Let me leave the finer criticisms of Marguerite Rippy's scholarship to Keats, now teaching culture and latter popular uses of Wellsiana to the Chinese, and for Toddy Baesen, that assiduous student of Darker Academia (to which the Ha-Ra's Master of Revels Carl will attest).
Happily, I only pleaded originally that Ms. Rippy be judged on the content of her scholarship rather than her publisher's PR -- or her possible resemblance to David Thomson. I'll confine myself to the points Dr. Baesen has excerpted from Jake Hinkson's interview:
1) "I think (Welles) didn’t see a clear line between truth and fiction when it came to either narrative or self-creation."
It would seem obvious by now, much though it was protested when I first posted here, that Orson Welles from his earliest years wanted to live as one of his clone radio programs ESCAPE would have described it, "a life of romantic adventure." He recognized long before most of his contemporaries in popular culture that compelling drama or fiction required a strong line of factual truth, and that "truth," history, even factual analysis (if you will) was best served up to a mass public as a story which contained imaginative, yea exotic details, and personal references.
2) "Welles’s concept for Heart of Darkness struggled to differentiate itself from jungle pictures of the day—he specifically refutes any connection to “love in the tropics” films . . . ."
Unless Westerners have had the full education of being a racial or other minority (far less those middle class who came since), few alive now can fully appreciate the depth of racism (unspoken recognition of class and color, simply, which made [makes still?] another inferior). The bigotry which in Welles' time was freely acted upon by custom, by law, to punish others for having been born "different" has now become forbidden, at least (until the New American Century) looked down upon in our country.
It is hard for me to accept that Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," with its scathing artistic condemnation of these attitudes in British Imperialism and Leopold's Belgian Congo, should have been found at a certain point between "modern" and "post modern" literature to be a racist tract in itself. [No doubt Welles' startlingly courageous film adaptation of "Heart of Darkness, had he managed to produce it in 1940, might be regarded in our day as "racist," too, given the definition I've presented above.]
I was struck how the two matters so far discussed were illustrated and linked by "The Heart of Darkness" in connection with the life and career of Orson Welles:
In Conrad's novella, the depraved, fascistic, imperialistic Kurz was described by some who knew him in adulatory terms. He was thought to be a masterful ivory collector [director?] who had at some moment hubristically gotten out control; "a great musician[!]," a writer of considerable ability, a promising painter, and most telling of all, 'a universal genius.' How could "Heart of Darkness" not have appealed to Orson Welles? From his earliest major efforts to his very last, Welles was obsessed by his contradictory drives toward control and democracy. One can almost see the gears grinding nearly to halt as he contemplated the model and threat of Erik Kurz.
It explains, in some small way, why Welles' work and person often struck those who met him during his lifetime in opposite ways.
The dualities of his genius were perpetually in conflict.
3) "Perhaps he was also tired of double-dipping in his radio and cinema projects—he experimented with Ambersons on the radio in 1939, and there’s a great deal of evidence that at the time it was not a favorite project of his."
It should be remembered that until he went to South America in 1942, Welles was often under the influence of his teacher Skipper Hill and his guardian, Dr. Maurice Bernstein, both of whom, from different motives perhaps, saw their prodigy as potentially a great popular teacher and a "bringer of culture to the masses." Once he was beyond their advice in Brazil, other influences began to draw him in different directions, toward pan-Americanism, politics, Brechtian theater, European aristocracy, etc.
It may explain why Welles invented his sardonic changes in the scripts of CITIZEN KANE and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS.
Late in his life, during that delightful home movie Stefan Droessler brought us, Toddy, we can observe Skipper Hill mildly berating Welles for not continuing his educational efforts with sufficient zeal.
4) "In terms of appreciating Welles’s work, it really doesn’t matter how projects got to be in their final states, whether mass marketed, or scripted, or just conceived."
I quite agree. Except to dry academics, purveyors of arcane theories (which occasionally do not fit the realities of the time), and drooling fans like ourselves, it really does not matter how many drafts and false starts Welles' projects went through, the important thing is the final product. If that missing print of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS were ever "found," if THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND" is ever actually released, all our speculations may become understandable, perhaps commendable and justified. If not, those and other possible changes to his earlier works are merely "lore."
They are moot.