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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles Paperback – September 30, 1997
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During Orson Welles' tumultuous honeymoon in Hollywood 1939-1942, Thomson writes, he achieved "glory, but ruined himself; the one was not possible without the other." In this sweeping tribute to the man said to have "more genius than talent," Thomson chronicles the events that transformed Welles from Hollywood's bad boy into one of the most influential and enduring filmmakers. The accounts of Welles' intellect only serve to contrast with the self-destructiveness of his post-Kane years, and Thomson's analysis shows that Citizen Kane loomed over the actor-film maker, not just as an achievement he could never equal, "but as an underground presaging of his own destiny." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Welles is certainly enjoying a boom; soon after the first volume of Simon Callow's Orson Welles (Forecasts, Nov. 20, 1995) comes this study by the author of The Life of David O. Selznick and A Biographical Dictionary of Film. Thomson does not pretend to have done vast scholarship or delved extensively into original sources. As a boy in England, he says, he fell under Welles's spell, and his book is a sort of vast, almost novelistic examination of the showman's rich and ultimately deeply frustrating life; it is an attempt to come to terms with the fascination Welles continues to exert, although it is generally agreed that his last 40 years were an anticlimax. Determined to be compulsively readable, Thomson indulges in highly tendentious asides, interrupts himself with questions he imagines his publisher asking and works in chunks of scenes from Welles's movies and snippets from the interviews the star tirelessly gave all his life. The result is a vivid patchwork, a swift, impressionistic take on Welles that is also an often moving tribute to his oblique mix of genius and charlatanism. Not by any means the only book on Welles to read, but a stimulating and diverting one, with some unusual judgments: that his Macbeth, for instance, is better than his Othello, and that the late F for Fake is a neglected masterwork. Illustrated. 50,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Welles directed such classics as "The Magnificent Ambersons";
"The Lady from Shangai"; "Touch of Evil" and "Macbeth.
Welles was known as a boy genius rocketing to fame as the
WPA theatre whiz who directed several New York plays in Harlem
along with his collaborater John Houseman (they later quarreled
and no longer worked together).
Welles became known to all of America with his powerful voice being heard on countless radio prgrams notably "The Green Hornet.
His notoriety was achieved with the 1938 broadcast of "The
War of the Worlds" by H.G. Welles which scared thousands of listeners to believe that Martians had really landed in New
Thomas is a perceptive, entertaining, acerbic and wise scholar of cinema. His look at the life of Welles is insightful.
The Welles who emerges from these pages was multi-faceted, complex and egotistical. Welles drank and ate to much; had too
many affairs, three wives and said a long goodbye after Hollywood shut its doors to this iconoclastic and brilliant man.
If you want a detailed chronological account of Welles life
turn to Frank Brady or Simon Callow's biographies. If you want
a writer who shares his personal reactions to Welles then this
is the book for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent work. It has helped me
understand the garantuan talent of the late great Orson!
Well done and recommended by this reviewer!
Many may argue about the conclusions and theories Thomson lays out. I urge you to read the book and judge for yourself.
I will not waste your time, but as an avid reader I have rarely had to stop in the middle of a book and give up.
If you want to be a movie criric this is your book, if you were interested in Welles this is NOT a good book.