Get your paddles ready: A Bell & Howell 16mm camera used by Orson Welles will be auctioned on April 26th. Collectors owe this good fortune to Welles’s youngest daughter, Beatrice Welles, who believed her father would have preferred the memorabilia be made available to his fans rather than a museum. Totaling more than 70, the items handed over to Heritage Auctions also include two scripts for his 1942 masterwork “The Magnificent Ambersons.” These confirm what has long been known–that Welles’s film had been heavily edited by other hands, drastically reducing and distorting his initial vision.
The Guardian provided some nice details into Welles’s experience as the daughter of one of the most celebrated directors in film history (her mother was Welles’ third wife Italian actress Paolo Mori). It was only recently that she was first able to rummage through the boxes of his belongings after being devastated by the loss of both her parents within a year. We learn of just how much the world of filmmaking penetrated their home lives. “I’d get the two pieces of whatever celluloid film it is on the machine…He would tell me where to cut and I would cut and do it for him,” she said. In lieu of never being able to cut film for “Citizen Kane,” devotees with ample funds at least have this rare chance to own his camera, looking through the same lens he had those years ago.