Template talk:Orson Welles

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No dispute about The Third Man[edit]

Some user accounts are persisting with a claim that there is some "dispute" which states that Welles, rather than Reed, directed The Third Man. This is clearly false -- there is no reliable source for this claim. All books and documentaries only mention Reed. More importantly, in his 1969 interview with Peter Bogdanovich (This is Orson Welles, page 220), Welles specifically said he made only minor contributions to the film -- and stated the film was all Greene, Reed and Korda. Without any reliable citations or references, this "dispute" is fanciful rumor and violates WP policy on WP:OR and WP:BOP. I've removed all mentions of a dispute from Orson Welles, Carol Reed, and from the associated film templates for Reed and Welles. CactusWriter | needles 16:15, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

It’s against Wikipedia policy to take sides in a dispute. To not present one side is to take a side by omission. It’s only in keeping with policy to mention the dispute but not endorse one side or the other. The fact that The Third Man DVD opens with Peter Bogdanovich declaiming that Welles had nothing to do with the film and that most reviews insist that Reed, not Welles, was the author, prove there’s a dispute, otherwise, there’d be no need to counter these claims. CharlesFosterKane123 (talk) 06:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
You are incorrect about Wikipedia's standards on neutral POV and its need to provide all viewpoints. Please read the section Undue Weight on the NPOV policy page. The accepted standard is: In general, articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and will generally not include tiny-minority views at all. Given that you previously failed to provide any sources, and when you finally added one yesterday, it was speculation by fringe essayist Dan Schneider, this claim fell under "tiny-minority views." However, I have not seen the The Third Man DVD, and if Bogdanovich does state that Welles was the director and not Reed, that would certainly by a significant reliable source for this claim. What exactly does Bogdanovich say? CactusWriter | needles 17:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
It’s not a minor dispute, elsewise Bogdanovich, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and even Welles himself wouldn’t spend so much time disputing it. The fact that they continue to flat-out deny Welles as director seems to indicate that many people do continue to dispute the idea that Reed alone directed it. I also wasn’t aware that Schneider was a fringe essayist. I noticed his article in the reference section, and thus thought it an adequate source. CharlesFosterKane123 (talk) 19:48, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Again -- there appears to be no dispute among reliable sources. And they do not "spend so much time disputing it." On the contrary, from everything I have read, everyone dismisses it out of hand -- and seems to address it only because there is a fringe minority who try to popularize the myth. You mentioned Jonathan Rosenbaum. In his 2007 book Discovering Orson Welles Rosenbaum takes exactly one sentence to dismiss the idea as a "popular misconception" (page 24). As already mentioned, the key players themselves -- including Welles -- also dismissed the idea. I have no problem if you wish to add a statement in the The Third Man article to the effect that: there were some claim that Welles might have directed the film, but that the idea has been refuted by Reed, Greene, Korda and Welles himself, and that film historians have dismissed the claim as false. However, adding the word 'disputed' to the film templates only popularizes a fringe claim, and your additions to articles on Reed and Welles appear to promote something which scholarly consensus has determined is false. I am still interested in hearing exactly what Bagdanovich says on the DVD. What exactly does he say? CactusWriter | needles 19:40, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Why waste so much time dismissing it if it’s a mere fringe claim? Clearly, the idea has some traction. Most people who view The Third Man believe it’s a Welles film. Alot of critics seem fairly defensive in asserting otherwise. Why so defensive if it’s so obviously false? This should be treated like the JFK assassination and dissenting views should be treated the same way that the JFK article treats them.CharlesFosterKane123 (talk) 15:15, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) For the sake of expediency, I have moved this discussion to talk:The Third Man to allow comment by other interested editors. My response is there. CactusWriter | needles 15:31, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Major edits by Robsinden[edit]

There've been a number of edits to this by Robsinden which I believe leave the navbox suffering both in terms of content and presentation.

