Orson Welles and the Unfinished RKO Projects
A Postmodern Perspective
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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I first saw Citizen Kane in the now-defunct Key Theatre in Washington, D.C., and I am happy to say I skipped out of work early to go see it. It made a strong impression on me, enough so that when I visited the Lilly Library in Bloomington, Indiana, on a fishing expedition for another project, I made sure to take a look at the Welles Manuscripts. I could not believe the richness ...
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In 1999 a group of scholars gathered in M
1. Origins of the First-Person Singular
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In 1938, Orson Welles moved Mercury Theatre from stage to radio, beginning his dramatic series First Person Singular: Mercury Theatre on the Air. By the end of this year, Welles would be beckoned to Hollywood to begin his film career with RKO. During this time Welles established a creative process that interwove narrative strategies from stage, radio, and screen. He created ...
2. Classics for the Masses: Dickens and Welles
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As developed in his radio series, Welles’s first-person-singular approach to adaptation depended on the insertion of a contemporary, critical eye/I into a classic text. No author interested Welles more consistently than Charles Dickens during the era of Welles’s shift from radio to Hollywood,1 in part because of Dickens’s cultivation of a performative style of literature that ...
3. Exploiters in Surroundings Not Healthy for a White Man: Primitivism and the Identity Detour
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The story is of a man and a girl in love[. . . .] There is an unhappy girl, gorgeous, but black, a real Negro type. She has an inferred, This passage, from the plot treatment for Orson Welles’s first Hollywood film, Heart of Darkness, captures the 1930s fascination with the primitive, often seen in classic Hollywood cinema. But the passage also acknowledges the ...
4. R Is for Real: Documentary Fiction in It’s All True
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While the narrative mode discussed in the previous chapter depends heavily on imperialist binaries of white/black, good/evil, and civilized/primitive to engage modernist primitivism and couple it with romantic racialism, Welles’s use of ethnicity in narrative held a different nuance when he attempted to distance his work from “fiction” ...
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The Wellesian brand has helped establish at least two images that resonate in contemporary American media culture: the star director and the concept of “truthiness.” This final section examines twenty-first-century manifestations of these themes that intrigued Welles in the earliest stages of his career, and suggests why they retained such cultural relevance. When we compare these ...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 11 b/w halftones
Publication Year: 2009