The Unknown Orson Welles: Journey into Fear. 1943. USA. Directed by Norman Foster. 81 min.
Screenplay by Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, based on a novel by Eric Ambler. With Cotten, Welles, Dolores del Rio, Ruth Warwick, Agnes Moorehead. Orson Welles’s third and final Mercury Production for RKO was meant to be a piece of light entertainment—a shipboard thriller, directed by the accomplished Norman Foster (see Woman on the Run, screening on November 7 and 10) with Joseph Cotten as an innocent American abroad pursued by Nazi agents. But it, too, was subjected to cutting by the front office, and was reduced to 69 minutes for U.S. distribution. An alternative version, released in Europe, contained eight minutes of completely different scenes, apparently cut from the U.S. version for political and censorship reasons. This new version of Journey was assembled by Stefan Droessler of the Munich Filmmuseum and is not only more coherent than the U.S. version but considerably funnier, with Welles’s Colonel Haki revealed as a deft storyteller and the possible seducer of Cotten’s wife (Ruth Warrick). Reconstruction by the Munich Filmmuseum.