The Grey Man
The Grey Man
by H. G. Wells
This is the text present in Chapter 11 of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine as serialized in the New Review. It was cut from the book but later published on its own as a short story, "The Grey Man." Any changes made in that version are unavailable.
"I have already told you of the sickness and confusion that comes with time travelling. And this time I was not seated properly in the saddle, but sideways and in an unstable fashion. For an indefinite time I clung to the machine as it swayed and vibrated, quite unheeding how I went, and when I brought myself to look at the dials again I was amazed to find where I had arrived. One dial records days, another thousands of days, another millions of days, and another thousands of millions. Now, instead of reversing the levers I had pulled them over so as to go forward with them, and when I came to look at these indicators I found that the thousands hand was sweeping round as fast as the seconds hand of a watch—into futurity. Very cautiously, for I remembered my former headlong fall, I began to reverse my motion. Slower and slower went the circling hands until the thousands one seemed motionless and the daily one was no longer a mere mist upon its scale. Still slower, until the grey haze around me became distincter and dim outlines of an undulating waste grew visible.
"I stopped. I was on a bleak moorland, covered with a sparse vegetation, and grey with a thin hoarfrost. The time was midday, the orange sun, shorn of its effulgence, brooding near the meridian in a sky of drabby grey. Only a few black bushes broke the monotony of the scene. The great buildings of the decadent men among whom, it seemed to me, I had been so recently, had vanished and left no trace, not a mound even marked their position. Hill and valley, sea and river—all, under the wear and work of the rain and frost, had melted into new forms. No doubt, too, the rain and snow had long since washed out the Morlock tunnels. A nipping breeze stung my hands and face. So far as I could see there were neither hills, nor trees, nor rivers: only an uneven stretch of cheerless plateau.
"Then suddenly a dark bulk rose out of the moor, something that gleamed like a serrated row of iron plates, and vanished almost immediately in a depression. And then I became aware of a number of faint-grey things, coloured to almost the exact tint of the frost-bitten soil, which were browsing here and there upon its scanty grass, and running to and fro. I saw one jump with a sudden start, and then my eye detected perhaps a score of them. At first I thought they were rabbits, or some small breed of kangaroo. Then, as one came hopping near me, I perceived that it belonged to neither of these groups. It was plantigrade, its hind legs rather the longer; it was tailless, and covered with a straight greyish hair that thickened about the head into a Skye terrier's mane. As I had understood that in the Golden Age man had killed out almost all the other animals, sparing only a few of the more ornamental, I was naturally curious about the creatures. They did not seem afraid of me, but browsed on, much as rabbits would do in a place unfrequented by men; and it occurred to me that I might perhaps secure a specimen.
"I got off the machine, and picked up a big stone. I had scarcely done so when one of the little creatures came within easy range. I was so lucky as to hit it on the head, and it rolled over at once and lay motionless. I ran to it at once. It remained still, almost as if it were killed. I was surprised to see that the things had five feeble digits to both its fore and hind feet—the fore feet, indeed, were almost as human as the fore feet of a frog. It had, moreover, a roundish head, with a projecting forehead and forward-looking eyes, obscured by its lank hair. A disagreeable apprehension flashed across my mind. As I knelt down and seized my capture, intending to examine its teeth and other anatomical points which might show human characteristics, the metallic-looking object, to which I have already alluded, reappeared above a ridge in the moor, coming towards me and making a strange clattering sound as it came. Forthwith the grey animals about me began to answer with a short, weak yelping—as if of terror—and bolted off in a direction opposite to that from which this new creature approached. They must have hidden in burrows or behind bushes and tussocks, for in a moment not one of them was visible.
"I rose to my feet, and stared at this grotesque monster. I can only describe it by comparing it to a centipede. It stood about three feet high, and had a long segmented body, perhaps thirty feet long, with curiously overlapping greenish-black plates. It seemed to crawl upon a multitude of feet, looping its body as it advanced. Its blunt round head with a polygonal arrangement of black eye spots, carried two flexible, writhing, horn-like antennae. It was coming along, I should judge, at a pace of about eight or ten miles an hour, and it left me little time for thinking. Leaving my grey animal, or grey man, whichever it was, on the ground, I set off for the machine. Halfway I paused, regretting that abandonment, but a glance over my shoulder destroyed any such regret. When I gained the machine the monster was scarce fifty yards away. It was certainly not a vertebrated animal. It had no snout, and its mouth was fringed with jointed dark-coloured plates. But I did not care for a nearer view.
