Lost Welles footage
*shows genius of creator
By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
The discovery of lost Orson Welles footage is a film coup of the highest
order. Too realistic, too dark, and perhaps just too damn creative for his
contemporary studios and audiences, the bulk of Welles' vision and potential
was simply never financed and never
realized. Years of research and work
SIt's All True by, amongst others, Ann Arbor native
Catherine Benamou (the film's Asso-
Written and Directed by Richard ciate Producer) has served to locate
Wilson, Myron Meisel and Bill one extraordinary piece in the turbu-
Krohn; with Orson Welles. lent Welles puzzle.
One year after his creation of what
is considered to be the most prolific American motion picture of all time,
"Citizen Kane," Orson Welles was commissioned by the State Department to
go to Latin America and make a film for the purpose of preserving "hemi-
spheric solidarity" amid the second World War.
The project, titled "It's All True" had perhaps too apt a name. Welles, who
went to film two of the three segments in Brazil without a script became
fascinated with samba music and the indigenous, poor portion of the Brazilian
population. Welles studio, RKO, more interested in the stereotypical, Carmen
Miranda image of Brazil, denounced the film as "too black" and refused to
The 1985 discovery of portions of Welles' work in Latin America has been
restored and packaged along with documentary footage on the production of
"It's All True." The documentary portion of the film is excellently paced to
present not only the degree to which Welles was attracted to the project and the
culture of Brazil, but also how vital Welles was to the Brazilians. Ironically,
despite the halting of the project by RKO, Welles did accomplish the United
States government goal of fostering positive relations with the Brazilians. His
filming of both the traditional carnival celebration and his determination to
film the indigenous people of Brazil and not simply the elite made him a
Brazilian folk hero.
The highlight of "It's All True" however is certainly the newly edited,
Welles-directed work, "Four Men on a Raft." Despite being shot without
financial support, the piece is a beautifully photographed celebration of the
simple life-style of the native fishermen, the jangaderos. The film is a
dramatization - the true story of four men who sailed on a raft of six logs for
61 days to the Brazilian capital in protest of their conditions. Shot without a
means of recording sound, the power of this silent work is a testimonial to the
talent of Welles.
Despite the significance of this discovery it may be unlikely that an
audience disinterested in Welles, Latin America or film history will enjoy the
work. The documentary part of the film does explain the conditions with which
Welles had to make the film. His lack of equipment and monetary support, and
the frustration of RKO in a sense ruining the statement Welles was trying to
make in "The Magnificent Ambersons," is better understood and appreciated
with previous knowledge of the subjects.
However, for many this landmark work will not only satiate but frustrate
when one considers what may have been had Welles been able to continue to
create not only this project but continue to realize his cinematic vision.
"Tommy," now playing at Detroit's Masonic Temple Theatre, is an amazing journey through a rock 'n' roll world.
See, hear, feel the world Of 'To1my
By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
You are about to enter into a new world. You
will be shaken. You will be jarred. You will be
moved. This journey is non-stop save one 20-
minute intermission. Passengers with heart trouble
should take care, as the experience is so stirring,
The Who's TOMMY
Masonic Temple Theatre
January 20, 1994
and is not for the flabby of heart. Oxygen masks
are located under your seats. Make sure to famil-
iarize yourself with the nearest exits, just in case
it is too much for you. Fasten your seatbelt, and
brace yourself for an amazing journey.
The journey is "Tommy," the new rock opera
by The Who's Pete Townshend, playing at
Detroit's Masonic Temple through February 6.
"Tommy" assaults your senses, grabs hold of you
and doesn't let you go for two hours.
Quite simply, it is the story of a young boy who
is rendered deaf, dumb and blind by a series of
traumatic events in his life. He witnesses a mur-
der, is molested by his uncle and is abused by his
cousin, all of which causes him to regress even
further into his near-autistic state. He discovers
his talent at pinball, and when he breaks free of his
state struggles to handle his new-found fame. The
story is the only simple aspect of "Tommy."
