A Proper Gander At Propaganda


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Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles  source: Doctor Mirabilis

Can't Trust Hollywood Stage Magicians: Orson Welles Can't Make A Movie

We are supposed to believe someone who knew exactly how to make films decided to illogically throw all that out the window to follow a real quixotic quest. Orson Welles was supposed to be working on the film Don Quixote from the mid 1950's to the  1970's, right around the same time NASA was working on the Apollo hoax, funny that.

Terry Gilliam would have the same problem making the same film. How coincidental. Of course human beings have a propensity for acts of great stupidity, so maybe such stories are true, however considering we are dealing with Hollywood which is the propaganda arm of the United States Government, it is not wise to uncritically accept the narratives we are sold. 

A seemingly endless film shoot would make a great cover for propaganda productions of fake news.

Orson Welles - Wikipedia

Orson Filmed A Moon Sequence That Was 100 Minutes Long

"In the mid-1950s, Welles began work on Don Quixote, initially a commission from CBS television. Welles expanded the film to feature length, developing the screenplay to take Quixote and Sancho Panza into the modern age. Filming stopped with the death of Francisco Reiguera, the actor playing Quixote, in 1969. Orson Welles continued editing the film into the early 1970s. At the time of his death, the film remained largely a collection of footage in various states of editing. The project and more importantly Welles's conception of the project changed radically over time. A version of the film was created from available fragments in 1992 and released to a very negative reception. A version Oja Kodar supervised, with help from Jess Franco, assistant director during production, was released in 2008 to mixed reactions. Frederick Muller - the film editor for The Trial, Chimes at Midnight and the CBS Special "Orson Bag" was fortunate to work on editing three reels of the original, unadulterated version - was asked for his opinion in 2013 from a journalist of Time Out, his reply was he felt that if released without image re-editing but with the addition of ad hoc sound and music it probably would have been rather successful."

"By the early 1980s, he was looking to complete the picture as an "essay film" in the style of his F for Fake and Filming Othello, using the footage of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to compare the values of Cervantes' Spain, Franco's Spain (when the film was set), and modern-day Spain post-Franco. Welles himself explained, "I keep changing my approach, the subject takes hold of me and I grow dissatisfied with the old footage. I once had a finished version where the Don and Sancho go to the Moon, but then [the United States] went to the Moon, which ruined it, so I scrapped ten reels [100 minutes]. Now I am going to make it a film essay about the pollution of old Spain. But it's personal to me." However, he never filmed any of the footage necessary for this later variation."

Don Quixote (unfinished film)

"The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is an upcoming fantasy-adventure-comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, loosely based on the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It is widely recognized as one of the most infamous examples of development hell in film history, with Gilliam unsuccessfully attempting to make the film a total of eight times over the span of nineteen years."

"Pre-production of the film first started in 1998, with a budget of $32.1 million without American financing, with Jean Rochefort as Quixote, Johnny Depp as Toby Grisoni, a 21st-century marketing executive thrown back through time, and Vanessa Paradis as the female lead. Shooting began in 2000 in Navarre, but a significant number of difficulties such as set and equipment destroyed by flooding, the departure of Rochefort due to illness, problems obtaining insurance for the production, and other financial difficulties, led to a sudden suspension of the production and its subsequent cancellation. The original production was the subject of the documentary film Lost in La Mancha, which was intended to be the making-of the film but was released on its own in 2002. Gilliam made many several repeated attempts to relaunch production between 2005 and 2015, which included the likes of Robert Duvall, Michael Palin, and John Hurt as Quixote, and Depp, Ewan McGregor, and Jack O'Connell as Grisoni, but all ended up being cancelled for various reasons, such as failing to secure funds, Depp's busy schedule and eventual loss of interest in the project, and Hurt being diagnosed with cancer (which would eventually result in his death)"

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - Wikipedia

Orson Welles was supposed to be working on his Don Quixote film during the same time period NASA was working on faking the Apollo space program. This is an interesting coincidence, no?


The Importance of Narrative: "General audiences seek and expect closure, even from documentary films"

"Absolutely. That has been a big problem with documentary. Burns didn't invent that problem. From the beginning, (if it wasn't straight newsreel, with a clearly stated information function) the documentary film has been perceived as a kind of poor step-sister to the fiction cinema of entertainment - rated as somehow inadequate, as a lesser form (maybe a feminine form) to the bigger brother of drama. To survive, to take public space and attention, it has had to borrow all kinds of structural and strategic devices from fiction in order to achieve what I would call "satisfying form", that is, to send the audience out of the theater (and/or off to bed) feeling complete, whole, and untroubled. One of those borrowed devices is narrative - which entails sentiment and closure. General audiences seek and expect closure, even from documentary films."


Documentaries are not as real as we have been led to believe. In fact documentaries have always been more fictionalized and riddled with more lies than even the filmmaker might realize. It is acknowledged that war footage has been faked and even nature documentaries are not as real as advertised.

How Nature Documentaries are Fake: A Filmmaker's Perspective

"The Best World War II Documentary Was Fake"

The Best World War II Documentary Was Faked - New Republic

"John Huston’s Fake Documentaries Of World War II"

"In A Nutshell

If you’re a fan of classic films, then you’re probably a fan of John Huston. He’s the guy behind movies like The Maltese Falcon, and during World War II, he directed several memorable war documentaries. Only as it turns out, a few of Huston’s war docs were actually fakes.