"I traversed one day and stopped again, hoping to find colossus gone and some vestige of my victim; but, I should judge, the giant centipede did not trouble itself about bones. At any rate both had vanished. The faintly human touch of these little creatures perplexed me greatly. If you come to think, there is no reason why a degenerate humanity should not come at last to differentiate into as many species as the descendants of the mud fish who fathered all the land vertebrates. I saw no more of any insect colossus, as to my thinking the segmented creature must have been. Evidently the physiological difficulty that at present keeps all the insects small had been surmounted at last, and this division of the animal kingdom had arrived at the long awaited supremacy which its enormous energy and vitality deserve. I made several attempts to kill or capture another of the greyish vermin, but none of my missiles were so successful as my first; and, after perhaps a dozen disappointing throws, that left my arm aching, I felt a gust of irritation at my folly in coming so far into futurity without weapons or equipment. I resolved to run on for one glimpse of the still remoter future—one peep into the deeper abysm of time—and then to return to you and my own epoch. Once more I remounted the machine, and once more the world grew hazy and grey.
"As I drove on, a peculiar change crept over the appearance of things. The unwonted greyness grew lighter; then—though I was travelling with prodigious velocity—the blinking succession of day and night, which was usually indicative of a slower pace, returned, and grew more and more marked. This puzzled me very much at first. The alternations of night and day grew slower and slower, and so did the passage of the sun across the sky, until they seemed to stretch through centuries. At last a steady twilight brooded over the earth, a twilight only broken now and then when a comet glared across the darkling sky. The band of light that had indicated the sun had long since disappeared; for the sun had ceased to set—it simply rose and fell in the west, and grew ever broader and more red. All trace of the moon had vanished. The circling of the stars, growing slower and slower, had given place to creeping points of light. At last, some time before I stopped, the sun, red and very large, halted motionless upon the horizon, a vast dome glowing with a dull heat, and now and then suffering a momentary extinction. At one time it had for a little while glowed more brilliantly again, but it speedily reverted to its sullen red-heat. I perceived by this slowing down of its rising and setting that the work of the tidal drag was done. The earth had come to rest with one face to the sun, even as in our own time the moon faces the earth.
"I stopped very gently and sat upon the Time Machine, looking round."
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If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you. It belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
女性の声が無視され、希望が封じられてきても、彼女は立ち上がり、声を発し、そして投票に向かったのです。Yes we can
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
爆弾が湾に降り注ぎ、暴君が世界を恐喝していた時、彼女は目撃したのです。それに対して立ち上がり、民主主義を守り抜いた人々の姿を。Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Orson Welles in 1937 photograph by Carl Van Vechten.
Born George Orson Welles
May 6, 1915(1915-05-06)
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died October 10, 1985 (aged 70)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1934-1985
Spouse(s) Virginia Nicholson (1934-1940)
Rita Hayworth (1943-1948)
Paola Mori (1955-1985)
Best Original Screenplay
1941 Citizen Kane
Life Achievement Award (1971)
Best Spoken Word Album
1977 Great American Documents
1979 Citizen Kane
1982 Donovan's Brain
AFI Life Achievement Award
1975 Lifetime Achievement
George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. Welles first gained wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a number of listeners to panic. In the mid-1930s, his New York theatre adaptations of an all-black voodoo Macbeth and a contemporary allegorical Julius Caesar became legendary. Welles was also an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety spectacles in the war years. During this period he became a serious political activist and commentator through journalism, radio and public appearances closely associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1941, he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, often chosen in polls of film critics as the greatest film ever made. The rest of his career was often obstructed by lack of funds, incompetent studio interference and other unfortunate occurrences, both during exile in Europe and brief returns to Hollywood. Despite these difficulties Othello won the 1952 Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the Cannes Film Festival and Touch of Evil won the top prize at the Brussels World Fair, while Welles himself considered The Trial and Chimes at Midnight to be the best of his efforts.
