BOOTLEG FILES 672: “Who’s Out There?” (1975 documentary short hosted by Orson Welles).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Produced for the federal government, hence the absence of a copyright.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: One public domain label carries it, but a full-throttle digital restoration is unlikely.
During the 1970s, a great deal of attention was being paid to outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kept people focused on the sky with its various lunar missions and probes into the deepest corners of the galaxy. But many people insisted that space traffic was a two-way endeavor, and sightings of UFOs along with various claims of personal encounters with intergalactic visitors became headline news throughout the decade.
Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind” was, for many years, the second most infamous unfinished film of all time. (A certain Jerry Lewis film earned the top spot within incomplete cinema.) As everyone knows by now, the film was posthumously stitched together 42 years after principal photography was finished and is now being made available via Netflix. To be blunt, it would have been better if Welles’ unedited work was left in oblivion.
BOOTLEG FILES 615: “The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh” (1984 short directed by and starring Orson Welles).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The rarest and least known of Welles’ output.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: The full short deserves to be a special feature on a future DVD release.
Everybody is aware that Orson Welles began his filmmaking career with the biggest bang imaginable – you know, that film about the megalomaniac newspaper publisher obsessed over his childhood sled. However, few people are aware that Welles ended his filmmaking career with a whisper: a three-minute short intended as a private video for an ailing friend.
From the artistic peaks of “Citizen Kane” and “The Magnificent Ambersons” to that infamous recording of a frozen peas commercial, Orson Welles ran the full spectrum from the sublime to the ridiculous. Often treated with scorn and ridicule by the critics during his peak years, today he is beloved for his wild and tumultuous career output. Facebook’s funniest guy, Anthony “The Kingfish” Vitamia, returns to “The Online Movie Show” to talk about Orson’s amazing life. This is THE ultimate Orson Welles show that you need to hear!
The episode can be heard here.
“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.
BOOTLEG FILES 605: “The Orson Welles Show” (1979 unsold television pilot).
LAST SEEN: A copy is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A few minutes were included in the 1995 documentary “Orson Welles: One Man Band” that appeared on the DVD for “F for Fake.”
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lack of perceived commercial value.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is possible.
During the 1970s, Orson Welles became a ubiquitous figure on the television talk show circuit. His appearances on the programs hosted by Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, Dinah Shore, David Frost and Tom Snyder were always entertaining, with Welles charming audiences via amusing lo-fi magic tricks and richly spun displays of his raconteur talents.
BOOTLEG FILES 593: “Orson Welles’ Frozen Peas” (1970 audio outtakes of Orson Welles’ tumultuous recording of a series of British TV advertisements).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Various tributes to the recordings are on a several home entertainment releases.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: These were never supposed to be publicly released.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe as a special feature.
Orson Welles is revered today as one of the most innovative and daring artists to work in the cinematic arts. During his lifetime, however, Welles often struggled to gain the respect of his peers whenever he sought funding for his film projects. Having been burned on several occasions by dubious financial backers and business partners, Welles often sought to self-fund his projects. As a result, he appeared in too many film and television projects that were far beneath his talents just for the sake of getting extra money to keep his dreams alive.
The American Film Institute (AFI) will mount a special 75th Anniversary screening of the restored master at AFI FEST, the Institute’s annual film festival in Hollywood, on November 13th.
Who’s to know what would have been gained had anyone ever discovered what Rosebud meant? All we ever really know is that, like the faceless reporters that pounce on the death of Charles Foster Kane explain, it probably never really would have mattered. What ever piece of the puzzle would have made Charles Foster Kane feel whole was lost a very long time ago. We can never really pin point when and how, but why that gave him immense satisfaction and the feeling of completion was gone. As we gander at the endless piles of trash Kane collected over his years, as well as speak to the endless people Kane eventually began to collect, it’s pretty clear nothing could ever really give Charles Foster Kane a sense of fulfillment or make him feel complete.