Orson Welles: Hello Americans
by Simon Callow
As a man and an artist, Orson Welles was larger-than-life--vivid, energetic, unpredictable, and riveting. But in this first volume of his masterful, highly acclaimed biography, Simon Callow finally captures the chameleonic genius whole, as only an actor/director deeply rooted in the entertainment industry could. Here, brilliantly placed in its historical and social setting...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Jonathan Cape
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This covers Welles' post-Kane middle years, and covers the studios' trashing of Magnificent Ambersons and Lady of Shanghai, and his marriage to Rita Hayworth, among other events. Among these high points (and these two films are examined in minute and fascinating detail), we are also given a massive amount of information about Welles' life and many still-born projects, much of which could have been edited down to leave a more readable book, I would aver. The first volume had a clear dramatic end-...more
Covers 1941 to 1947, which included The Magnificent Ambersons, marriage to Rita Hayworth, a New York Post column, The Lady from Shanghai, a musical adaptation of Around the World in Eighty Days that required a 13-hour run-through of its first act the day before the scheduled opening, causing the opening to be postponed 24 hours; divorce from Rita Hayworth, and many other activities. Welles was also serious about politics at this time and I learned a lot about Welles' activities in this area.
Aug 20, 2007 Vicky rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Orson Welles
I read the first installment of this series when it came out about ten years ago, and eagerly awaited the next chapter. I thought it would cover the rest of Welles' life, but silly me, it's only the middle of his life. Although I am a great Welles fan, I feel that this book does get bogged down in some of the everyday details of Orson's life, although this did give me great insight to the details of Welles' work in the Civil Rights movement. I had not realized before that he was so involved and...more
Volume Two of Simon Callow's planned 3-part biography of Orson Welles is just as meticulously researched and engagingly written as the first volume. Unlike previous Welles biographers, Callow neither elevates his subject to a godlike status nor denigrates him as a talentless egomaniacal bully. Callow acknowledges Welles' genius when it is deserved; he also unflinchinly analyzes Welles' self-destructive nature. Welles was clearly his own worst enemy. This book covers only a seven-year period in O...more
After directing/writing/producing/starring in a debut movie such as Citizen Kane, can you go anywhere but down? Volume 2 answers that question, covering Welles from post-Kane to the release of Macbeth, with the "boy" wonder leaving for Europe. Callow is just as good as last time; while sometimes getting a bit long in certain details, he is almost always informative and entertaining. I've always been curious about Welles's "lost" years and was a bit disappointed that this longish book only covers...more
This book looks at Orson Welles' life and career in the Forties, from the making of "The Magnificent Ambersons" to Welles' departure for Europe to make "The Third Man." During this time, Welles had seen his career crash in Hollywood, on radio and on Broadway. Callow digs into the reasons for these setbacks and shows far more sympathy for Welles' than he did in his first volume, "The Road to Xanadu." The result is one of the best books on Welles' and his multi-faceted career. It is a gripping and...more
An enormously detailed account of the post Citizen Kane to Macbeth period for Welles in Hollywood. Simon Callow's research has caused me to reconsider my previous understanding that O W was a victim of the studio machine. No doubt he was to an extent, but it appears much of the difficulties were of his making.