Although Welles remained on the margins of the major studios as a director/producer, his larger-than-life personality made him a bankable actor. In his later years he struggled against a Hollywood system that refused to finance his independent film projects, making a living largely through acting, commercials, and voice-over work. Welles received a 1975 American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award, the third person to do so after John Ford and James Cagney. Critical appreciation for Welles has increased since his death. He is now widely acknowledged as one of the most important dramatic artists of the 20th century, in 2002 being voted as the greatest film director of all time in the British Film Institute's poll of Top Ten Directors .
1.1 Youth and early career (1915 to 1934)
1.2 Renown in theatre and radio (1936 to 1940)
1.3 Welles in Hollywood (1939 to 1948)
1.4 After Citizen Kane
1.5 Post-World War II work (1946-1948)
1.6 Welles in Europe (1948 to 1956)
1.7 Return to Hollywood (1956 to 1959)
1.8 Return to Europe (1959 to 1970)
1.9 Return to United States and final years (1970 to 1985)
4 Unfinished projects
5 In popular culture
7 Awards and nominations
9 Further reading
10 External links
 Youth and early career (1915 to 1934)
Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the second son of Richard Head Welles, then a manufacturer of vehicle lamps, and Beatrice Ives, a concert pianist and suffragette. During Welles' boyhood, he encountered many hardships. In 1919, his parents separated and moved to Chicago, and his father became an alcoholic and stopped working. Welles' mother died of jaundice on May 10, 1924, in a Chicago hospital, four days after Welles' ninth birthday. After his mother's death, Welles ceased pursuing his interest in music. Richard Welles died when Orson was 15, the summer after Orson's graduation from the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, Illinois. Welles later revealed in interviews that he felt that he had neglected and betrayed his father.
Maurice Bernstein became his guardian, but his background for the role is improbable. Born in Russia, he came to Chicago in 1890, studied and became a successful physician. In a very few years, he had several wives, including the Chicago Lyric Opera soprano, Edith Mason. Edith divorced company director Giorgio Polacco to marry Bernstein. Not long thereafter, they divorced and she remarried Polacco. In 1930, Bernstein was living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, as a wealthy physician with another wife and child, claiming to have been born in Illinois to parents from New York.
At Todd, Welles came under the positive influence and guidance of Roger Hill, a teacher who later became Todd's headmaster. Hill provided Welles with an 'ad hoc' educational environment that proved invaluable to his creative experience, allowing Welles to concentrate on subjects that interested him. Welles performed and staged his first theatrical experiments and productions there.
On his father's death, Welles traveled to Europe with the aid of a small inheritance. While on a walking and painting trip through Ireland, he strode into the Gate Theatre in Dublin and claimed he was a Broadway star. Gate manager Hilton Edwards later claimed he didn't believe him but was impressed by his brashness and some impassioned quality in his audition. Welles made his stage debut at the Gate in 1931, appearing in Jew Suss as the Duke. He acted to great acclaim, acclaim that reached the United States. He performed smaller supporting roles as well. On returning to the United States he found his brief fame ephemeral and turned to a writing project at Todd that would become the immensely successful Everybody's Shakespeare, and subsequently, The Mercury Shakespeare. Welles traveled to North Africa while working on thousands of illustrations for the Everybody's Shakespeare series of educational books, a series that remained in print for decades.
An introduction by Thornton Wilder led Welles to the New York stage. He toured in three off-Broadway productions with Katharine Cornell's company. Restless and impatient when the planned Broadway opening of Romeo and Juliet was canceled, Welles staged a drama festival of his own with the Todd School, inviting Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards from Dublin's Gate Theatre to appear, along with New York stage luminaries. It was a roaring success. The subsequent revival of Romeo and Juliet brought Welles to the notice of John Houseman, who was then casting for an unusual lead actor and about to take a lead role in the Federal Theatre Project. Houseman was especially impressed by Welles' youth, wed to what appeared to be an overabundant creative certainty and drive.
