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Orson Welles: Hello Americans (Orson Welles #2)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  200 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
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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May 24, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Orson Welles
Shelves: iveread
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
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This second volume of Simon Callow's immense three-volume biography of Orson Welles begins with our hero on top of the world following the release of Citizen Kane. Even his enemies (perhaps especially his enemies) acclaim him as a genius, the US government is dying to work with him, he commands unheard-of fees for someone with such a short track record. He is the Boy Wonder and raconteur, his body filling out into a suitable size for his prodigious energies and appetites. He seems to feel he can ...more
Xackery Irving
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better...
Tony Laplume
Actually not that bad a book despite the relatively low rating I gave it. So let me explain...

The thing is, Callow seems completely unequal to the task of figuring out such a massive titan as Orson Welles. I will grant that this is the second of three volumes (probably, right? but at least in that regard he's exactly like Welles), and I haven't read the first one, so maybe there's something in the first that helps explain the second to the untrained eye, but...I somewhat doubt that. Enough allus
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welles is one of the most influential figures in cinema and as such deserves a great biography. Callow delivers, giving us a Welles of genius and petulance. The first volume covered Welles's youth with its myriad of influences and his incredible successes in theater, radio, and film that resulted in his being named the Boy Wonder. This volume details his fall due to his own over-reaching and neglect. Callow gives us a Welles that is hard to like or even admire, even when he is championing civil ...more
Steve Mcmullen
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Watson
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brian Willis
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Volume 2 could never live up to Volume 1, just as Welles struggles here to surpass Citizen Kane. It is not Callow's fault that it doesn't live up the the previous work; Welles's biography simply doesn't allow another triumphal story such his early successes. Nonetheless, the story is gripping, the struggle for creative control is real and persistent, and one can see why Welles would often abort his creative projects when they became too impossible to sustain. With Volume 3 just released, it will ...more
Michael Samerdyke
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
Robert Boyle
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
It's hard to believe how often Orson Welles essentially made a complete career change and became either an established leader or a hated amateur (or both!)

Based on this book, it's very hard to see what really drove Welles other than his love of a creative frenzy.
Jonathan Butcher
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Orson Welles is an interesting cultural/historical figure and Simon Callow does a good job of passionately telling his story.
I love reading about Orson's downfall. It fills me with glee. Is that wicked?
Anthony Nesbitt
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