When Orson Welles Pulled A Fast One

I was an editor at rko studios, where "Citizen Kane" was made. I had just finished editing "My Favorite Wife" when I got a call from my boss. He said, "You've heard about this fellow, Orson Welles, haven't you?" I said, "Yeah. What's up?"

He said, "Welles has pulled a fast one on the studio. He got an OK to shoot three tests for this new picture he wants to make. Then the studio looked at the footage and realized they're not just tests, they're actual sequences for the picture."

So they had to give him the green light to make the picture. And Welles wanted a new editor. So I was sent down. He was shooting one of the scenes where they were at the beach. The first time I ever saw Orson was in his makeup as Old Man Kane. And that was the start of it. I edited "Kane" and later on "The Magnificent Ambersons."

I've often been asked if he didn't come in the editing room and disrupt the editing. No. Once a sequence was shot, I would make my cut of the scene and show it to him. Then we would have the usual give-and-take between editor and director.

But you couldn't see those rushes coming in every day and not realize that you were getting something quite out of the ordinary. The camera work was so great. The angles were so marvelous. And all the actors were new to the screen; they were theater people from New York. So we couldn't wait to see the rushes every day, just to see what he was going to give us.

When Orson Welles Pulled A Fast One | News