By 1935 Welles was supplementing his earnings in the theater as a radio actor in New York City, working with many of the actors who would later form the core of his Mercury Theatre. He married actress and socialite Virginia Nicholson in 1934. They had one daughter, Christopher, who became known as Chris Welles Feder, an author of educational materials for children. Welles also shot an eight-minute silent short film, The Hearts of Age with Nicholson.
 Renown in theatre and radio (1936 to 1940)
In 1936, the Federal Theatre Project (part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration) put unemployed theatre performers and employees to work. Welles was hired by John Houseman and assigned to direct a project for Harlem's American Negro Theater. Wanting to give his all-black cast a chance to play classics, he offered them Macbeth, moved to Haiti at the court of King Henri Christophe (and with a setting of voodoo witch doctors). Jack Carter played Macbeth. The play was rapturously received and later toured the nation. It is considered a landmark of African-American theatre. At 20 Welles was hailed as a prodigy.
Welles in a recording studio, 1938
An electrical transcription disk of the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast.After the success of Macbeth, Welles mounted the absurd farce Horse Eats Hat. He consolidated his "White Hope" reputation with Dr Faustus. This was even more ground-breaking theatre than Macbeth, using light as a prime unifying scenic element in a nearly blacked-out stage. In 1937, he rehearsed Marc Blitzstein's pro-union "labour opera" The Cradle Will Rock. Because of severe federal cutbacks and perhaps rumoured Congressional worries about communist propaganda in the Federal Theatre, the show's premiere at the Maxine Elliott Theatre was cancelled and the theatre locked and guarded by National Guardsmen. In a last-minute theatrical coup Welles announced to waiting ticket-holders that the show was being transferred to the Venice, about twenty blocks away. Cast, crew and audience walked the distance on foot. Since the unions forbade the actors and musicians performing from the stage, The Cradle Will Rock began with Blitzstein introducing the show and playing the piano accompaniment on stage, with the cast performing their parts from the audience. This impromptu performance was a tremendous hit.
Resigning from the Federal Theatre, Welles and Houseman formed their own company, the Mercury Theatre, which included actors such as Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Frank Readick, Everett Sloane, Eustace Wyatt and Erskine Sanford, all of whom would continue to work for Welles for years. The first Mercury Theatre production was a melodramatic and heavily edited version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, set in a contemporary frame of fascist Italy. Cinna the Poet dies at the hands not of a mob but a secret police force. According to Norman Lloyd, who played Cinna, "it stopped the show." The applause lasted more than 3 minutes and the production was widely acclaimed.
Welles was increasingly active on radio, as an actor and soon as a director and producer. He played Hamlet for CBS on The Columbia Workshop, adapting and directing the play himself. The Mutual Network gave him a seven-week series to adapt Les Misérables, which he did with great success. Welles was chosen to anonymously play Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, in late 1937 (again for Mutual) and in the summer of 1938 CBS gave him (and the Mercury Theatre) a weekly hour-long show to broadcast radio plays based on classic literary works. The show was titled The Mercury Theatre on the Air, with original music by Bernard Herrmann, who would continue working with Welles on radio and in films for years.
Their October 30 broadcast, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, brought Welles notoriety and instant fame on both a national and international level. The fortuitous mixture of news bulletin format with the between-breaks dial spinning habits of listeners from the rival and far more popular Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy program, created widespread confusion among late tuners. Panic spread among many listeners who believed the news reports of an actual Martian invasion. The resulting panic was duly reported around the world and disparagingly mentioned by Adolf Hitler in a public speech a few months later. Welles' growing fame soon drew Hollywood offers, lures which the independent-minded Welles resisted at first. However, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which had been a "sustaining show" (without sponsorship) was picked up by Campbell Soup and renamed The Campbell Playhouse.
 Welles in Hollywood (1939 to 1948)
RKO Pictures president George Schaefer eventually offered Welles what is generally considered the greatest contract ever offered to an untried director: complete artistic control. RKO signed Welles in a two-picture deal; including script, cast, crew, and most important, final cut, though Welles had a budget limit for his projects. With this contract in hand, Welles (and nearly the entire Mercury Theatre) moved to Hollywood. He commuted weekly to New York to maintain his The Campbell Playhouse commitment.
