The Story of Orson Welles
By David Thomson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679772835, 480pp.)
Publication Date: September 30, 1997
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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
London-born David Thomson graduated from Dulwich College and the London School of Film Technique. He has taught film studies at Dartmouth College, is on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, and is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Film Comment, Los Angeles, and The New Republic. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.