Orson Welles, Volume 2: Hello Americans

Simon Callow, Author . Viking $32.95 (507p) ISBN 978-0-670-87256-5

This scintillating follow-up to Callow's acclaimed The Road to Xanadu traces Welles's career from the triumphant premiere of Citizen Kane to his self-imposed exile to Europe in 1947. It was a pivotal period in the director's life, as his luster as Hollywood's boy wonder dimmed through a series of flawed—if intermittently brilliant—films, from The Magnificent Ambersons to MacBeth , that were snatched from his control and vandalized by frustrated studio executives. Eschewing the cliché of misunderstood genius persecuted by Tinseltown philistines, Callow assigns some of the blame to Welles's perpetual distraction with a plethora of projects (including a misbegotten scheme to become a radio comedian), the unfocused grandiosity of his artistic impulses and his directorial "strategy of simply shooting until the nature of the film finally declared itself." As he explores the tension between the director's compulsion to make art and Hollywood's need to run a business, the author interweaves fluent critiques of Welles's films and creative processes that are nuanced and perceptive. Callow's is a superbly written account of a magnetic personality and towering talent plagued by internal weaknesses and external friction, one that manages to shape the "Orsonic tornado" into an engrossing tragicomedy. (Aug. 21)

Reviewed on: 06/19/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 656 pages - 978-0-670-86722-6
Paperback - 513 pages - 978-0-14-027517-9
Paperback - 688 pages - 978-0-14-025456-3
Hardcover - 640 pages - 978-0-224-03852-2
Hardcover - 507 pages - 978-0-224-03853-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-09-946261-3
Open Ebook - 528 pages - 978-1-4464-8455-5
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