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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
This review is from: Orson Welles (Life & Times) (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
This review is from: Orson Welles (Life & Times) (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
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C. FULLER (Brixham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orson Welles (Life & Times) (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
5.0 out of 5 stars This towering genius was too great to fit in anywhere., 18 Oct 2013
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Ronald Haak (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orson Welles (Life & Times) (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 Me and Orson Welles [DVD] 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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Orson Welles (Life & Times)
Orson Welles (Life & Times) by Ben Walters (Paperback - 1 Feb 2005)
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