Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

Discovering Orson Welles

Jonathan Rosenbaum (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 346 pages
ISBN: 9780520251236
May 2007
$34.95, £28.00
Other Formats Available:
Of the dozens of books written about Orson Welles, most focus on the central enigma of Welles's career: why did someone so extravagantly talented neglect to finish so many projects? Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has long believed that to dwell on this aspect of the Welles canon is to overlook the wealth of information available by studying the unrealized works. Discovering Orson Welles collects Rosenbaum's writings to date on Welles—some thirty-five years of them—and makes an irrefutable case for the seriousness of his work, illuminating both Welles the artist and Welles the man. The book is also a chronicle of Rosenbaum's highly personal writer's journey and his efforts to arrive at the truth. The essays, interviews, and reviews are arranged chronologically and are accompanied by commentary that updates the scholarship. Highlights include Rosenbaum's 1972 interview with Welles about his first Hollywood project, Heart of Darkness; Rosenbaum's rebuttal to Pauline Kael's famous essay "Raising Kane"; detailed essays and comprehensive discussions of Welles's major unfinished work, including two unrealized projects, The Big Brass Ring and The Cradle Will Rock; and an account of Rosenbaum's work as consultant on the 1998 re-editing of Touch of Evil, based on a studio memo by Welles.

1. I Missed It at the Movies: Objections to “Raising KANE”
2. The Voice and the Eye: A Commentary on the HEART OF DARKNESS Script
3. Notes on a Conversation with Welles
4. First Impressions of F FOR FAKE
5. The Butterfly and the Whale: Orson Welles’s F FOR FAKE
6. Prime Cut (The 107-Minute TOUCH OF EVIL)
7. André Bazin and the Politics of Sound in TOUCH OF EVIL
8. The Invisible Orson Welles: A First Inventory
9. Review of Biographies by Barbara Leaming and Charles Higham and a Critical Edition of TOUCH OF EVIL
10. Afterword to THE BIG BRASS RING, a Screenplay by Orson Welles (with Oja Kodar)
11. Wellesian: Quixote in a Trashcan (New York University Welles Conference)
12. Reviews of Citizen Welles and a Critical Edition of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
13. Review of Orson Welles: A Bio-Bibliography
14. Orson Welles’s Essay Films and Documentary Fictions: A Two-Part Speculation
15. The Seven ARKADINs
16. OTHELLO Goes Hollywood
18. Afterword to THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, an Original Screenplay by Orson Welles
19. Orson Welles in the U.S.: An Exchange with Bill Krohn
20. The Battle over Orson Welles
21. TOUCH OF EVIL Retouched
22. Excerpt from “Problems of Access: On the Trail of Some Festival Films and Filmmakers” (On TOUCH OF EVIL)
23. Welles in the Lime Light: THE THIRD MAN
24. Orson Welles as Ideological Challenge
25. Orson Welles’s Purloined Letter: F FOR FAKE
26. When Will—and How Can—We Finish Orson Welles’s DON QUIXOTE?

Appendix: The Present State of the Welles Film Legacy
Jonathan Rosenbaum writes film criticism for the Chicago Reader and has written on film for many other publications. He is also the author of many books, including Movies as Politics (UC Press, 1997).
“The intellectually insatiable Rosenbaum is just the person to dissect the myths and expose the inaccuracies that have grown to define the Welles legend. [It] has both breadth and depth.”—American Cinematographer
“[Rosenbaum] is a master of details. His writing gives journalism a good name: all the anthologized pieces are lively and clear with an admirably high correlation between intelligence and intelligibility.”—Cineaste
“Any film fan will appreciate having these seminal articles in one place.”—Metro Newspapers
“Jonathan Rosenbaum is . . . probably the most insightful and fair-minded commentator on Welles matters at present writing.”—The Times
“It takes the fanaticism and skills of a biographer, historian, archivist, and critic—that is, it takes Jonathan Rosenbaum—to encircle a corpus of such legendary girth and to keep up with its peripatetic auteur. The ardor and tenacity with which Welles lived inside a prodigious repertoire of projects, personae, and media have inspired Rosenbaum’s own ardent, tenacious career: that of discovering Orson Welles.”—Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more