Read Orson Welles, Vol. 3: One-Man Band by Simon Callow Online


The third volume of Simon Callow’s acclaimed Orson Welles biography, covering the period of his exile from America (1947–1964), when he produced some of his greatest works, including Touch of EvilIn One-Man Band, the third volume in his epic and all-inclusive four-volume survey of Orson Welles’s life and work, the celebrated British actor Simon Callow again probes in comprThe third volume of Simon Callow’s acclaimed Orson Welles biography, covering the period of his exile from America (1947–1964), when he produced some of his greatest works, including Touch of EvilIn One-Man Band, the third volume in his epic and all-inclusive four-volume survey of Orson Welles’s life and work, the celebrated British actor Simon Callow again probes in comprehensive and penetrating detail into one of the most complex, contradictory artists of the twentieth century, whose glorious triumphs (and occasional spectacular failures) in film, radio, theater, and television introduced a radical and original approach that opened up new directions in the arts. This volume begins with Welles’s self-exile from America, and his realization that he could function only to his own satisfaction as an independent film maker, a one-man band, in fact, which committed him to a perpetual cycle of money raising. By 1964, he had filmed Othello, which took three years to complete; Mr. Arkadin, the most puzzling film in his output; and a masterpiece in another genre, Touch of Evil, which marked his one return to Hollywood, and like all too many of his films was wrested from his grasp and reedited. Along the way he made inroads into the fledgling medium of television and a number of stage plays, of which his 1955 London Moby-Dick is considered by theater historians to be one of the seminal productions of the century. His private life was as spectacularly complex and dramatic as his professional life. The book reveals what it was like to be around Welles, and, with an intricacy and precision rarely attempted before, what it was like to be him, answering the riddle that has long fascinated film scholars and lovers alike: Whatever happened to Orson Welles?...

Title : Orson Welles, Vol. 3: One-Man Band
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670024919
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Orson Welles, Vol. 3: One-Man Band Reviews

  • D.M.
    2019-06-01 12:49

    Something like 25 years ago, I sat at a bus stop in a university town in central Pennsylvania and read an exciting review about the first volume of what was to be a three-volume biography on Orson Welles, written by respected (if less known) actor and writer Simon Callow. This was at the peak of my infatuation with Welles as a director and actor, and I was eager to read an impartial account of his life. Callow did not disappoint, as that first volume was engaging, objective and exhaustively researched in a way no Welles bio before had been. He interviewed hundreds of friends, co-workers, paramours and peers of Welles (although the great man himself was long dead, so unable to continue to mythologise his life in person), read countless articles and books both published and unpublished, and watched every film available in any way connected to Welles. The first volume covered Welles' life from birth (and a little bit before) up to the release of his first film, Citizen Kane.Over the next 2 and a half decades, Callow has continued to plug away at the series and it has continued to achieve acclaim on all fronts. This third volume has been much-awaited, though regrettably announced as no longer the final part of the series (there's to be one this point). However, Callow makes certain the ride remains a terrific one, even during this period, largely considered the beginning of the end for Welles' career.Though the period covered herein (from Welles' 'self-exile' from America to the release of what Callow considers his other masterpiece, Chimes at Midnight) may not be as noteworthy as the earlier two volumes' periods, Callow makes a strong case for Welles being just as creative, dynamic and inventive as ever. Welles continued to explore the possibilities in a variety of media, attempting new things at every opportunity, but unfortunately also continued to be the same tyrannical user of people he had been thus far. It was beginning to tell on him and his career.This is not an easy time in his life to read about, though there are a handful of successes. It is entirely to Callow's credit that the book never gets difficult to get through or anything less than enchanting. His touch is as light here as it was in Road to Xanadu, and will make readers as anxious for the final volume as I was for the first.I was fortunate enough to have caught Callow giving a speaking engagement to promote this book, and his enthusiasm for Welles, the man and the myth, has clearly remained unhampered since the drama student Callow discovered him. He speaks of Welles as of an old friend, mentor or even lover, and his adoration is utterly infectious both in person and in print. If ever there will be a better biography of such a fascinating, infuriating creative powerhouse, I will certainly want to see it. For now, though, we couldn't ask for better than this.This Jonathon Cape edition features full-colour Welles-drawn endsheets (missing from the American hardcover), two black-and-white photo sections, a prefatory 'Word of Explanation' about the series and how it happened (and why it keeps going), a listing of Welles' performances during this period as well as his stage productions, films and TV output, a section of footnotes (mostly regarding sources), and a bibliography.

