo that inspired the re-cut though, and is valuable in that regard. The Lady from Shanghai disc could more properly be called a special edition, as it has a commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, a featurette with Bogdanovich, and some advertising material. This too, perhaps could have been a better disc. See the video section for my own take on the disc.
Finally, in regards to the site, I’d like to get the help of anyone out there who is interested in Welles and interested in writing about him and his works, sharing memorabilia, and so on. I’m open to just about anything, but check out the brief guidelines I’ve specified here. And of course, please let me know what you think about the site. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .