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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
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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During Orson Welles' tumultuous honeymoon in Hollywood 1939-1942, Thomson writes, he achieved "glory, but ruined himself; the one was not possible without the other." In this sweeping tribute to the man said to have "more genius than talent," Thomson chronicles the events that transformed Welles from Hollywood's bad boy into one of the most influential and enduring filmmakers. The accounts of Welles' intellect only serve to contrast with the self-destructiveness of his post-Kane years, and Thomson's analysis shows that Citizen Kane loomed over the actor-film maker, not just as an achievement he could never equal, "but as an underground presaging of his own destiny."From the Publisher:
"There have been other biographies of Orson Welles--even other very good ones--but nothing to match the flair and imaginative sympathy of Rosebud. David Thomson raises biography to an art form. The book has a pulsing, wonderfully inventive narrative; characterizations worthy of a novel; and insights to stop and muse over--not to mention everything you ever wanted to know about Orson Welles. This is a work of sustained inspiration, a terrific performance by our most original and provocative film historian."
-- Stephen Schiff
"Definitive and unique. It is impossible to believe that anyone will ever again probe with such patience, eloquence and insight into the life and work of this fascinating monster."
-- Alistair Cooke
"There really is nobody writing about film with the bravura wit and pyrotechnic exhilaration of David Thomson. He is quite simply our smartest, hippest film critic. With boundless civility and grace, Thomson chips away at the scorpion sting of Welles's own nature to reveal the rosebud itself; all duality and thorny contradiction. Falstaff and Macbeth and salesman of vin ordinaire, as comfortable with Winston Churchill as he was working the groundlings in Vegas. In other words -- a man of the twentieth century. By the end, what emerges is not just Thomson's Orson, but a much broader picture of the hard black rules of mercantile Hollywood, where certain kinds of hunger are considered unforgivable."
-- Jon Robin Baitz
"Rosebud is the biography Orson Welles has always deserved. Mad, sad, skeptical, admiring, romantic, realistic, it is as contradictory, as troubling, as hypnotically stylish as the man himself. And it applies to this life the one quality that was not brought to its living -- critical acuity."
-- Richard Schickel
"Orson Welles is film history's most fascinating larger-than-life figure and, in David Thomson, he has at last found a biographer to equal the spell he continues to cast. Thomson is an expert: an expert storyteller, critic, thinker, investigator and observer of the all-too-human landscape. Rosebud is as wickedly funny as it is eloquent and perceptive, and is enriched by two gifts Welles would have envied -- common sense and a stern, but forgiving heart."
-- Steven Bach
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Book Description Little, Brown and Co. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0316914371 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1918985
Book Description Little, Brown and Co., 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0316914371