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January 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 23 Jan 1994 18:33:11 -0500
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I'm posting this on both H-Film and Screen-L, so forgive the redundancy.
Last night in Ann Arbor I had the privilege of seeing the recently
recovered footage from Welles's unfinished South American project,
This 'restored' version includes some interview footage with Welles
(which is always fascinating).  It also includes Dick Wilson's edited
versions of two of Welles's narrative episodes (though only a fraction
of the surviving footage is included).  Some sound effects have been
looped in, which adds depth and ambience, but all original sound
recordings from these episodes are lost, so there is no dialogue.
A musical score has also been added.
Associate producer Catherine Benamou (a fellow alum of NYU Cinema Studies)
was on hand to take questions.
The film presents a very different view of Welles's trip to Rio than
one finds in the BBC documentary on RKO, in which he is portrayed as having
'gone native,' seduced by the Carnival, evading studio bosses,
sending false cables, hiding equipment, and all while being drunk most
of the time.  Benamou defends Welles as having all the time been working
meticulously and responsibly.
Have any of you out there seen this new film yet?
If so, I'd like to hear your assessments, because it raises (rather than
resolves) a number of historiographical problems.
Have any of you done any research on this period in Welles's career,
and can you shed some additional light?
It seems to me that there is MUCH, MUCM MORE to say on the matter,
and that this recent film is only the first (or second) word.
        -- Derek Bouse