I bought my Penguin classics edition of this over 20 years ago while in college; was mightily impressed by "Victory" at the time and intended to readI bought my Penguin classics edition of this over 20 years ago while in college; was mightily impressed by "Victory" at the time and intended to read both this and "Lord Jim"....my, how time flies. It's a challenging work, to me at least; I fully expected to read this in a sitting and it took me almost two weeks, a few pages a day. Conrad's sentence and paragraph structures are dense, long, intimidating at times, and his meanings apart from the most obvious -- the "darkness" we enter into as conquerors in a part of the world that does not and should not belong to us -- sometimes obscure. And yet it is absolutely compulsive, sardonic and tragic and radically indignant.
Going into great detail about this heavily-read and analyzed work here would be fairly pointless, even if I felt I had something really interesting to say, but I will point out that I think the generally black, mordant humor that suffuses the book is insufficiently recognized ("Can't say I saw any road or any upkeep, unless the body of a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the forehead, upon which I accidentally stumbled three miles farther on, may be considered as a permanent improvement"). Also there are many wonderful short descriptive passages, similes and analogies that I often seemed to almost miss amidst the lengthy chunks of prose, like "His face was like the autumn sky, overcast one moment and bright the next." Obvious, simple, yet nothing most writers could come up with.
This is certainly a must-read for anybody interested in the film; rather than a day-by-day, action-by-action accounting of the filming process (whichThis is certainly a must-read for anybody interested in the film; rather than a day-by-day, action-by-action accounting of the filming process (which would make for a vastly longer book, and a very tedious one for all but the most die-hard), Carringer has produced a very readable yet reasonably technical overview of how Orson Welles came to the project in the first place and how the collaborations between the then 25-year-old cinema neophyte and several much more experienced collaborators (chiefly composer Bernard Herrmann, cinematographer Gregg Toland, screenwriter Herman J Manckiewicz and art director Perry Ferguson) helped to result in one of the greatest of all Hollywood films. This is no simple accounting of what these talents contributed, though; Carringer has a thesis, that Welles produced his greatest work while in collaboration with a cadre of equals -- that in fact, far from the product of an all-seeing auteur, CK is a summation of the Hollywood studio system, and the most completely successful of the director's films as a result. His short discussion of the problems with the director's second film, "The Magnificent Ambersons" shows his opinion even more blatantly; it's one I happen to disagree with, as I value Welles' later independent productions just as highly as Kane, but he does make his points with some conviction. At any rate, worth the read for anyone interested in the director or in how big studio productions developed in the "Golden Age."...more
Certainly a must for any studious Orson Welles fan, Naremore's sympathies in this book lie pretty close to my own, so I can highly recommend it. He foCertainly a must for any studious Orson Welles fan, Naremore's sympathies in this book lie pretty close to my own, so I can highly recommend it. He focususes almost entirely on Welles' work, not his life, and within that still-wide area concentrates specifically on five films (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, The Trial, and Chimes at Midnight) which are arguably the master's most important contributions to cinema. I disagree to a large extent with his views on 'The Trial' but he's probably seen the film many more times than I have, and under better conditions -- certainly he makes me eager to get back and watch those Welles films that I've not seen so many times again and again. My favorite sections are probably those on 'Ambersons', a film I probably overrate but that Naremore offers some convincing arguments both for and against, and 'Chimes at Midnight'. Shorter discussions on Welles' other films, though curiously nothing at all on 'Filming Othello' which may have at the time of this 2nd edition of the book (1985) not been listed as having been directed by Welles. Very little here on Welles' work as an actor (except in the film he also directed); some discussion on his radio work and incomplete films....more
Absolutely essential for any lover of Welles, for anyone who (like me) believes that the man is probably the single most talented filmmaker we've hadAbsolutely essential for any lover of Welles, for anyone who (like me) believes that the man is probably the single most talented filmmaker we've had in the world thus far. Much of this collection is taken from very obscure original sources, so even longtime followers of Rosenbaum in his "Chicago Reader" days won't be familiar with all of it. Much of it also is introduced or even deconstructed by the author in the form of prologues or asides to the main text, allowing the book itself in its own interconnectedness to mirror at the times the complexity of Welles' later, less-well-known but just as fascinating essayistic works ("F for Fake", "Filming Othello", etc)....more