Firstly, I take your point on redlinks - I've converted all of them to black text for now. The point is that this navbox needed serious work when I started working on it (and more importantly, in my writing most of the many, many articles it links to), and so it's a "chicken and egg" question; eventually everything on the navbox will have an article linked to it, just when I get the time - the Radiography it links to, for instance, is still incomplete. The one thing I would say is that I'd prefer to keep the redlinks, because they encouraged other Welles enthusiasts to share the workload of filling in the gaps - as it is, it'll just be left to me to fill out the gaps, which means it will take longer, and in the meantime Wikipedia's readers will lose out!

Your proposed edits also seemed to suffer from a lack of familiarity with some of the material; for instance, you deleted a link to the 1941 Citizen Kane trailer, categorised under "Short films". This is not your average movie trailer; this was a self-contained three-minute film in its own right, featuring 100% original footage of the film in rehearsal, and of Welles at work as director. Numerous scholars consider this to be a significant short film in its own right, of note for its original cutting, narration and photography. Randomly deleting the link to this is unhelpful. Similarly, randomly deleting the link to the ballet The Lady in Ice (considered by Welles biographer Simon Callow to be a major work) is also unhelpful, particularly on the spurious grounds that it was a "play which he did not write or have something to do with the original production" (he wrote, directed, lit and set-designed the production).

It's also vital that it covers his work as a director. Welles is considered a great artist as a director. But he personally financed a lot of his films from the fees he received from acting in any rubbish that would pay him. To this end, he acted in a lot of really, really bad films. If people want a list of his bad films, that's what the filmography is for. This navbox has been structured to include everything which he directed. Yes, even sometimes his directorial work (like In the Land of Don Quixote) was hack work too, but that's a value judgment of mine, which I can't make in this navbox. The vast majority of his directorial efforts were serious work he had control over, and it is by linking to all of his work as a director across different disciplines that the reader can get a sense of Welles as an artist - which is why he is still studied in film schools the world over.

Regarding your removing years, no mention is made of this as a rule at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navbox and by way of a few examples, I'd simply point you to the Navbox of pretty much every well-known director on Wikipedia, i.e.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Alfred_Hitchcock http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Billy_Wilder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:David_Lean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Jean_Negulesco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Jerry_Lewis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:John_Huston http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Peter_Bogdanovich http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Roger_Corman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Stanley_Kubrick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Terence_Fisher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Woody_Allen

The question of whether or not to add years has been discussed several times at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template_talk:Navbox#Years_after_films_in_navboxes and also at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FILM and in each case, the result was "No consensus" - some people, for instance, feel that years are essential, but clustering in decades (which we both agree on here) is unnecessary!

Dates are also particularly essential in the case of Welles. An ongoing argument among critics is whether or not he was a burnt-out one-hit-wonder who didn't produce anything of note after Citizen Kane - as you can probably guess, I disagree with this view. But the main reason why the debate persists is that much of Welles's later work is not easily obtainable (for a variety of reasons explained in the articles themselves), and so a clear sense of chronology in the navbox helps put things into perspective. Additionally, Welles's unfinished projects were often long-running (Don Quixote took nearly 20 years to film), and so by deleting the range of dates given for these unfinished projects, you've eliminated the sense of overlap with these.

In the absence of any strong guidelines either way on dates, I'd respectfully ask you to leave this in the hands of those of us who have taken considerable trouble over the years to add some high-quality content on Welles to this site; and to not pick on Welles in particular, given that almost every other director's navbox isn't subject to this treatment.

