Against The System – Orson Welles

Guide (my first novel) currently stands at just over 80k words. I’ve given up looking for feedback, a never ending and thankless task.

I picked four books from my local library and resolved to read them.

Nana Mouskouri, Memoirs
High Society, Grace Kelly and Hollywood Donald Spoto
Bob Hope, An Illustrated Biography Michael Freedland
Despite the System, Orson Welles versus the Hollywood Studios Clinton Heylin.

In brief – from a time when sex lives were kept under wraps:
Grace Kelly’s bio massaged her public persona. The most controversial thing that needed management was that she had sex and appeared to enjoy it.

Grace Kelly bio read March 2011

Grace Kelly bio read March 2011

Nana Mouskouri’s bio did a similar massaging job except her cover (sorry motivation) was love.

Nana Mouskouri bio read March 2011

Nana Mouskouri bio read March 2011

Bob Hope had a whale of a time by the sound of it; girls, laughs, rivals, laughs, more girls and plenty of laughs.

Read March 2011

Read March 2011

In Despite the System, it was obvious that Heylin had put a lot into his piece and, I have to be honest here, I have a not very secret admiration for Welles. He bucked the system and also delivered high art. Some people you know are trouble makers; not because they stand against everything you believe in, but because they are prepared to move heaven and earth to deliver their vision. As I read the Welles piece, it felt at time like I was reading the Platonic dialogues for the first time. Thoughts kept occurring to me. I noted them and then lost them. It wasn’t the inspiration of writing but a peek into Welles pov. Heylin had encapsulated Welles life, turned through 90º as if it were a stage and given me a ringside view on the backstage mechanics.

Orson Welles film-bio read March 2011

Orson Welles film-bio read March 2011

Orson Welles film-bio read March 2011

Orson Welles film-bio read March 2011

Notes to Orson Welles Despite the System (as of March 2011)

Okay this was a little challenging. My first impression of Heylin’s book was that he protested too loud. As I read on, it occurred to me that Welles’ message was larger than one that merely portrays a point of view. And I noted some observations that might read as obscure or banal. To me they are part of the key to his work. And his ethos.

p?? Show violence that freezes and interrupts an everyday action.

P41 six or more people could have a different opinion of a character, examine those divergent views

p66 Use e.g. shadows allude to influence, relationships, independence

p?? Like may other books of its genre, garbed in a veneer of comforting clichés.

P138 Compiled ‘For his own purposes’ the explanation comes after the edit.
Could this apply to a collection of Americana?

P181 Finding and assembling story / narrative aids eg the clock at the top of the church.
And if the piece is ‘important’ how will it shape the shared local everyday life? (if fixed?)

P191 Inferred action by well known sounds to end a scene.

P193 When an American (movie maker) sees a discrepancy between his view of life and reality, he does what? Providing spectators / audience feelings of?
Brecht (alienation effect) what is natural, make startling.
An eight foot negro with a white sign – is it a direction, a door even?

P210 The problem with dram endings (which would be irony, or wishful thinking or…) is the gap with reality. Real endings threaten the American Dream. But for some personal ambition is more important than family or other social affiliation. And if women they are what? Gifted? Destroyers? Harlots?
And these people have to work together knowing what they and each other are like…

P216 Raises questions about dialogue – romantic yet cynical

P220 Mirrors, tinted / discoloured visuals are a cue / parallel to the illusion and duplicity.

P225 Multiple impacts (all talking of money) images to contrast with main character
+ discordant sound / dialogue intrusions, on film – yes; written?
+ sound sequence to envelope an event
and end up with a kind of U.N. Product… bland with pockets of corruption.

P241 Embrace great failures “A film should be a thing in (and of) itself”

P251 How can I possibly copy the idea of a camera pushing through leaves?

P257 Motives – reminds me that perceived malignancy is just an attempt to superimpose your way (pattern) onto others (however think selfish driving behaviour)
and (LOL) the evil mastermind funds the true spirit of enquiry e.g. Borgia – Da Vinci

P266 Use motifs that are in the line of vision e.g. gargoyle behind ‘evil’ character.

P271 Hire someone to produce (research) on a matter that you already have knowledge.
What is Brecht’s alienation effect (again)?

P285 Author’s spokesperson who is invariably feeble compared to the antagonist.

P308 “There is a living part (to this film) and a dead part. Please eliminate the dead.”

P340 Crime = surrender to the system (The Trial)
empty Kafkaesque world set in Gare d’Orsay

P346 The ‘Lost England’ – even back to Chaucer – how about the Celto-Roman peoples who in the disconnect from empire, suffered the onslaught of the Anglo-Saxons; who abandoned their cities lost their culture and passed to us little more than the laments of subjugated women-slaves and whores, their men lost in the Roman wars,
Honour in death.

Against the System - front

Against the System – front

Against the System - back

Against the System – back

At some point I’ll return to this and make it an easier read.


Note: Guide was later edited and published.


About Terence Park

Board games, US Comic books, SF Paperbacks, Vinyl records; I've plenty of them all. I write SF (the serious sort). I also do spreadsheets.
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