Hollywood Renegades Archive

The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers

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John Huston on Orson Welles

Excerpt from An Open Book (1980)

John Huston and Orson Welles in later years. Huston died in 1987; Welles in 1985.

John Huston writes:

"Orson has a wholly undeserved reputation for extravagance and unreliability. I think much of this dates from the time he went down to Rio de Janeiro some thirty years ago to get some second-unit material for a projected picture, got caught up in the drama and spectacle of the Mardi Gras and brought back a couple of hundred thousand feet or more that nobody knew what to do with. This single incident was absurdly overpublicized. I have seen the way he works. He is a most economical filmmaker. Hollywood could well afford to imitate some of his methods.

"Since Orson was absent at the time, I stood up and accepted an Academy Award for him not long ago. It was for his contributions to films over the years. It struck me that although he was being paid this tribute, none of the studios was offering him a picture to direct. Perhaps it can just be put down to fear. People are afraid of Orson. People who haven't his stamina, his force or his talent. Standing close to him, their own inadequacies show up all too clearly. They're afraid of being overwhelmed by him.


Huston, John. An Open Book. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980, p. 344.

See Bibliography.


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