Orson Welles: Citizen Welles

Orson Welles

Boscutti - Orson Welles - Writer Producer Director Actor Orson Welles in a scene in Citizen Kane

Coming across the Autumn 1962 issue of Sight & Sound at a flea market, Lawrence French was struck by a John Houseman interview, who of all people, defends Orson Welles.

In 1962, Houseman had yet to write his own detailed account about guiding Herman J. Mankiewicz through writing the script for Citizen Kane, nor had he spoken to Pauline Kael.

Which brings up an interesting point about the whole “Citizen Kane” writing controversy. From Houseman’s point of view, his story is what indeed did happen, because he had no knowledge of what Welles was doing on his own in Hollywood, while he and Mankiewicz were holed up in Victorville.

In fact, since the whole controversy mirrors the structure of “Citizen Kane” itself, is seems like it would be quite a fascinating idea to take the making of “Citizen Kane,” and tell it from four distinct point of views: Those of Welles, Houseman/Mankiewicz, George Schaefer and Joseph Cotten. It would certainly be far more interesting than the lamentable mess of a movie that “RKO 281” turned out to be.


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