It's All True

Joseph McBride is the author of Orson Welles (1972), Orson Welles: Actor and Director (1977), and What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career (2006).

With a title like It's All True, you have to wonder, but this endlessly fascinating documentary excursion into the fate of Welles's unfinished three-part film of that name, filmed in Mexico and Brazil in 1942, sets some of the scholarship on the subject aright, and reclaims an impressive amount of Welles's gorgeous footage. In this history, Nelson Rockefeller, RKO, Welles's friend FDR, fellow director Norman Foster, exploited jangadeiros (fishermen), and a Technicolor Carnaval all melt in the pot of early-1940s inter-American politics that brought down the career of a genius. And with the possible exception of the voodoo hex Welles claims was put on his project, it is all true. As Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, “It's All True generally does such a good job with what it has, journalistically speaking, that it winds up breaking your heart.” Following the film, at 3:40 p.m., Joseph McBride will speak about Welles's unfinished films and present outtakes from It's All True (footage provided by the UCLA Film & Television Archive), as well as clips from Don Quixote and The Other Side of the Wind.

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