The stage space is visually aligned to Tommy's
life - fragmented and abstract but vivid and
colorful. Throughout the show, scenes are repre-
sented and enhanced by projections (designed by
Wendall Harrington) onto the back wall or onto a
scrim. They enable us to see, for example: the
church in which Tommy's parents are married,
clouds, London flats, Tommy's warped percep-
tions and pinball machines. Projections, of course,
are easier, quicker, cheaper and more exciting
than big set pieces. In some cases, the projections
and actual scenery combine for an even more
vivid image; Tommy's father's airplane, for ex-
ample, is created with a hollowed-out interior of a
plane and the projection of an exterior.
(Warning: The sets are spectacular, and you
will probably be compelled to applaud them.
Please remember that the sets are merely frames
for the action and the music.)
John Arnone's "less is more" scenic design
theory pays off; his use of door and window
frames, for example (rather than extra walls) indi-
cates no attempt at realism, and that is appreci-
Townshend's score adapts well to the conven-
tions of musical theater. ("Tommy" began in 1969
as a rock opera which The Who themselves per-
formed on numerous occasions. Die-hard Who
fans will thumb their noses at the reworked musi-
cal theater score, but Townshend did supervise
and/or write the changes from the original.) Sir
Andrew Lloyd Webber, pay attention - this is
how to write a rock opera. Call up Townshend;
surely he'd be happy to give you lessons.
The show is a procession of one powerful song
after another, each of which hits you in a different
spot - from the stirring "I'm Free" and the
stormy "Acid Queen" to the intensely poignant
"See Me, Feel Me" and the lamentable "I Believe
My Own Eyes." And then there are the total
knock-you-out blockbusters, "Listening to You,"
"Sensation," "Amazing Journey" and "Pinball
Wizard." With the possible exception of "Chess,"
no other musical in history contains this many
indisputably great numbers. .
Undoubtedly, a great portion of the songs'
appeal lies in performance. Steve Isaacs does well
in the role of Tommy; his voice lacks the training
of a musical theater performer, but he possesses
the voice of a rock musician. And this is, after all,
Jessica Molaskey is a lovely Mrs. Walker, and
has a very flexible voice, though a little husky in
the lower range. Roger Bart plays evil Cousin
Kevin to perfection, and each ensemble member
attacks his/her minor roles with energy and enthu-
Director Des McAnuff does a superb job in
managing the endless stream of characters who
move in and out of Tommy's life. McAnuff has
trimmed all the fat from this production - there
is neither a second of silence nor an inch of stage
space that is wasted. Wayne Cilento's choreogra-
phy blends well with McAnuff's direction; every
movement, every step is choreographed. Of course,
in the real world, doctors don't dance through
their everyday duties, but this is a rock 'n' roll
world, and here they do. Between McAnuff and
Cilento, we are not allowed to fall out of this
world; even through abrupt time and scene
changes, we remain inextricably tied to "Tommy"
until the end.
Barring a few minor distractions - difficulty
with Isaacs' microphone in a crucial spot and
Uncle Ernie's (William Youman) cheap plug for
applause-"Tommy" is unquestionably an amaz-
ing journey. It is packaged spectacularly, and
since modern theater is so concerned with pack-
aging, it is great theater. It will carry you into a
world like no other you have ever known. See
"Tommy." Hear it. Feel it.
TOMMYplays at Detroit's Masonic Temple
Theatre (500 Temple Avenue) through
February 6. Performances are Tuesdays
through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and
Sundays at 2 and Sundays at 7.30. Tickets
range from $25 to $47.50. Call 832-2232 or
645-6666 (or any TicketMaster) for tickets.
Too Bad to be True
"One Track Mind" single
If the single "One Track Mind" is
a taste of what this group of child
singers and rappers can do, -then I
can't wait for the full course meal.
