Not all of the time, Hollywood and auteurs go together. In 1960, when Stanley Kubrick was told to stick close to Dalton Trumbo’s “Spartacus” story, he put a lot of space between himself and the studio system. He went to England to get the money and independence he needed to make “Lolita” in 1962.
But he wasn’t the first American director to leave the country in search of artistic freedom and money. Orson Welles is probably the best example of a director who had high-level artistic goals that the film business didn’t understand. Welles’s first movie, “Citizen Kane,” didn’t do well at the box office in 1941.
Because of this, he had to fight for money and power over his next projects. Because RKO paid for “Citizen Kane,” Welles’ contract was changed so that he couldn’t be as creative as he wanted to be.
Even though the movie would eventually be seen as one of the best, if not the best, ever made, the director would have trouble getting sponsors for the rest of his career. In 1982, he told the BBC, “The people who have done well in the system are the ones who want to make the kind of movie that producers want to make.”
Orson Welles Lost Control of the Movie While Editing
Welles and Dolivet didn’t get along because of one question: How do you edit Mr. Arkadin? Welles wanted the movie to have a crazy style, like Citizen Kane, that made the audience feel like they were in Arkadin’s game. Dolivet, on the other hand, wanted the movie to have a simple style that would have helped it sell more tickets.
Since Mr. Arkadin was meant to fix Welles’s image after years of bad luck (his last movie, Othello, hadn’t even made it to America yet, even though it had played at Cannes three years before), it would have been smart to play it safe. Welles, on the other hand, was an artist, so anything he made would be a classic.
This is how he chose what would happen to his picture. Dolivet gave him eight months for post-production, but Welles only cut two minutes a week and didn’t try to reach his goals, so it was clear that things couldn’t go on. So it wasn’t true.
Welles was told he couldn’t help with the editing because he missed a deadline for Christmas 1954. Dolivet filled out the final form himself and made sure it was right. Welles and Renzo Lucidi, who was in charge of Othello, worked together and got along well. Welles often told Lucidi what to do to save the movie, so Lucidi kept his job.
But the last few months of making The Magnificent Ambersons were all for nothing, just like the last time Welles tried to edit a movie based on orders from behind the scenes. Dolivet told Lucidi that he should start over with Mr. Arkadin when he was done with his job.
He wanted to get rid of all the memories except for the first one and replace them with an easy “A to B” story. Even worse, Dolivet sued Welles for $780,000, saying that his bad behavior, which included “drinking too much on and off the set,” was the reason why the movie stopped being made.
Welles responded to these charges in his usual wordy way: “blunderbuss, catch-all phraseology, naked generalizations, unsupported inferences, and patent irrelevancies.” Before anyone could decide if he was guilty or not, the charges were dropped, but Dolivet’s message was heard loud and clear.
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