Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Over the course of his lifetime, the legendary director Orson Welles (1915-1985) was forced to leave many of his grander movie-making projects unfinished, generally for want of sustained financial backing. Each successive unfinished effort generated buzz throughout the worshipful film community that only served to brighten the luster of his legend. Thus it was only a matter of time before one of his many admirers bought the rights to the fairly extensive footage he shot for his film Don Quixote (begun in 1955) and attempted to edit it into some semblance of a finished film, based on research into Welles' stated intentions and notes. A fuzzy, out-of-focus print of the resulting film was shown at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, and it was immediately deemed as a hashed-up job, a travesty bordering on the sacrilegious, by the assembled deeply interested and knowledgeable viewers. Their criticism focused mainly on issues that ordinary viewers would deem excessively technical, but the gist of it was that this was a very un-Wellesian use of Welles' footage. However, the film does offer viewers a unique opportunity to see some of the master's mature story ideas onscreen. In addition to footage from the film, the movie is also a kind of semi-documentary homage to Welles, showing footage of the famed director at work.