Published with the screenplay by Santa Teresa Press in the fall of 1987, and reprinted in my 2007 collection Discovering Orson Welles (along with the introductory paragraphs that follow, tweaked and abridged somewhat). The photograph of Welles’s typewriter reproduced below was taken by Kodar’s nephew, Aleksander (“Sasha”), and Oja herself can be seen lurking indistinctly in a corner. (What I presume is one of her sculptures, on the desk, is more visible.)
When I presented [a] Welles tribute at the Santa Barbara film festival in 1986,
one person in the audience who introduced himself to me afterwards was James
Pepper, a local rare book dealer who, in response to my assertion that the Welles screenplay for The Big Brass Ring should be published, expressed some interest in bringing out a limited edition of 1,000 copies. Having already brought out a handsome volume devoted to Robert Towne’s original screenplay for Chinatown in a similar way, he seemed to know what he was talking about, and I conveyed his proposal to Oja Kodar [whom I had recently met at the Rotterdam Film Festival].
The following year, around the time I was preparing to make a permanent move to Chicago to write for the Chicago Reader, the book appeared.… Read more »