Rosebud

The Story of Orson Welles

By David Thomson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679772835, 480pp.)

Publication Date: September 30, 1997

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Description

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

"Easily the best book on Orson Welles."  --The New Yorker

Orson Welles arrived in Hollywood as a boy genius, became a legend with a single perfect film, and then spent the next forty years floundering. But Welles floundered so variously, ingeniously, and extravagantly that he turned failure into "a sustaining tragedy"--his thing, his song.  Now the prodigal genius of the American cinema finally has the biographer he deserves. For, as anyone who has read his novels and criticism knows, David Thomson is one of our most perceptive and splendidly opinionated writers on film.

In Rosebud, Thomson follows the wild arc of Welles's career, from The War of the Worlds broadcast to the triumph of Citizen Kane, the mixed triumph of The Magnificent Ambersons, and the strange and troubling movies that followed. Here, too, is the unfolding of the Welles persona--the grand gestures, the womanizing, the high living, the betrayals. Thomson captures it all with a critical acumen and stylistic dash that make this book not so much a study of Welles's life and work as a glorious companion piece to them.

"Insightful, controversial, and highly readable--Rosebud is biography at its best."  --Cleveland Plain Dealer




About the Author
John Heilpern is the author of the classic book about theater "Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa "and of "How Good is David Mamet, Anyway?," a collection of his theater essays and reviews. Born in England and educated at Oxford, his interviews for "The Observer "(London) received a British Press Award. In 1980 he moved to New York, where he became a weekly columnist for "The Times "of London. An adjunct professor of drama at Columbia University, he is drama critic for the "New York Observer."
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