Welles toyed with various ideas for his first project for RKO Pictures, settling on an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which he worked on in great detail. He planned to film the action with a subjective camera from the protagonist's point of view. However, the darkened international political climate created marketing restrictions across Europe. When a budget was drawn up, RKO's enthusiasm cooled, as it was greater than the previously agreed limit. The anti-fascist tenor of the story was now suddenly problematic too. RKO also declined to approve another Welles' project, The Smiler with the Knife, for similar political reasons and ostensibly because they lacked faith in Lucille Ball's ability to carry the leading lady role.
In a sign of things to come, Welles left The Campbell Playhouse in 1940, due to creative differences with the sponsor. The show continued without him, produced by John Houseman. In perhaps another sign of things to come, Welles' first actual experience on a Hollywood film was as narrator for RKO's 1940 production of Swiss Family Robinson.
Welles found a suitable film project in an idea he conceived with screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (who was then writing radio plays for The Campbell Playhouse). Initially called American, it would eventually become Welles's first feature film, Citizen Kane (1941).
Mankiewicz based his original notion on an expose of the life of William Randolph Hearst, whom he knew socially but now hated, having once been great friends with Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Mankiewicz was now banished from her company because of his perpetual drunkenness. Mankiewicz, a notorious gossip, exacted revenge with his unflatteringly depiction of Davies in Citizen Kane for which Welles got most of the criticisms; Welles also had a connection with Davies through his first wife. Kane's megalomaniac personality was also loosely modeled on Robert McCormick, Howard Hughes, and Joseph Pulitzer, as Welles wanted to create a broad, complex character, intending to show him in the same scenes from several points of view. The use of multiple narrative perspectives in Conrad's Heart of Darkness also influenced the treatment. Supplying Mankiewicz with 300 pages of notes Welles urged him to write the first draft of a screenplay under the watchful nursing of John Houseman, who was posted to insure Mankiewicz stayed sober. On Welles's instruction, Houseman wrote the opening narration as a pastiche of The March of Time newsreels. Taking these drafts, Welles drastically condensed and rearranged them, then added scenes of his own.
The resulting character of Charles Foster Kane is loosely based on parts of Hearst's life. Nonetheless, with perhaps sly and barely disguised malice towards their young boss, Mankiewicz and Houseman cunningly worked in autobiographical allusions to Welles himself, most noticeably in the treatment of Kane's childhood, particularly regarding his guardianship. Welles then added features from other famous American lives to create a general and mysterious personality rather than the narrow journalistic portrait intended by Mankiewicz, whose first drafts included scandalous claims about the death of the film director Thomas Ince, killed on an excursion on a Hearst yacht. Ironically, Mankiewicz later argued, probably astutely, that if this material had been left in Hearst would never have dared to make the public connection to his own life and would have left the film alone.
Once the script was completed Welles attracted some of Hollywood's best technicians, including cinematographer Gregg Toland, who walked into Welles office and announced he wanted to work on the picture. For the cast, Welles primarily used actors from his Mercury Theatre. Grasping that films were a collaboration, he invited suggestions from everyone, but only if they were directed through him.
There was little concern over the Hearst connection when Welles completed production on the film. However, Mankiewicz handed a copy of the final shooting script to his friend Charles Lederer, now husband of Welles' ex-wife Virginia Nicholson and nephew of Hearst's mistress Marion Davies. Hedda Hopper saw a small ad in a newspaper for a preview screening of Citizen Kane and went. Hopper, realizing immediately that the film was based on features of Hearst's life, reported this back to him and threatened to give "Hollywood, Private Lives" if that was what it wanted. Thus began the struggle over the attempted suppression of Citizen Kane.
Hearst's media empire boycotted the film. It exerted enormous pressure on the Hollywood film community by threatening to expose 15 years of suppressed scandals and the fact that most of the studio bosses were Jewish. At one point, the heads of the major studios jointly offered RKO the cost of the film in exchange for the negative and all existing prints, for the express purpose of burning it. RKO declined, and the film was given a limited release. Meanwhile, Hearst successfully intimidated theatre chains by threatening to ban advertising for any of their other films in any of his papers if they showed Citizen Kane. RKO didn't own many theatres, so few moviehouses actually dared to screen Citizen Kane.
