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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Filmmaking > It's All True (Orson Welles)

Itís All True (Documentary)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: D†††† Film: B



Orson Welles remains one of the giants of cinema, and it goes far beyond his 1941 masterpiece, Citizen Kane.Of course, The Magnificent Ambersons followed and everyone who knows the film and Welles knows he did not get the final cut he wanted.That extra footage has been hinted down for years.Though it has not surfaced yet, footage form his third, aborted film did surface and what was found was issued in the 1993 documentary Itís All True.Now, Paramount has released the DVD.


What did get shot was shot in the period of January Ė August 1942 is featured here.Except for the Bonito segment, co-directed by Welles co-writer Norman Foster (both of whom co-wrote with John Fante), Welles was in complete control.Particularly significant is the Carnival segment, which was shot in three-strip Technicolor.This was Welles first time working in the color process and cinematographer W. Howard Green delivered some remarkable footage that alone justifies this documentary.He would rarely work in color again and this would be the only time he would get to use the process.Needless to say, this is very rich footage and shows Wellesí eye for color was an ingenious as it was for monochrome.


Conceived as a three-segment semi-documentary project shot on location in Brazil, as the RKO Studioís attempt to help the U.S. Government with pro-American, anti-Nazi propaganda, studio changes and more conflict with the studio ended the film before it was completed.They were also ordering then-editor and future director Robert Wise to cut down The Magnificent Ambersons.Long after Kane, there were plenty of forces still trying to cause Welles downfall, and any character flaws he had were used against him to the greatest extent possible.He would not work for a studio again until his 1958 Touch Of Evil (on a decent basic DVD from Universal) closed the Film Noir era.Itís All True is a sad ending to what should have been a constantly innovative and remarkable Hollywood system career, but Welles went on to make films independently as the original system went into decline and both likely paid a high price for losing each other.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is the way the original aspect ratio of the 1942 footage was hot and the new footage by co-directors Richard Wilson, Myron Meisel and Bill Krohn (who also co-wrote the new segments that needed it) is shot to match it.This looks as good as it will on the DVD format and fans will not be disappointed.Some of the footage does not even have sound, but the film in general is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, minus any surrounds.Some of the sound is monophonic and may even be old radio audio, possibly from acetate discs.The creators did a nice job of presenting the most fail of audio.There are no extras, but Itís All True is one of the key film documentaries that further confirms the genius of Orson Welles, a filmmaker more new directors need to see much, much more of.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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