pad264 says > And as good as Welles was behind a camera relative to other great directors, he was equally bad dealing with everything and everyone working on a film, from producers, to actors, to screenwriters. And the truth is, that's half the job of a director.
You seem to know a thing or two about Welles and have given the issue of his career a lot of thought. What you say makes sense but this particular comment, I feel, completely contradicts what you say about him being one of the greats.
If he consistently failed at, what you describe as, fifty percent of his job, how can he be considered a great director? I don't think that would apply in other professions; well, maybe sports. Creativity is, of course, important in the movie industry but so, too, is the business side. However great the movie, if it cannot get made without going over budget; if it won't make back the money invested; if it's too complicated for audiences; or too long to satisfy theater owners, how good can it really be?
A lot of creative types seem to often be at odds with the finance side of their industry. They forget it takes money to produce and distribute their work. The ones who can't come to terms with that may be able to crank out a few works of art but they're often not appreciated, or even seen, until long after the artist has died. In life they create so many barriers, often refusing to compromise, because they see it as selling out.
Perhaps, in some way, Welles is now getting the recognition some say he deserved all along. Unfortunately, unlike a painter, the studios owned most, if not all, of his movies and most of them were altered from what he envisioned.
Kane will always remain the great hope of every cinephile though...a film that brilliant coming from a first time director is mind-blowing.
I'm still not a big fan of Citizen Kane but even if it is as good as everyone seems to think, it's possible Welles only had one, maybe two, really good movies in him. After his initial success with Citizen Kane he was given many other opportunities because it was assumed he'd crank out one good movie after another. Clearly he thought that too. Unfortunately, chasing that goal is what probably did him in. Every movie couldn't be like CK; not did they need to be. Being too successful too soon often has a tendency to stall a long-term career.
Woman, man! That's the way it should be Tarzan. [Tarzan and his mate]
What you say makes sense but this particular comment, I feel, completely contradicts what you say about him being one of the greats.
It's not a contradiction because I think I essentially agree with you on Welles. I'm simply pointing out that "great" means different things to different people. I list my top 35 directors of all-time in my profile and Welles barely makes the cut. That's my opinion and I'm in the minority. But there are two sides of the argument.
I -- seemingly like you -- value a directors filmography. When I'm evaluating a director's greatness, I ignore how influential and impactful his/her work was. To me, that's an entirely separate list. No great director makes a movie so it can be influential.
I treat "skill" the same way. I don't think one should award bonus points to a director for being a good filmmaker; that should shine through in the films one makes. I have absolute confidence that Welles was more "talented" behind a camera and in an editing suite than Billy Wilder, but what is that worth when the end result is Billy Wilder making better films?
There are many who would disagree with my approach. They see in Welles an incredible talent and arguably the most influential American filmmaker in history, and for that, they label him among the few great directors in history.
This is really just a matter of semantics. It's important to define the conversation before debating it. Welles, unfortunately, doesn't neatly fit into a category. His career was marred with disaster after disaster and we're left now to look back at the pieces and wonder what could have been. It's a subjective journey that every individual who loves film must take. Don't approach his films wondering why so many were ruined; instead look deeper and you'll find a pure love for film hidden within every frame.
I'm still not a big fan of Citizen Kane but even if it is as good as everyone seems to think...
As for Kane, it's tough for me to relate to that line of thinking. All I can suggest is to see how the film grows with you over time. It is an incredibly powerful film, demonstrating the power of human sentiment and nostalgia.
As Roger Ebert poignantly once wrote:
Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain...'Citizen Kane' knows the sled is not the answer. It explains what Rosebud is, but not what Rosebud means. The film's construction shows how our lives, after we are gone, survive only in the memories of others, and those memories butt up against the walls we erect and the roles we play.
I'd say that if Welles is the most influential American filmmaker, then Citizen Kane is the most influential American film; and something that should be treasured.
"Not only is it possible, it is essential"http://paulopicks.blogspot.com/
pad264 says > Don't approach his films wondering why so many were ruined; instead look deeper and you'll find a pure love for film hidden within every frame.
If anything I'm trying to understand Welles; not bash him. I don't doubt his love of and for film. The thing I keep questioning is the fact he keeps being referred to as a great director. He may have had great vision and drive. He did, after all, convince a lot of people, many times, to back his projects. They gave him their support, confidence, money, and a lot of leeway but, for whatever reason, he often failed to get those movies made to his or his supporters' satisfaction.
I guess if we disregard the films that were in question; the ones someone else had to step in and finish, and only consider the movies he did make, maybe overall they were good movies. I don't think I'd say great but that's a matter of taste. I do like some of his movies and will probably keep watching them. At least he's not one of those directors I think was on drugs when making their films.
Woman, man! That's the way it should be Tarzan. [Tarzan and his mate]
I agree that he doesn't belong on the Mt. Rushmore, but even if we ignore influence and technical abilities, and solely look at the films he made, he's still "great."
I'd argue his five best films are:
1. Citizen Kane
2. Touch of Evil
3. The Trial
4. The Magnificent Ambersons
5. The Stranger
Now that top-five alone might not put him in the top 15-20 directors, but it puts him in the conversation. When you near the top, it becomes exponential. I could argue that Hitchcock is three-times the director of Welles, but then from there, it begins to drop dramatically until you reach a point where Welles is in the debate.
"My only enemy is time." - Charles Chaplin