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It's All True
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The chance to see lost footage from any of his unfinished projects is always welcome, but this is something of a missed opportunity I'm afraid.
Richly illustrated with interviews and unique footage, the effort and research cannot be faulted, but frequently beautiful images flick by without any explanation whilst pointless facts are dealt in detail.
The cardinal sin here are the "recuts" of the virtually complete sections of It's All True. The "new" musical scores are obstrusive and syrupy - very "hollywood". They sit uncomfortably with the footage, and are NOT Welles style.
It's not the actual scores but the orchestration which seems so out of place. Instead of drawing you into the sequences it dilutes the impact.
It's a real shame, as you can see the influence such sequences had on later Welles pictures, "The Lady From Shanghai" - one of my favourite films - for example. After such a well researched build up it's real let down to see the work damaged in this way. Why the filmakers couldn't have used original recordings from the time film was made - and by the artists featured - is a mystery.
It's still well worth seeing - but, as I've already said, is a missed opportunity.
Aside from various clips of no particular order, there exists an entire sequence from the original, telling the story of an epic journey of 4 fisherman traveling half-way around the continent in a simple boat. The sequence lacks a soundtrack, and thus is missing the punch of other good Welles material. Orson always used audio with equal mastery as his visual style, and in this sequence you can see just how rough one was without the other. Still worth of a purchase.
The film we see includes revealing interviews of Welles' assistants and the people of Brazil who helped him in making his documentary. It also includes two separate bits from Welles himself, one of them is clearly from the BBC documentary "With Orson Welles, A Life in Film". The other one was filmed apparently in the late 40's or early 50's and is very interesting as Welles is leaning forward into the camera and telling the story of a "witch doctor" who was dissapointed to say the least when he was told the film would not be completed.
"It's All True" would've been the name of Welles' documentary had he been able to finish it. Of the parts that he did manage to get to camera;
- "My Friend Bunito", the story of a young Mexican boy and his pet calf. One scene was filmed and edited together where the calf is taken to an annual blessing of the animals. The footage is quite striking and very well made.
- "The Carnival in Brazil", is a collection of black & white footage and technicolor (one of Welles' few color efforts) of the annual carnival. The technicolor footage was shot on a large stage, but none of this was edited together in any real fashion and I wonder if Welles himself knew exactly how all the pieces would fit together (he had no script).
- "Four Men on a Raft", is the only completed version, though there is no soundtrack. The footage (we are told) was edited together as close to Welles' vision as they could (apparently, Welles didn't leave behind any detailed script, but it probably is close to what he wanted).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a bit choppy, combining documentary about the film with content of the film itself. Orson Welles' genius is on display in the long, "four men on a Raft" portion,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Sullivan
I just started looking at the old movies and documentaries. This was so interesting in story and photography and how it led to Orson's being shut out because of politics. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Stephania Pearce
Historically fascinating, but painfully long (especially with SO many interviewees requiring subtitles). Could have used a "dubbing" with that problem.Published 11 months ago by Jimbob
It is ashtonishing what Welles could do with a simple one shot - presumably it is not even cut together like he wanted, yet the black and white footage is amazing. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Steve in Manhattan
Not his best. A lost film that might have been better off lost.Published 15 months ago by arch campbell