While the film was critically well-received, by the time it reached the general public the positive tide of publicity had waned. It garnered nine Academy Award nominations, but won only for Best Original Screenplay, shared by Mankiewicz and Welles. The delay in its release and its uneven distribution contributed to its average result at the box-office, making back its budget and marketing, but RKO lost any chance of a major profit. The fact that Citizen Kane ignored many Hollywood conventions also meant that the film confused and angered the 1940s cinema public. Exhibitor response was scathing; most theater owners complained bitterly about the adverse audience reaction and the many walkouts, and only a few saw fit to acknowledge Welles's artistic technique. RKO shelved the film and did not re-release it until 1956. During the 1950s, the film came to be seen by young French film critics such as Francois Truffaut as exemplifying the "auteur theory," in which the director is the "author" of a film. Truffaut, Godard and others were inspired by Welles' example to make their own films, giving birth to the Nouvelle Vague. In the 1960s Citizen Kane became popular on college campuses, both as a film-study exercise and as an entertainment subject. Its frequent revivals on television, home video, and DVD have enhanced its "classic" status, and it ultimately recouped its costs.
The 1996 documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane chronicles the battle between Welles and Hearst. In 1999, RKO 281, an HBO docudrama, tells the story of the making of Citizen Kane, starring Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.
 After Citizen Kane
Welles' second film for RKO was The Magnificent Ambersons, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Booth Tarkington. George Schaefer hoped to make back the money lost by Citizen Kane. Ambersons had already been adapted for The Campbell Playhouse by Welles, who wrote the screen adaptation himself. Toland was not available, so Stanley Cortez was named cinematographer. The meticulous Cortez, however, was slow and the film lagged behind schedule and over budget.
At RKO's request, simultaneously, Welles worked on an adaptation of Eric Ambler's spy thriller, Journey Into Fear, which he co-wrote with Joseph Cotten. In addition to acting in the film, Welles was also producer. Direction was credited solely to Norman Foster. Welles later stated that they were in such a rush that the director of each scene was whoever was closest to the camera.
Welles was then offered a new radio series by CBS. Called The Orson Welles Show, it was a half-hour variety show of short stories, comedy skits, poetry and musical numbers. Joining the original Mercury Theatre cast was Jiminy Cricket, "on loan from Walt Disney." The variety format was unpopular with the listeners, and Welles was soon forced into full half-hour stories instead.
To further complicate matters during the production of Ambersons and Journey into Fear, Welles was approached by Nelson Rockefeller and Jock Whitney to produce a documentary film about South America. This was at the behest of the federal government's Good Neighbor Policy, a wartime propaganda effort designed to prevent Latin America from allying with the Axis Powers. Welles saw his involvement as a form of national service, because his physical condition excused him from direct military service.
Expected to film the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Welles rushed to finish the editing on Ambersons and his acting scenes in Journey into Fear. Ending his CBS radio show, he lashed together a rough cut of Ambersons with Robert Wise, who had edited Citizen Kane, and left for Brazil. Unfortunately, to get Ambersons made, Welles had renegotiated away his original contract for final cut.
Wise was to join him in Rio to complete the film but never arrived. Other moves were afoot at RKO. A provisional final cut arranged via phone call, telegram, and shortwave radio was previewed without Welles' approval in Pomona in a double bill, to a mostly negative audience response, in particular to the character of Aunt Fanny played by Agnes Moorehead.
Whereas Schaefer argued that Welles be allowed to complete his own version of the film, and that an archival copy be kept with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, RKO was in no mood for such aesthetic niceties.
RKO studio management was in turmoil as Charles Koerner staged a management coup against Schaefer. It took control of the film, formed a committee which was ordered to remove fifty minutes of Welles' footage, re-shot sequences, rearranged the scene order, and tacked on a happy ending. Schaefer was replaced as RKO President by Koerner, who released the shortened film on the bottom of a double-bill with the Lupe Velez comedy Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost, thus providing the last nail in the coffin for both Welles's and Schaefer's careers. Ambersons was an expensive flop for RKO, though it received four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Agnes Moorehead.
Welles' South American documentary, titled It's All True, budgeted at one million dollars with half of its budget coming from the U.S. Government upon completion, was treated scarcely better by RKO. They closed down the production, withdrew most of the crew and kicked the Mercury staff out of the studio while Welles was still in Brazil.
