Now we're cooking, gang.
I find too many wonderful matches to comment on them all, and so, I'll say a word about those referred to me, and maybe one or two from each of you. Otherwise, I'll slip out the side door and let you and others go to it again. There's such a wealth of possibilities!
Yes, Roger, you win the prize. I was thinking of "Director John Sullivan" in Preston Sturges' SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (1941). You are no doubt correct that Welles would have found difficulty matching Joel McCrae's perfection in the picture. One can't argue against a satirical masterpiece. However, I'm fairly certain Sturges had Welles (and himself) in mind when he created the character, and Welles would repeatedly try over the period to soften his image of "The Great Director" by publicly kidding himself. He did so in his curtain calls, his end notes for Radio programs, his self-deprecation on "The Jack Benny Show," and later, on TV's Lucy Shows. He must have known that a warmer human image (a term not often heard in this context, at the time) would help his career. Welles even went so far, in 1946, as to import Fletcher Markle and an entire Canadian Radio company to present "Life with Adam," Markle's lampoon of him on CBC, for an episode his of his Mercury Theater Summer Series.
And my next candidate, mido505, would have been the Genius Director "Jonathan" that Kirk Douglas played in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), produced by . . . right, John Houseman. You might think, too, about a similar film Houseman made years later, when the movie business had changed greatly.
[Midio505, Welles loved The Man Who Came to Dinner, was a close friend of Critic and Radio Personality Alexander Woolcott, and Welles did play the part of Sheridan Whiteside in a Hallmark 1972 TV production. He remarked at the time that he had been offered the role in both the stage and 1942 film versions but had turned it down.]
And you are certainly right, Roger and Harvey, about the likeness with Cregar, especially in the last two films of that brilliant actor's career, THE LODGER (1944) and HANGOVER SQUARE (1945), which you mention.
And mido505, because you bring up Lars Thorvald in Hitchcock's THE REAR WINDOW (1954), we might want to suggest Raymond Burr as a stand-in for Welles before he settled into the terrible comfort of Perry Mason. I'm thinking of his Dist. Atty. R. Frank Marlowe, with canes again, in A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951). Welles would have worked in tandem with old Mercury Player Ted de Corsia, who played Judge R.S. Oldendorff.
[Ironically, they dubbed de Corsia, a Radio "man of a thousand voices." In a switch, de Corsia took on Welles' role of Harry Lime in the 1951 Lux Radio Theater Production of THE THIRD MAN!]
Tony and mido505, Huston and Welles had both dreamed of making MOBY DICK for years. Welles is quoted as saying that he put his hopes aside when he discovered his old friend and colleague had been given the Green Light. But when one thinks of it, the expenses involved for Welles in mounting his own big screen picture, I wonder if his 1955 London stage and TV productions of Moby Dick Rehearsed might not have been, in part, a campaign to land the role of Captain Ahab for himself, once Huston's first choice, his father Walter, had passed on. Warner Brothers, alas, wanted a matinee idol, and by then, Welles (only forty) was no longer considered that.
BTW, mido505, I've probably written here before that if the original Huston/Oswald Morris color process for MOBY DICK (1956) is compared with the conventional prints which went to most theaters later, and was the standard for years, we have two different Gregory Peck Ahabs. Huston and Cinematographer Morris knew that Ahab was a much older man than their star at the time, and that the part was going to be a stretch for Peck. Therefore, they had him cock his head a lot, put him in shifting shadow, showed him in hazy sealight, lit only one side of his face, key lit his eyes, etc. But Warner Brothers, who had insisted on Peck in the first place, did not like their handsome leading man obscured and looking demented, and so the prints for wide distribution were conventional, wiping out the carefully created appearance of dementia and revealing a lot of bizarre, phony looking makeup. Fortunately, the original color process version is now again available.
Finally, Harvey, thank you for pointing out Harlan Ellison's novella based on the life of Veronica Lake. I'll try to find it.
I did not mean to imply that Welles and Lake would have been happy, simply that his relationship with this other sex goddess of the period would have seen a reversal of roles. Rita Hayworth, despite her show biz family and other troubles, managed to come to maturity a shy but fairly stable individual. Veronica Lake was the daughter of a wandering sailor, grew up in a broken home, and was diagnosed, early on, as suffering from borderline schizophrenia. That was why colleagues and friends could be charmed by her vivacity, intelligence and charm, one day, and be rebuffed the next day by what Eddie Bracken, often a co-star, called "The Bitch."
The missing piece of this blonde puzzle came to me when Andre De Toth was honored at the San Francisco Film Festival, in 1997. A big-looking one-eyed man, he often was sitting in a wheelchair roundabout the refreshment area of the Kabuki Theater, signing autographs on two memoirs he had recently completed. The day of his formal public appearance, he hoistd himself up, and with the help of a cane, lurched down to a seat in the front of the theater.
De Toth spoke generously of all he had seen in his life. Son of a Hungarian Cavalry officer, a documentary photographer for the Wehrmacht during the 1939 Invasion of Poland, a cameraman for Alexander Korda after he fled to England, then Hollywood.
He spoke of marrying Veronica Lake when he was 29, making pictures for her, how bright and beautiful she was, how they worked out their problems, and then his voice turned bitter. He said she took her roles too seriously, and "got in with the wrong crowd." Though I could find no reference to the subject in his written memoirs later, he added one word: "Heroin."
If you examine the "serious" films she played in during her later career, including the final one, FOOTSTEPS IN THE SNOW, you notice how many references there are to narcotics. If you've known heroin addicts, put that together with those bad teeth you mention, and you may have completed the puzzle.
To end on a brighter bit, I came across this factoid:
Jessica Rabbit, the 'toon bombshell in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (perhaps a reference to Agatha Christie's "Who Murdered Roger Ackroyd," a Herman J. Mankiewicz Mercury Theater on the Air Adaptation), is said to be a combination of Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake. The red hair and bodacious figure of Rita, and at least, the peekaboo hair style of the tiny Veronica.
Perhaps they are both with Welles in Toonland.