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Orson Welles (Life & Times) [Paperback]

Ben Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2005 Life & Times
Orson Welles was the boy wonder who electrified Broadway at 21, terrified America with his War of the Worlds radio broadcast and then, aged 25, upended Hollywood by making Citizen Kane, still widely regarded as the cinema's greatest achievement.


Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing (1 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904341802
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904341802
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 786,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Ben Walter’s excellent Orson Welles is a tightly written biography filled with intelligent insight and salient quotes.’ (Beatrice Colin The Scotsman)

About the Author

Ben Walters is a journalist for the Express newspaper amongst others, specialising in writing about film.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
At 6am on 6 May 1915, the factory bells of Kenosha, Wisconsin, provided the first of George Orson Welles's many fanfares. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad stab at Welles. 13 Feb 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Am I the only one who comes out of the cinema blown away by a great film needing to find out anything and everything about the genius that made it? This is the kind of book that gives you the answers to all those questions you argue about on the way home. And it doesn't stop there. Welles was so much more than a director and an actor and Walters' easily digestible survey of his life and works packs in a lot of detail. Sidebars add spice: gossip, intrigue and of course the words of the great man himself. Small enough to fit in your pocket, big enough in terms of its breadth to send a clear message to other potential Welles' biographers: what more is there to say?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read me 12 Feb 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Walters, with a difficult task, has excelled in delivering one of the seminal works on Welles. This was intelligent, interesting and informative. Although there are numerous books on Welles, this work provides a unique perspective and does so with panache. If you think Welles, think Walters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slim volume proves most valuable read... 22 Aug 2010
By C. FULLER TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Not having read other large works on OW I found myself attracted immediately to this almost pocket sized book. I like the detail on theatre, radio, films & tv. I like the balance between public & private and the fact that we find out more about the working man and his persona rather than all about his private life. Nicely illustrated and an easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a marvelously readable, witty and electrifying account of the phenomenon of Orson Welles. Concise at 146 pages of text (an additional 32 pages of notes, refs and biblio follow) every sentence illuminates OW's blazing imagination, ferocious egotism and his gambler's confidence --- "I was a baby jumping onto a trapeze". Everything was changed a thousand times before being presented to the world (or sometimes entirely improvised with key decisions being made during the live performance by an all-commanding Welles). As John Houseman recalled, while the semi-formless show unfolded, Welles was wrestling with the churning monster and bringing it closer to his vision. Everyone was just along for the ride. Waters writes: "The Mercury Theatre company spent three weeks developing TREASURE ISLAND as the inaugural show [for the CBS radio series] but a couple of days before the (1938) transmission date, Orson changed it to DRACULA . . . and achieved another seat-of-his-pants success". Houseman recalls: "Sweating, howling, dishevelled and singlehanded he wrestled with chaos and time."

The superb organization of the book uses each and every sentence to illuminate the total Welles profile of genius, thrills and excitement. Witty, too --- with frequent laugh-out-loud lines carrying along this rich saga. Carefully chosen, rare photos perfectly amplify the text and enrich the mad, rollicking pace of the Welles comet. An additional 32 pages of , incisive comments and bibliography round out the book.

My advice for super enrichment: read the first 32 pages and then watch the galvanizing 2009 recreation of the 1937 Mercury Theatre opening
... Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is a well-written introduction to Welles, not a detailed narrative 8 Jan 2014
By Gene Rhea Tucker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A slim little book, my first purchase in the sleek, glossy Life&Times biography series from Britain that just began showing up in my local Half Price Books stores. I have always been intrigued by his acting and directing in "Citizen Kane" and "Touch of Evil"; and, for his straight acting, he acts several scenes in the brilliant movie "The Third Man" with just facial expressions, putting more into a smirk than entire pages of dialogue done by lesser actors. Then there is just the idea of a tortured genius ringed in by the system, the brilliant boy wonder forced to live up to his own myth, and the guy amazing enough to bag Rita Hayworth. This all said, most biographies I've leafed through at libraries suffer from many faults, and the one great biography, it seems, the multi-volume and incomplete magnum opus of Simon Callow is, as a first course, too much and undone. Thus, this volume. It offers a complete overview of his life and works, offering some insights. There are things I'd like to know more about, like Hayworth, or specific intent behind shots and narratives in his films, etc. This book, however, is a well-written introduction to Welles, not a detailed narrative.
5.0 out of 5 stars This towering genius was too great to fit in anywhere. 18 Oct 2013
By Ronald Haak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a marvelously readable, witty and electrifying account of the phenomenon of Orson Welles. Concise at 146 pages of text (an additional 32 pages of notes, refs and biblio follow) every sentence illuminates OW's blazing imagination, ferocious egotism and his gambler's confidence --- "I was a baby jumping onto a trapeze". Everything was changed a thousand times before being presented to the world (or sometimes entirely improvised with key decisions being made during the live performance by an all-commanding Welles). As John Houseman recalled, while the semi-formless show unfolded, Welles was wrestling with the churning monster and bringing it closer to his vision. Everyone was just along for the ride. Waters writes: "The Mercury Theatre company spent three weeks developing TREASURE ISLAND as the inaugural show [for the CBS radio series] but a couple of days before the (1938) transmission date, Orson changed it to DRACULA . . . and achieved another seat-of-his-pants success". Houseman recalls: "Sweating, howling, dishevelled and singlehanded he wrestled with chaos and time."

The superb organization of the book uses each and every sentence to illuminate the total Welles profile of genius, thrills and excitement. Witty, too --- with frequent laugh-out-loud lines carrying along this rich saga. Carefully chosen, rare photos perfectly amplify the text and enrich the mad, rollicking pace of the Welles comet. An additional 32 pages of , incisive comments and bibliography round out the book.

My advice for super enrichment: read the first 32 pages and then watch the galvanizing 2009 recreation of the 1937 Mercury Theatre openingMe & Orson Welles culminating in his opening night of Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR in 1930s fascist uniforms. The film has mined Waters's account down to the bones; we see the amazing transformation into visual terms, with a Welles look alike and a knowing production achieving a dramatic screen triumph, with all the verve of a dynamic Welles and chaotic rehearsals. The book and the film go together hand and glove.

"He doth dominate this world like a colossus." And like Caesar, he was too larger than life and was consequently brought down. Don't miss this full account.
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