Kind regards, Debonairchap (talk) 15:23, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Firstly please note that this is a navbox, not a full filmography, or a complete list of every play he has directed. Therefore redlinks (or unlinked information) is not appropriate. It is also not appropriate to link to say, Othello the play, because this links to Shakespeare's play and as it would be inappropriate to include this template on a play by somebody else, and as per WP:NAVBOX: "every article that transcludes a given navbox should normally also be included as a link in the navbox so that the navigation is bidirectional", we cannot include it here. --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:42, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
P.S. I already have excluded productions Welles wasn't concerned with, i.e. Moby Dick-Rehearsed had a revival in New York in 1962, which wasn't his work. You'll find all the supporting references in the articles, but generally, I've used the ultra-authoritative chronology of Welles's career by Jonathan Rosenbaum at the end of Welles and Peter Bogdanovich's This is Orson Welles. 15:48, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I take the point about authorship, but (a) that's precisely why it's important to stress this infobox is about directorial work - that way, no claim of authorship is made, and (b) for many of these plays, including Othello, Welles is actually discussed in the existing Wikipedia article, under notable performances/interpretations.Debonairchap (talk) 15:53, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but your reasoning for continuing to remove plays from his directorial efforts because he was not their author is farcical. Welles is notable as a director. Not all directors write all of their material. Look at the above navboxes of directors. Are you proposing to remove half of their work as well, because they didn't write it all? This is an act of vandalism. Please undo, or I will.Debonairchap (talk) 16:04, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
No - You're wrong I'm afraid. Article was linking to Shakespeare's play Othello not Orson Welles's stage production of Othello. Are you suggesting that everyone who ever directed a stage adaptation of Othello should have their Navbox included on that page? --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:10, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
For example, linking to Voodoo Macbeth is wholly appropriate in the navbox, as this is an article specifically on the Orson Welles production of Macbeth. Linking to Macbeth (1948 film) is also appropriate, as this is Welles's film adaptation. However, linking to Macbeth is not appropriate, as this article is Shakespeare's play, and has nothing to do with Welles. However, it is appropriate to include Macbeth in a list article of Welles's stage productions. --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
No - you're wrong, I'm afraid. You've turned a navbox on work directed by Orson Welles, the noted director, into something called Work by Orson Welles. Under your new format, there's a claim of authorship which wouldn't be present if my original format was retained. Incidentally, your format's also highly misleading, since it includes a number of films undoubtedly directed by Welles, but not written by him, i.e. The Stranger, so by your own definition it doesn't stand up.
You're inventing new rules which aren't applied anywhere else on Wikipedia. Nowhere is it said that directors have to be the author of their own work for it to count as their work.
As for linking to the main Othello article, this is fully justified under the circumstances: As noted in the scholarly works of Michael Anderegg and Richard France, Welles's contribution as both an interpreter and a populariser of Shakespeare is significant, and for that alone, the navbox should link to Othello. The main Othello article discusses Welles's interpretation, and as such, provides the reader with information on that production which they would not otherwise have. (As for your example of the Macbeth film and the Voodoo Macbeth stage show, if these Wikipedia articles didn't exist, then it would be worth linking to the main Macbeth article, as again, Welles's interpretation on both film and stage is discussed there, as significant adaptations of the play. Like it or not, the articles on Shakespeare's plays aren't just about the plays themselves; they cover the production history and interpretations, too.) You can't seriously be suggesting that anyone clicking on an Othello link marked "(1951)" (a disambiguation date which you, incidentally, don't want to see included at all, for what you admit is simply a personal preference) will think that Welles was really the author of an Elizabethan play?
Again, you appear to be significantly out of your depth in jumping to conclusions on all this. Please leave it to those of us who have some knowledge of the material, and so can form a judgment as to whether or not the navbox is accurate. For instance, you took out the WPA/Mercury playscripts from the list of books written by Welles. (It's something I intend to write an article on later.) These aren't just edited Shakespeare scripts; as well as Welles's Macbeth and Caesar, it includes the script of Five Kings, a wholly original play by Welles which rearranges lines from five different Shakespeare plays, often out of context, to create a completely new narrative. I could cite many other instances, but I've written for long enough. If you check my contributions over the last few years, you will see that I am the author of a significant volume of Wikpedia material on Welles's work, whereas as far as I can see, all you have done so far on this topic is delete material for spurious reasons. Please stop meddling in and vandalising something you clearly don't understand. Debonairchap (talk) 17:22, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I've got to agree with Debonairchap on this one. The navbox seems well organized and therefore not unwieldy. And, of course, a navbox is the perfect place to put a lot of information in an outline form. Perhaps it could be set to default as collapsed to avoid overwhelming the articles in which it is placed. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 17:57, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Debonairchap's pomposity is absolutely astounding! The accusations of vandalism are completely misguided. It isn't about the subject matter - the issue here is the misuse of a navbox to be an all encompassing film/radio/theatreography - this is not what they are for. Please familiarise yourself with WP:NAVBOX and learn how they are supposed to be implemented. Also, have a look at WP:OWN and WP:AGF. --Rob Sinden (talk) 01:47, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
O.k., I've read WP:NAVOBX. It says, among other things: "templates with a large numbers of links are not forbidden" Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 13:21, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, for a start: "every article that transcludes a given navbox should normally also be included as a link in the navbox so that the navigation is bidirectional" - i.e. taking Othello as an example - it would have to be appropriate to include this navbox on the Othello article to include Othello in this navbox. Just because Welles happened to direct a version of the play would not meet this criteria. There are plenty of other precedents. It's not the number of links that I'm disputing, it's the relevancy. Debonairchap seems to want to use this navbox as if it were a list article. That's not the point of navboxes, that's what articles/filmographies/etc. are for. There would be no problem in including these in, say, an article called List of plays directed by Orson Welles, but it simply isn't appropriate here. Have a look an one editors reply here. Also see here regarding use of dates. --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:45, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
To say that
the Othello page should be in the Orson Wells navbox when that navbox appears on the Othello page
is not the same as saying that
the Orson Wells navbox should appear on the Othello page when the navbox includes a link to Othello. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 17:20, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Per the guideline, "the navigation is bidirectional". --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Here is a thought: How about if Robinson transfers the information in this navbox to an Orson Wells Works (or some similar title) article and then pares down the navbox itself (but adding a link to the new article)? Would this be a possible result that both of you could live with? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 17:20, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