In It's All True, Welles recreated the journey of the jangadeiros, four poor fishermen who had made a 1500-mile journey on their open raft to petition Brazilian President Vargas about their working conditions. The four had become national folk heroes, Welles first read of their journey in Time. Despite their leader, Jacare, dying during a filming mishap, Welles begged to be able to finish the film. He was given a limited amount of black-and-white stock and a silent camera. He completed the sequence, but RKO refused to let him complete the film. Surviving footage was released in 1993, including a rough reconstruction of the Four Men on a Raft segment. Meanwhile, RKO launched a premeditated publicity campaign against Welles, falsely claiming he had gone to Brazil without a screenplay, and that he had squandered a million dollars. Their official company slogan was pointedly changed to "Showmanship in place of Genius."
Unable to continue work as a film director after the twin disasters of The Magnificent Ambersons and It's All True, Welles worked on radio. CBS offered him two weekly series, Hello Americans, based on the research he'd done in Brazil, and Ceiling Unlimited, sponsored by Lockheed, a wartime salute to advances in aviation. Both featured several members of his original Mercury Theatre. Within a few months, Hello Americans was canceled and Welles was replaced as host of Ceiling Unlimited by Joseph Cotten. Welles guest-starred on a great variety of shows, notably guest-hosting Jack Benny's show for a month in 1943. He took an increasingly active role in American and international politics and used journalism to communicate his forceful ideas widely.
In 1943 Welles married Rita Hayworth. They had one child, Rebecca Welles, and divorced five years later in 1948. In between, Welles found work as an actor in other directors' films. He starred in the 1943 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, trading credit as associate producer for top billing over Joan Fontaine. He also had a cameo in the 1944 wartime salute Follow the Boys, in which he performed his Mercury Wonder Show magic act and sawed Marlene Dietrich in half after Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn refused to allow Hayworth to perform.
In 1944 Welles was offered a new radio show, broadcast only in California. Orson Welles' Almanac was another half-hour variety show, with Mobil Oil as sponsor. After the success of his stand-in hosting on The Jack Benny Show, the focus was primarily on comedy. His hosting on Jack Benny included several self-deprecating jokes and story lines about his being a "genius" and overriding any ideas advanced by other cast members. The trade papers were not eager to accept Welles as a comedian, and Welles often complained on-air about the poor quality of the scripts. When Welles started his Mercury Wonder Show a few months later, traveling to Armed Forces camps and performing magic tricks and doing comedy, the radio show was broadcast live from the camps and the material took a decidedly wartime flavor. Of his original Mercury actors, only Agnes Moorehead was left. The series was cancelled by year's end due to poor ratings.
While his suitability as a film director remained in question, Welles' popularity as an actor continued. Pabst Blue Ribbon gave Welles their radio series This Is My Best to direct, but after one month he was fired for creative differences. He started writing a political column for the New York Post, again called Orson Welles Almanac. While the paper wanted Welles to write about Hollywood gossip, Welles explored serious political issues. His activism for world peace took considerable amounts of his time. The Post column eventually failed in syndication because of contradictory expectations and was dropped by the Post.
 Post-World War II work (1946-1948)
In 1946, International Pictures released Welles' film The Stranger, starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young and Welles. Sam Spiegel produced the film, which follows the hunt for a Nazi war criminal living under an alias in America. While Anthony Veiller was credited with the screenplay, it had been rewritten by Welles and John Huston. Welles' most imaginative work on the film was cut out by Spiegel, and the result apart from some bravura sequences on the clock tower or evoking the small town atmosphere, was a comparatively conventional Hollywood thriller. It was successful at the box office but Welles resolved not to have a career as a cog in a Hollywood studio. He resumed his struggle for the creative control which had originally brought him to Hollywood.
