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July 2, 2013

Read Screenplay for Orson Welles' Unfinished Project 'The Dreamers' Online

In his "boy wonder" days, Orson Welles staged nationally-recognized productions of Macbeth while still a teenager, frightened the country half to death with The War of The Worlds, produced/wrote/directed/starred in Citizen Kane at the age of 25, and then went into a slow, decades-long decline -- struggling to find financing and autonomy from a Hollywood that was, to say the least, wary of him. The man had a career unlike anyone else. Welles had countless unfinished projects -- among them The Dreamers, an adaptation of 2 short stories that he tried to make near the end of his career in the early 80s. The screenplay of this partially made film has become available to download, and it's required reading for any Wellesophile, or anyone interested in great movies. 

A bit of background from Cinephilia and Beyond:

Welles shot 20 minutes of 35mm footage based on the screenplay, using his Hollywood home as the set for the film. Welles never acquired financial backing for this project and a full production of The Dreamers never came to fruition. The surviving footage is archived in Germany’s Munich Filmmuseum, and it has been made public in several film festivals and retrospectives of Welles’ work. Parts of the footage were included in the documentary Orson Welles: The One-Man Band and as a special feature on the Criterion DVD release of Welles’ 1973 feature F for Fake.

Here's the screenplay to The Dreamers:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/149698063/The-Dreamers-unfinished-film-screenplay-by-Orson-Welles

What do you make of the story Orson Welles never got to finish filming? Was Welles mistreated by Hollywood, or simply too difficult to work with? What lessons do you think his long, troubled career could teach an indie filmmaker?

Link: The Dreamers Screenplay -- Cinephilia and Beyond

Your Comment

7 Comments

Can't wait to read this. Orson is nearly unparalleled - always wonder what he'd be capable of today.

July 2, 2013

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The dialog is amazing, even accounting for it being the narrative. It'd probably lose a bit of its power if one has talking heads on the screen for too long but, on its own and in excerpts, it's as good as it gets.

July 2, 2013

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DLD

Wow. Thank you for this. I think the whole myth of Orson Welles' post Kane decline is due for a revamp though. I'd argue that he had quite a successful career as an independent filmmaker, albeit part supplemented by his very successful career as an actor. Maybe he never got a really huge budget after Ambersons but he was able to move between the studio system and independent productions in a way most directors could only dream of and continued to have creative control over reasonably large productions. The critics' obsession with Kane draws attention away from the superb work he continued to do afterwards. The first 3/4 of The Magnificent Ambersons (God I hope I'm around when they finally find an uncut version) are easily as good as Kane and films like Touch of Evil and Othello aren't far off either.

July 2, 2013

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Mak

Agreed. In fact, Touch of Evil might be my favourite film of his, even if Citizen Kane is perhaps more impressive. And the opening shot of Touch of Evil is easily better than the much lauded opening of Kane, and is perhaps the best long take in film history.

July 4, 2013

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TOE

Agreed. In fact, Touch of Evil might be my favourite film of his, even if Citizen Kane is perhaps more impressive. And the opening shot of Touch of Evil is easily better than the much lauded opening of Kane, and is quite possibly the best long take in film history.

July 4, 2013

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TOE

Touch of Evil is such a glorious little film. Everything about it is so extravagant and seedy. That opening shot is mini masterclass in how to tell a story and maintain tension over a single shot. I find myself going back to it constantly.

July 11, 2013

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Mak

Hrmf, slow upload of comments. Sorry about the double.

July 4, 2013

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TOE