Beatrice Welles, the youngest daughter of historic Hollywood icon Orson Welles, is auctioning off artifacts from the famed director's life. Film buffs will have a great opportunity to acquire some of the most unique and valuable Hollywood memorabilia to come to auction in ages. Perhaps best known for his groundbreaking film "Citizen Kane", Orson Welles had many other successes during his life including the film "The Magnificent Ambersons" and a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds that famously caused public hysteria. A visionary director who forever changed the fields of cinematography and film editing, Welles is often revered as the greatest filmmaker of the 20th century.
Orson Welles began his career as an actor, appearing on the stage as Tybalt in a Broadway production of "Romeo and Juliet". This led to the development of his own theater company, the Mercury Theater, that produced many acclaimed plays from the Shakespeare canon. His work at the Mercury led him to become involved in radio, where he produced a weekly show called "The Mercury Theater on the Air." The show garnered little attention until October 30, 1938, when Welles produced an original adaptation of The War of the Worlds in the style of a news broadcast. The format was so convincing that many listeners believed they were listening to the reports of an actual alien attack.
The infamy of that broadcast led to a contract with RKO pictures, where Welles produced his debut film "Citizen Kane." This film would go on to win the 1941 Oscar for Best Screenplay. Following on the heels of "Citizen Kane"'s success, Welles directed his second film "The Magnificent Ambersons". This film proved quite mentally taxing on Welles, who was outraged to find that the producers made their own cuts to the film without his approval. The experience working with RKO would eventually drive Welles away from Hollywood entirely.
The 70 lots going to auction at the end of April are relics of Welles' career with RKO and his personal life. They include two drafts of the script for "The Magnificent Ambersons", each with a different ending than the one in the film, as well as pictures from the set of "Citizen Kane." One of the most exciting objects is Welles' own personal 16mm camera, which he used to shoot home videos.
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