Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios

Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios

Clinton Heylin

Language: English

Pages: 418

ISBN: B01K2WJ7L8

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios

Clinton Heylin

Language: English

Pages: 418

ISBN: B01K2WJ7L8

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Revealing the facts rather than the myths behind Orson Welles' Hollywood career, this groundbreaking history analyzes the career of one of the most well-known American filmmakers. Exploring why Welles' films never matched his youthful masterpiece Citizen Kane, this investigation delves into the enemies that hounded him, his unwaning faith in his audience, and the brilliance of his films—before they were butchered by the studios.

Based on shooting scripts, schedules, internal memos, interviews, articles, lectures, and personal correspondence, this work creates a concrete picture of his professional and artistic struggles and successes.

This heartbreaking tale brings to life the intelligent, perceptive, and passionate man who, for all his failings as a person, was utterly uncompromising in his art.

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with nothing but darkness around her.” At this point we return to New York harbor. Marlow is musing about whether he should have told her the truth. The night closes in and the credits roll. Even Conrad might have been impressed. 01 (001-038) chapter 01 28 11/2/04 5:39 PM Page 28 ACT ONE: FAITH Where Welles was fully released from any textual reverence, selfimposed or otherwise, was in the prologue, through which he aimed to both introduce himself and lead the audience by its metaphorical

with Mayer regarding the possibility of reentering the film industry via a production deal with his old ally. Whether at Hearst’s instigation or not, Mayer was soon making a binding offer to buy the film from RKO with a view to suppressing it. This prompted an aside in Variety on March 6 “that an $800,000 bonfire of prints and negatives [for Citizen Kane] is not impossible.” Around this time Schaefer found himself summoned to New York for a meeting with Nicholas Schenck, chairman of the board for

promptly announced that the RKO lot would soon move to an independent unit basis, with each production unit financed by one of the banking groups connected to majority shareholders Atlas-Lehman. Berman despaired of the innovation and as early as February 1939 was asking to be released from his contract. He vehemently disagreed with Schaefer’s approach, which he felt was creating an organization divided against itself. However, feeling that he needed time to bring his schemes to fruition, Schaefer

Bogdanovich, in private conversation, that Houseman was “a closet homosexual.” His indulgences of his protégé certainly bear out such an interpretation, even though Houseman repeatedly applied more benign motives in his own account of these days, Runthrough). Houseman gave Welles an early insight into the ways in which a producer could be a valuable organizer and financier, as well as the price to be paid: a share in creative input wholly at odds with any likely aptitudes or insights. These

mastermind behind the attempted extermination of an entire race, against which calumny Hitchcock’s serial killer in Shadow of a Doubt seems almost benevolent. Welles thought that The Stranger would provide him with an opportunity to reestablish his credentials as a director. He certainly had a story that gave him scope to address all the issues he had raised and raged about in previous lectures, radio broadcasts, and newspaper columns, throughout a war he had seen all too clearly coming. After

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