In the summer of 1946, Welles directed a musical stage version of Around the World in Eighty Days, with a comedic and ironic rewriting of the Jules Verne novel by Welles, incidental music and songs by Cole Porter, and production by Mike Todd, who would later produce the successful film version with David Niven. When Todd pulled out from the lavish and expensive production, Welles supported the finances himself. When he ran out of money at one point, he convinced Columbia president Harry Cohn to send him enough to continue the show, and in exchange Welles promised to write, produce, direct and star in a film for Cohn for no further fee. The stage show would soon fail due to poor box-office, with Welles unable to claim the losses on his taxes. He wound up owing the IRS several hundred thousand dollars, and in a few years time Welles would seek tax-shelter in Europe.
At the same time in 1946 he began two new radio series, The Mercury Summer Theatre for CBS and Orson Welles Commentaries for ABC. While Summer Theatre featured half-hour adaptations of some of the classic Mercury radio shows from the 1930s, the first episode was a condensation of his Around the World stage play, and remains the only record of Cole Porter's music for the project. Several original Mercury actors returned for the series, as well as Bernard Herrmann. It was only scheduled for the summer months, and Welles invested his earnings into his failing stage play. Commentaries was a political soap-box, continuing the themes from his New York Post column. Again Welles lacked a clear focus, until the NAACP brought to his attention the case of Isaac Woodard. Welles devoted the rest of the run of the series to Woodard's cause, was the first broadcaster to bring it to national attention, and caused shock waves across the nation. Soon Welles was being hung in effigy in the South and The Stranger was banned in several southern states. ABC was unable to find a sponsor for the radio show and soon canceled it. Welles never had a regular radio show in America again and would never direct another anywhere.
The film for Cohn wound up being The Lady from Shanghai, filmed in 1947 for Columbia Pictures. Intended to be a modest thriller, the budget skyrocketed after Cohn suggested that Welles' then-estranged second wife Rita Hayworth co-star. Cohn was enraged by Welles' rough-cut, in particular the confusing plot and lack of close-ups, and ordered extensive editing and re-shoots. After heavy editing by the studio, approximately one hour of Welles' first cut had been removed. While expressing dismay at the cuts, Welles was particularly appalled by the soundtrack, objecting to the musical score he thought more suitable for a Disney cartoon and the lack of the ambient soundscape he had designed. The film was considered a disaster in America at the time of release. Welles recalled people refusing to speak to him about it to save him embarrassment. Not long after release, Welles and Hayworth finalized their divorce. Though the film was acclaimed in Europe, it was not embraced in the US for several decades. A similar situation occurred when Welles suggested to Charles Chaplin that he star in a film directed by Welles based on the life of the French serial killer, Henri Désiré Landru. Chaplin instead adapted the idea for his own film, Monsieur Verdoux, with Welles officially credited for the idea. The film proved a failure opening during a time when Chaplin was publicly vilified, but since has gone on to be acclaimed as a classic black comedy.
Unable to find work as a director at any of the major studios, in 1948 Welles convinced Republic Pictures to let him direct a low-budget version of Macbeth, which featured papier mâché sets, cardboard crowns and a cast of actors lip-syncing to a prerecorded soundtrack. Republic did not care for the Scottish accents on the soundtrack and held up release for almost a year. Welles left for Europe, while his co-producer and life-long supporter Richard Wilson reworked the soundtrack. Welles ultimately returned and cut twenty minutes from the film at Republic's request and recorded narration to cover the gaps. The film was decried as another disaster. In the late 1970s, Macbeth was restored to Welles' original version.
During this time, Welles sought to adapt the radio and serial series The Shadow to the big screen. He aimed to direct, produce, write and star in the film, but the project collapsed when he failed to find any investors. The Mark Millar article detailing Welles' attempt at a Batman film is partially inspired by this.
 Welles in Europe (1948 to 1956)
Welles left Hollywood for Europe in late 1947, enigmatically saying he had chosen "freedom". This must refer to both acting offers and the possibility of directing and producing films again. There is now compelling evidence that Welles was blacklisted in Hollywood, after years of propaganda by the Hearst empire labeling him a communist and years of FBI investigations prompted by J. Edgar Hoover.
In Italy he starred as Cagliostro in the 1948 film Black Magic. His co-star, Akim Tamiroff, impressed Welles so much that he appeared in four of Welles' own productions during the 1950s and 1960s.
The following year, Welles appeared as Harry Lime in The Third Man, written by Graham Greene, directed by Ca