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Orson Welles at Work [Hardcover]

Cahiers du Cinema

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Book Description

30 Oct 2007

Welles is one of the legendary film directors whose persona has been created through a myriad of myths and legends. Enfant terrible of American cinema, his groundbreaking entry into Hollywood with Citizen Kane propelled him to fame as a young prodigy and unfailing genius. Many studies to date have focused on this aspect of Welles, highlighting his clashes with film studios to paint a turbulent picture of an artist repressed by his producers. In this book, however, by returning to the original works and analysing the primary sources, the authors strip back the myths and rumours (many of which were created and fanned by Welles himself) to draw a realistic portrait of this most remarkable filmmaker at work. All of his works are discussed, with in depth analysis on key works and projects.

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‘Big, beautiful and scarily thorough: from his radio days to TV to barely sketched ideas, this covers Orson's entire career. … A fascinating portrait.’

About the Author

Jean-Pierre Berthomé is professor in Film Studies at the University of Rennes 2. His other publications include studies on the directors Jacques Demy and Max Ophüls, and the history of set design. Berthomé is a regular contributor to the French film journal Positif and, together with François Thomas, he has published numerous articles about Welles and his works and a book on Citizen Kane in 1992.

François Thomas is professor in Film Studies at the University of Paris 3. Another regular contributor to Positif, Thomas has also written on the work of Alain Resnais and co-edited an anthology on the golden age of French short film.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Orson Welles Fan Should Have This Book! 21 Mar 2008
By Greg Hatfield - Published on Amazon.com
I saw this book and couldn't find out anything about it. I searched, but found no reviews anywhere. But, being a Welles fan (and in the midst of a renewed love affair with Welles' work, due in part to reading some new Welles material), I took a chance, even though it was an expensive book. I knew the quality of Phaiden, though.

I was glad I took a chance. This book is fantastic! Lots of photos, many never seen before, and intelligent commentary, this is a great book on the work of Orson Welles. The design and quality was everything I expected from the publisher and the content was wonderful, with a lot of new information, especially about Welles' ideas when he got to Hollywood. The Heart of Darkness chapter alone is worth the money. And for those of you who lost track of Welles' career late in his life, this will show that he was productive right up to the end.

I'd love to see The Other Side of the Wind, The Immortal Story (trying to find a copy), better footage of Don Quixote, Fountain of Youth (trying to find a copy), and The Deep.

I'd love to read a review of this book by Jonathan Rosenbaum.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 4 Jun 2008
By J. Hinkson - Published on Amazon.com
An amazing overview of Welles' work. It's well-organized (breaking his career down into phases) and nicely researched (with plenty of material on often overlooked masterpieces like The Trial and Chimes at Midnight). Packed full of gorgeous photos, stills, and sketches. This is a huge, brilliant book. The price tag is hefty, but for Wellesians it will be worth every penny. Goes on the shelf alongside This is Orson Welles by Welles and Bogdanovich, and Discovering Orson Welles by Rosenbaum.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable For Welles Fans 25 Mar 2008
By Mr. Nowhere - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Meticulously researched, wonderfully illustrated investigation of Welles' working methods -- dispels many myths but reaffirms the greatness of Welles' achievements.
5.0 out of 5 stars Going Back to the Welles 23 May 2014
By M. Hickey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Many volumes have been written about Orson Welles' massive life and career, but this book, concentrating on his work as a film director, manages to provide new information and insight into the origins of each of Welles' features and the often baroque circumstances of their production, post-production and release. The writing is very good, making for an easy and entertaining read, and the black-and-white photos are plentiful and high quality. The authors' (or perhaps the translator's) technical knowledge occasionally appears a little thin, resulting in a few baffling passages, but their knowledge of Welles' life in film, both at the studios and as one of the first truly independent filmmakers, is vast, their research deep, and their analysis of his expressive use of image and sound excellent. Fans of Welles, a true and iconic American artist, will love this book, and are sure to want to revisit his films after reading it.
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