No - we don't need an extra navbox, we just need to tidy this one. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I must have misinterpreted your "There would be no problem in including these in, say, an article called List of plays directed by Orson Welles ..." comment. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 19:45, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Ah, no, I see what you mean. You're suggesting that we do create the article List of plays directed by Orson Welles (or similar). Not sure if it would meet notability in its own right (although it might), but maybe it could be included elsewhere? Bergman's is on his filmography page, although I'm not sure that's wholly appropriate. --Rob Sinden (talk) 21:02, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The aim of the navbox I have provided is not "an all encompassing film/radio/theatreography "of all Welles work, as you allege. That's why there's a link to a separate filmography/discography/radiography - and if you follow those links, you'll see just how much detailed info has been shunted there, to keep this navbox clear. This navbox seeks to link together all the articles relating to works directed by Welles - like a navbox on a director is supposed to. The articles linked by the navbox are also a work in progress, like pretty much everything on Wikipedia, so it should come as no surprise that the navbox includes major topics for which articles haven't yet been written - for now. This is no different to, say, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Maurice_Elvey
You've deleted most of the books listed, for no clear reason. Rather than get into a futile edit war over this, I've removed the last remaining ones, and put them all into a separate bibliography, to save space. I also agree with another user's deletion of the decade breaks.
Unfortunately, you've taken it upon yourself to recategorise things having, at best, only skimmed the corresponding articles themselves, meaning that your new design has a number of factual inaccuracies. For instance, you've inexplicably listed The Big Brass Ring as "written only" by Welles, when the article makes it clear that Welles's script was never used in the final version made 14 years after his death, which bore only the faintest resemblance of recycling a few character names; and so if we're going to list that, why not Monsieur Verdoux, or the half-dozen other projects Welles wrote a draft script of which was later rewritten and made by someone else? Only they don't seem terribly relevant or notable to a list of his works - and yet you've removed some major Welles works, for an arbitrary, personal interpretation of Wikipedia guidelines.
By your own definition, The Cradle Will Rock is not a Welles play, but you've left it in: It was written by Mark Blitzstein (not Welles), and Welles simply directed the first production of it, in a blaze of publicity. Yet you've arbitrarily removed Rhinoceros, which was written by Eugène Ionesco, and Welles directed the first English-language production of it, in a blaze of publicity. What's the difference between the two?
The Othello example proves my point exactly - if a version is notable, and is actually cited in the main Othello article as a major staging or reinterpetation, then it should definitely be in the Welles navbox, and with navboxes being bidirectional, the Welles navbox should definitely be included at the bottom the main Othello article. That's not just a rule for Orson Welles - it goes for other theatre directors of major productions, like John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, etc.
And it's already the case. The Othello article contains a navbox for "Tony Award for Best Revival (1977–1993)". Nobody's suggesting Shakesperare's play won this award, it was the 1982 Broadway production which did. By your reasoning, that navbox should be deleted from the article, and since it contains a link to 'Othello' the play (not the 1982 production), that should be unlinked from the navbox, and since that would then be a redlink, that should be removed from the navbox, and the navbox would apparently say that no Tony award was given in 1982.
