"Huston, saving the day, answered for Little with a straight face. “You know, we don’t actually know this man,” he said, indicating Welles. “We picked him up on the highway and he seemed undernourished. We’re going to feed him and then send him on his way.”
"The story comes from Orson Welles’s Last Movie, a recent book by Josh Karp. It’s one of many anecdotes designed to show how low the mighty director of the greatest movie ever made fell after completing his first and only masterpiece, Citizen Kane, in 1941. See the Boy Genius three decades later, fat-shamed at Denny’s.
"Further passage of time, however, has put stories like this one in a different light. Welles’s detractors have been trying to punish him for his uncompromising approach to filmmaking—a directing style that looked, especially to Hollywood traditionalists, unorthodox—since before Citizen Kane was even released. By 1942, the year RKO butchered his second film, The Magnificent Ambersons, and blamed Welles for his own film’s disfigurement, the myth of the self-destructive auteur was already in place. But now when we look back on Welles’s work in Hollywood in the early 1940s, his real problems become clear: His dark vision of American capitalism was out of tune with the gung-ho years of World War II. That Welles pursued his original vision, even as he worked in a state of hand-to-mouth auteur financing, into the ’80s looks from our vantage point like a sign of strength and integrity. The director of Citizen Kane and the director of The Maltese Falcon sitting in a Denny’s in Arizona with Rich Little in 1974? That is a picture of dignity in the face of adversity, not a picture of failure."