THE CONTROVERSY OVER ORSON WELLES
Orson Welles's career, especially during the making of Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, has remained the subject of controversy. During the 1950s and 1960s, when auteurist criticism began hailing directors as the central creators in the filmmaking process (see Chapter 19), Welles was often singled out as a major example. Critics analyzed the thematic unities of his works. For some samples, see André Bazin, Orson Welles: A Critical View, trans. Jonathan Rosenbaum (1972; reprint, New York: Harper & Row, 1978); Ronald Gottesman, ed., Focus on Orson Welles (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976); and Joseph McBride, Orson Welles (New York: Viking, 1972).
In 1971, Pauline Kael attempted to counter this argument in a long essay, "Raising Kane," which ascribed certain aspects of Citizen Kane to other people who had worked on it, especially script collaborator Herman Mankiewicz. See The Citizen Kane Book (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971), which also contains the original shooting script. Kael's essay prompted several indignant responses, including Peter Bogdanovich's "The Kane Mutiny" in 1972 (reprinted in Gottesman, Focus on Orson Welles).
This controversy, plus the stylistic daring of Welles's two early films, has led historians to examine the films' production circumstances closely. Two detailed accounts of the making of Citizen Kane have revealed much about the respective roles of Welles and his collaborators. See Robert L. Carringer, The Making of Citizen Kane (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985) and Harlan Lebo, Citizen Kane: The Fiftieth-Anniversary Album (New York: Doubleday, 1990). See also Carringer, The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). Welles discusses Kane in the second chapter of Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, This Is Orson Welles, ed. Jonathan Rosenbaum (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), pp. 46–93.