Obviously that's farcical. Yes, Wikipedia has guidelines to try to rein in the enthusiasm of people like me, so that when we write content we can conform to a neat and tidy, neutral set of guidelines. But the guidelines are there to suit the material in the articles, and in this case, to facilitate navigation around often-complex topics. Since it's clear that you seem, at best, only vaguely acquainted with this topic, I would beg you to think very carefully before imposing arbitrary judgments (especially when they're demonstrably not imposed elsewhere on Wikipedia) in sweeping deletions. Or if you really feel strongly about launching this one-man crusade on navboxes, why not start off by picking on some other, less contentious articles/navboxes? Debonairchap (talk) 05:51, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I may have made some errors, but there is no way that the Shakespeare plays should be linked here, and only existing articles should be included in a navbox. There's no reason not to include the books he's written in the template, but screenplays which are already included in the films section do not need to be included again. I'll make the point again. This is a navbox, not an article. A good comparison is Ingmar Bergman - his navbox does not include any of the "notable" theatre productions he directed. Also, the same for Olivier, whom you mention above. Please don't take this personally, but navboxes are not supposed to be all-encomapssing overviews of someone's career, the way you want it to be. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:13, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I may have been generous with The Cradle Will Rock, I may have been harsh on Rhinocerous. I was trying to be fair, and I gave a few articles the benefit of the doubt. However, Welles is mentioned in the lead of the former, and it seems that Welles was instrumental in the original conception, so maybe it should stay. If this is not the case, then it should go. With the latter, he appears only to have directed an adaptation, so this should definitely not stay. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:26, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Just a thought, but in order to preserve the information, why not create an article showing all of Welles's theatre work, as this is a much more appropriate way of including this into an encyclopedia, rather than try to bloat this already large navbox. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:31, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
And, from WP:NAV: "Red links should be avoided unless they are very likely to be developed into articles, and even if they do, editors are encouraged to write the article first", "Unlinked text should be avoided", and "Avoid repeating links to the same article within a template". --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:43, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment I would like to point out that navboxes are not supposed to ape encylopedic articles, they are purely a navigation tool i.e. a hub of connected articles that may be of interest to the reader. To this end, I always feel the simpler the better with navboxes:
  1. If an article doesn't exist, it shouldn't be in the navbox. If someone creates the article one day, they can add the page to it when they add the template to the article.
  2. The King Lear article should not be linked to from the navbox. If you wouldn't put the navbox on the article itself, then the link shouldn't really go in the navbox either. The King Lear article is about Shakespeare's play, not the version of it directed by Welles.
  3. The navbox is expressly for linking articles, not sections. Therefore articles and navboxes should have a one to one relationship. There are already links to Macbeth (1948 film) and Othello (1952 film) in the films section, there is no reason to provide them again in the section for plays.
  4. As for years, again it seems to me they do not serve the purpose of aiding navigation. Someone who is interested in going to the Citizen Kane or Touch of Evil page doesn't really need to know what years they were released. As long as the article is already sufficiently identifiable, years are not neccessary. I'm aware many navboxes include them, but this is an attempt at enhancing its encyclopedic value, not its navigational function, so it is basically redundant.
  5. There is no policy based reason why this navbox can't embrace authorship, but since his directorial career had a substantial span across several different mediums, I think extending it to cover other aspects of his career is an unnecessary complication. I think it would be better to limit this navbox to directed work, and perhaps create another box to cover authorship credits. Betty Logan (talk) 12:03, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I reserve the right to reconsider my opinion based on ensuing feedback, but I believe Betty (as usual) makes very good points and would support revising the template in consideration of them. Doniago (talk) 14:43, 24 January 2013 (UTC)