These boyz are coming straight out of
the Janet Jackson school of hip-hop,
and they have the potential to make it.
Each of the song's mixes - from
the hip-hop mix to the R&B vibe mix,
to my personal favorite, the How Ya
Jingling mix - is fresh and different.
These boyz also got vocals, and al-
though some may find the rapping
inserts wack, ya gotta admit it's kinda
cute to see these boys with single-
digit ages trying to sound like Dre Jr.
The single also includes the song
"Throw Your Hands In the Air,"
which, while not as good as "One
Track Mind," is still good enough to
show that these kids got it goin' on.
The single is worth the money and
the entire collection probably will be,
-- Eugene Bowen
The Wooten Brothers
Put Love to Work .
Although these brothas should
consider a name change, their singing
is solid and backed so well by a di-
verse collection of fresh beats, I am
forced to concede that this album is
slammin'. The group name leaves
room for skepticism as to how cool
their music could be. However, from
the very first song, the music leaves
you on the edge of your seat restlessly
wondering what the next song will be.
"Nothing is Stronger (Than True
Love)," leads this record off in a way
that few first songs do. It's semi-fast
paced beats correlate well with other,
more slow, yet equally rhythmic,
songs like "I.O.U. Love." The group
includes varying musical types in their
work, from deep bass to others which
This album is good. There's no
doubt about that. Although I still get
somewhat nauseous when I mention
the group's name ("Wooten" just
doesn't get it, ya know?), the music's
lyrics and rhythm - its combination
of variety and uniformity - make
this CD well worth its weight in gold.
- Eugene Bowen
E, VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR
COLD SORE TREATMENT STUDY
The University Health Service seeks volunteers to participate in a medical
study evaluating an experimental antiviral cream as a treatment for cold
sores (herpes labialis).
To be considered for this study, candidates must:
Donald J. Munro
Professor of Philosophy and
Chair, Department of Asian
Languages and Cultures
1994 Warner G. Rice
Humanities Award Recipient
The Distortion of
Inquiry in China
Consequences of an
DANCERS * MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS*
SINGERS WHO DANCE " SINGERS WHO MOVE WELL
DANCERS WHO SING WELL FOR SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAMt
At Walt Disney Worki Co., we produce eight spectacular shows for performers with
expertise in the talent categories above. Add 10 elaborate convention shows created for our
many resort hotels, plus special events, and you can see there's a lot happening at our world!
There are 130 opportunities for you to become a cast member. Performance styles
include a hip-hop dance troupe, musical theatre format, western-style vaudeville dinner
show, and everything in between. Contracts begin May to August 1994. Full-time performers
receive an annualcontract, relocation and benefit package, and a weekly salary ranging
between $364 and $508".
Our talent search doesn't end there. Summer roles are available May 29 to August 27,
1994. Twelve aspiring dancers who sing well to cast in the Disney Entertainment Work
Experience Programt. This program is designed to cultivate professional skills through
daily performances, dance classes, and workshops led by Disney staff and guest artists.
Participants receive a weekly stipend of $300, and share furnished apartments provided by
the company. College credit is possible, however, college student status is not required.
You must be at least age 18 by May 1, 1994 to audition. You will need a non-returnable
resume and headshot for registration at the audition site. No appointment is necessary.
Singers who move well, singers who dance, dancers who sing well, and musical theatre
performers' are to prepare 16 bars of two songs (up-tempo & ballad), and bring sheet music
in proper key. Accompanist is provided (no tapes). Dancers are to be strong in jazz, ballet,
and tap; have dance attire and shoes (character heels are suggested for women), and be
prepared to learn our dance combinations.
Marygrove College Alumni Hall
8425 West McNichols Road
Wednesday, February 2
10am Eligible & Open Call MALE Musical Theatre Performers &
MALE Singers Who Dance/Move Well
11am Eligible & Open Call FEMALE Musical Theatre Performers &
FEMALE Singers Who Dance/Move Well