I've finally gotten a chance to read the complete script for OSOTW and after a first quick glance through it, I found it to be absolutely facsinating. Now, after having spent all evening giving it a closer examination, I must say I think it's quite possibly the best Welles film that may have never seen the light of day...or a movie screen... and by the way the movie screen inself plays an incredibly important part in the film...
In reality, I may be a bit biased, being such a complete disciple of Welles work, but what should I say? That people unfamilar with Welles working methods won't get the meaning and impact of this magnificent script? Of course they won't, and they never will, because this is a piece of writing that requires thought, imagination and frankly some effort from the reader and or viewer. But to Welles fans worldwide, the publication of this script is a reason for true rejoicing, since in my opinion, it's absolutely one of the most brilliant pieces of screenwriting I've ever read... probably the equal of anything Welles ever did, or could ever have done in the cinema, had he only been given the resources to complete it as envisioned in this astounding screenplay.
Now of course, reading a script, is problematic at best, since it's certainly not a finished film. But after carefully reading the script, I found myself absolutely fascinated with Welles take on Hollywoood; his obvious refences to his own past, his reel life and his real life, and his own personal relationship to Hollywood and most especially, his references to every single one of his previous films, whether made in Hollywood or in Europe. They are all in the script somehow. Either referred to or referenced, whether covertly, or overtly... and perhaps most importantly, the script incorporates several choice quotes from THE TEMPEST (spoken by Bogdanovich's character, Brooks Otterlake, and echoed by Huston's character, Jake Hannaford). Welles at that point in his life, probably felt, like Shakespeare, that OSOTW might end up becoming his final testament, which it of course, it did... although sadly nobody would ever see it as he intended, since it was never completed. And astonishingly enough it seems incredibly contempory... I mean Oja Kodar as a possible radical placing a bomb in a Century City high-rise office building in 1970!! Was this man ahead of his time or what? And there is so much more... the gay theme, the suicide theme (both Hannaford's father and grandfather commited suicide), today's media overkill, the swallowing up of small family owned or independent businesses by big corporations, etc.
But that such a major Orson Welles work could go this long without being finished in some state, simply boggles the mind... Imagine if a unknown Shakespeare play were discovered in England tommorow... I wonder would it take 30 years to be published? Yet here we have a cinematic masterpiece that has been languishing for 30 years, a film by the world's greatest director, that needs only a few million dollars before it could be finished, but Hollywood turns it's head away from such lofty artistic ventures...
But at least we now have this masterful piece of Welles' writing availale... even if it took over 30 years, and a publication limited only to France! And by the way, while the book is beautifully designed and has many rare stills from both OSOTW and all of Welles films, it's sad to report that the English version of the script is full of all sorts of typographic errors... inparticular, there seems to have been a typist who kept writing "vas" instead of "was." But that's a very minor complaint to the thrill of finally having Welles complete script, which is nothing less than his final and complete word on working and living in Hollywood, off and on from his arrival there in 1940 to make CITIZEN KANE, until his untimely death in the Hollywood hills (at his house on 1717 North Stanley Avenue), some some 45 years later.