This article analyzes Don Quixote, Orson Welles’s long-term project, filmed with scarce resources over twenty years in France, Mexico, Italy, and Spain, and continually delayed and reworked. Although a posthumous version of Don Quixote was released in Spain in 1992, several work prints of the film still exist, and its negative remains forgotten in a vault in Rome, the result of an endless lawsuit. The film cannot be considered a proper “work” because it can only be inferred from its fragments. The text presented here is the result of extensive research on various remaining materials from archives in the United States and Europe, with the goal of understanding the production history of this project and clearly proposing the basis for a future recovery of the film. Welles’s archives expose this dialectic between work and fragment and bring into question whether the remaining negatives should be the subject of a copyright dispute. These fragments reveal much of the artist’s workroom, especially because Welles was experimenting with new possibilities of “making movies” outside of any conventional method of production.


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pp. 43-62
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