The Whole Bushel

When we remember the great directors of classic Hollywood, John Huston is one of the first filmmakers who comes to mind. The man behind classics like The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Huston was equal parts storyteller and showman. In addition to his film career, the director was a larger-than-life figure who joined the Mexican cavalry in his twenties, hunted iguanas with Ernest Hemingway, and once went “mano a mano” with Robin Hood star Errol Flynn.

Huston was a man who loved excitement, so when America entered World War II in 1941, Huston was ready to go.  According to film historian Mark Harris, author of books like Five Came Back and Pictures at a Revolution, Huston viewed the war as an adventure and a chance to test his manhood. Of course, Huston wasn’t the only filmmaker fighting the Axis. Directors like Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler, and George Stevens all signed up to do their part. 

But these soldiers weren’t armed with guns. Instead, they were carrying cameras.

These directors were charged with the chronicling the war on film and producing propaganda flicks to inspire both the troops and the folks back home. Serving in the Signal Corps, Capra produced the Why We Fight films, a seven-episode series that explained why America was at war with Hitler. As head of the photographic unit for the Office of Strategic Services, John Ford captured the intense fighting at the Battle of Midway, and George Stevens (director of Giant, Shane, and A Place in the Sun) was on hand to capture the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp.

As for Huston, he’s probably best remembered for Let There Be Light, a documentary following a group of veterans suffering from PTSD. Unfortunately, the film was confiscated by military brass who thought it would demoralize audiences. They locked it up for over 30 years. 

Of course, this wasn’t Huston’s only contribution to the war effort. Prior to Let There Be Light, he directed The Battle of San Pietro, a film depicting an American advance on the titular Italian town. The film was unflinching in its portrayal of real warfare, complete with corpses and body bags. There was even a fair amount of shaky cam going on. After all, there were bullets flying everywhere, and the film crew was forced to take cover from enemy fire . . . right?

Well, no, not really. Huston and his film crew didn’t show up in Pietro until the fighting was over, so instead of filming real-life combat, Huston recreated the entire battle with the help of the US Army. Huston was given actual soldiers and actual weapons to recreate the scene, and military officials even forked over classified documents describing what had happened during the fighting. As for all that bumping up and down, Huston knew he could make the footage appear more realistic if he added a bit of shaky cam. Basically, The Battle of San Pietro was one elaborate fake.

Of course, Average Joe citizen didn’t know that. When audiences (both civilian and military) sat down to watch The Battle of San Pietro, there was a title card at the end of the film that read, “For the purpose of continuity, a few of these scenes were shot before and after the actual battle.” So technically, perhaps the War Department wasn’t lying when they sent the film to theaters, but they were definitely telling half-truths. 

It gets even worse when you realize this wasn’t the first time Huston totally faked a battle scene.

Before working on The Battle of San Pietro, Huston contributed to a propaganda film called Tunisian Victory, a documentary about the Allied success in North Africa. Originally, the film contained real war scenes, but unfortunately, the ship carrying the film sunk before it could reach the US. 

That made things kind of awkward when President Roosevelt asked to see the footage. Unwilling to admit they’d lost the film, Frank Capra ordered John Huston to recreate the North African battle scenes. Instead of shooting in Tunisia, Huston filmed the aerial scenes in Florida and the infantry scenes out in the Mojave Desert, complete with fake tanks made out of wire frames with a canvas thrown on top.

Admittedly, Huston was pretty embarrassed of Tunisian Victory and later described the film as “so transparently false that I hated to have anything to do with it.” However, he never admitted San Pietro was a fraud. (In fairness, faking documentary footage has been going on ever since Robert J. Flaherty directed Nanook of the North.) 

Even modern-day films like Catfish and Exit Through the Gift Shop have been accused of being less than truthful, but perhaps the John Huston hoax hurts worse because we expect more from our World War II heroes."

John Huston's Fake Documentaries Of World War II By Nolan Moore ...

Hollywood Loves War & The Government

"John Ford, John Huston, Frank Capra, William Wyler and George ­Stevens all enlisted despite their ­glittering Hollywood lifestyles and joined other filmmakers recording the Allied advance across occupied Europe and in the Pacific.

Their films aimed to boost morale among troops and cinema audiences around the world as well as providing an accurate historical record of epic battles, according to Five Came Back by movie historian Mark Harris.

Yet while the directors distinguished themselves by regularly braving enemy fire to film in the thick of the action, they also all resorted to “re?enacting” some scenes and even creating others.

By 1942 John Ford, who had won Academy Awards for The Grapes Of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley, had been awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received while filming The Battle of Midway.

Ford also co-directed December 7 for the US Navy, which recounted the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and won the 1944 Oscar for best short ­documentary. Almost all of it, says Mr Harris, was fiction.

Less than four minutes of genuine footage of the air attack exists and Ford and his co-director Gregg Toland, who had been the cinematographer on Citizen Kane, staged their own using model battleships and aeroplanes in the Fox studio in Hollywood."

Lights, camera fiction: Second World War documentary footage a ...