It's All True (1993)
Both a documentary and a unique exercise in film restoration, It's All True tells the complex story of Orson Welles' ill-fated attempts to make an anthology film about the life and culture of South America and concludes with a reconstruction of one of Welles' unfinished segments, edited together from rediscovered original footage. The idea for Welles' South American project was conceived by the American government as a sort of cultural exchange to improve relations with Latin America. Using interviews and period footage, the filmmakers relate how the project quickly turned sour, as both the Brazilian government and RKO studio executives objected to Welles early footage; indeed, thanks to a local witch doctor, the film could literally be said to be cursed. Although Welles persevered, RKO eventually withdrew support from the project. The failures of It's All True and The Magnificent Ambersons, which was damaged by studio cuts made while Welles was overseas, are thought by many to have irreparably damaged the director's Hollywood career. It's All True concludes with a partial reconstruction of the "Four Men on a Raft" segment, in which Welles tells the true story of a dramatic, thousand-mile raft journey by four Brazilian peasants. … More
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Critic Reviews for It's All True
It would never have been one of [Welles'] major works, but the swiftness and urgency with which the tale is told, and the potent composition of even the most simple scenes, reveal the touch of the master.
Welles had intended to narrate the section himself, but the writers and directors of this documentary have wisely opted not to second-guess Welles, simply presenting the material as it stands and adding music and sound effects.
What little there was (some Rio carnival footage, scenes from the fishing story Four Men on a Raft) looked stunning. In this documentary, happily, there's much more to show.
The late Welles obviously had nothing to do with this new project. But you can feel his ambitious, quixotic intentions lurking in there somewhere.
A short, rather unsatisfying film about Welles's misadventures in Latin America at the start of World War II.
Visually spectacular documentary, one of Welles' sympathetic looks at countries around the world, their life and culture.
It's an amazing film for how it shows the Hollywood studio system couldn't tolerate creative artists.
Is this really a 'lost masterpiece'? I doubt it, but it's still and important missing piece of Welles' filmography.
If only a documentary like this one existed for every unfinished Welles film.
...the film at once seems like a visually dynamic conflation of a Robert Flaherty film and a proto-neorealist fable comprised of photogenic locals and working class heroics.
Audience Reviews for It's All True
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