  • Craig Pittman
    2019-06-06 18:49

    If you had told me 10 years ago that I would willingly read a four-volume biography of anyone, I would have said no way. If you had told me it was a four-volume bio of Orson Welles, I would have laughed. Yet here I am, having finished the third volume of Simon Callow's amazing and entertaining bio of Welles, and I have to give it the highest rating possible.Callow is himself an actor, musician, writer and director (his best known role is as life-of-the-party Gareth in "Four Weddings and a Funeral") and he's a skilled raconteur with a wealth of great anecdotes about Welles, pulled from every possible source: contemporary news stories, memoirs by actors and production people he worked with, interviews, letters etc. He also offers the insights that only someone in the same business as Welles could provide, pointing out both the brilliance of his direction and sound choices in some movies and the flaws in Welles' own acting technique.The first volume covered Welles' life up to "Citizen Kane," while the second tackled the disaster of "The Magnificent Ambersons" and the lasting innovations of "The Lady from Shanghai." This third one covers two of my all-time favorite Welles movies: "The Third Man," which he performed in but did not direct, and "Touch of Evil," which he adapted, directed and acted in. Oh my Lord, the tales he tells about these movies! Just the details about how much fun he and Charlton Heston had improvising some shots that had never been done before made that part of the book really sing.I especially loved the part where Callow tells us about the radio show that spun off from "The Third Man," featuring the adventures that Welles' character Harry Lime got into before the events of the movie. At one point Welles complained about the hackneyed scripts and so the producer dared him to write better ones. Two weeks later he handed in six scripts which the producer agreed were good enough to air, and paid Welles for his work. But a month later, another man showed up at the producer's door and said he had written six scripts for Welles and never got paid. The producer went to Welles, told him what the man said, then asked what they were going to do about it. To his surprise, Welles said, "I wouldn't pay him. Those scripts weren't very good."I learned a lot about Welles' endeavors in other fields, as well, including his foray into television. The one project he made for Desilu sounds amazing -- a pilot that no network would touch, yet it later won a Peabody award.Welles experienced far more failures than successes, in part because of his own ego and impulsiveness, in part because by this time in his life he was regarded in America as a has-been. Yet he never stopped plugging away, never gave up, always was trying to pull some new rabbit out of his hat. That's a lesson for all of us -- and also, be sure to get paid for whatever you write.I am curious to see what Callow can do with the final volume of his bio, since Welles completed no more movies after the one that forms the climax of this volume, "Chimes at Midnight" (which I had never heard of, and now want to see). This is the Welles I grew up with, the fat guy hawking wine on TV. I had no idea of his genius until I saw "Citizen Kane" and "Touch of Evil," and I am thankful Callow has shown me there was far, far more to this man's story than just that.

  • Brian Willis
    2019-06-10 11:39

    Bravo, Simon Callow.This third volume of the definitive life of Orson Welles covers the most important era for understanding the man, when he was a legend but also underappreciated and underfunded. He makes Othello, Mr. Arkadin, Touch of Evil, and Chimes at Midnight, all of which were trashed upon release (or even in the case of Arkadin, completely re-edited into a different film) but he endures and Callow wonderfully and insightfully gets to the heart of the man here, a child at soul, impetuously giving in to his appetites literally and figuratively, but never ceasing to experiment. It is a tragic irony that Welles's greatest triumph - Chimes at Midnight - was also the time when he descended into caricature in the public eye, and when he finally became a joke for pundits to aim at. These are all films (all four of these masterpieces) that have required posthumous rehabilitation and restoration, and with the release of Chimes at Midnight in August by the Criterion Collection, we will finally have a more complete picture of the auteur that Welles was. It is no coincidence that Callow has done the same in literary form. The closing chapters on Chimes will stand as the definitive account of that film, as will this series on Welles. Essential reading.

  • Lee Parker
    2019-06-07 13:42

    I received a copy of this for free through Goodreads First ReadsDNF: I tried really hard to get into this, as I generally like biography's. I just couldn't. Nothing against the author at all, I just apparently have no real interest in Orson Wells.

  • Xackery Irving
    2019-05-22 12:58

    Not as much fun. Olson becomes an ass.

  • Djj
    2019-06-07 15:42

    Simon Callow brings us the third book in his ongoing biography of Orson Welles covering from about 1948 to 1965, culminating in The Chimes At Midnight, his most personal and arguably most creatively successful film, at least according to Callow (I haven't see it). His story is unreal. One year in this guy's life is like 20 if anyone else's. His output of ideas was prodigious. If you've only ever known Welles as the Citizen Kane/ Paul Masson wine guy, and have any interest in film or theatre, Callow's books are a must. But It's astonishing how Welles, an undisputed genius, commits the same mistakes over and over again, sometimes creating high art, sometimes a mess, but rarely achieving anything like success. Again and again the same things undo him: his insecurities, his appetites, his paradoxical need to be the spotlight and his inability to get over his shyness, and his boredom when whatever he's working on comes together. How he gets screwed over in editing repeatedly is unreal, and often because he just leaves after filming is done. Anyhow it's a fascinating story whether one is familiar with Welles or not. Greatly looking forward to the last and inevitably tragic fourth volume. All three books are highly recommended.

  • Kevin
    2019-05-26 16:58

    Simon Callow's "Orson Welles, Volume 3: One-Man Band" is the penultimate volume in his magnificent epic biography of the Academy Award-winning international filmmaker, covering his prolific years of 1947-1964. During this period, Welles directed five films (Touch of Evil, Othello, Mr. Arkadin, The Trial and Chimes at Midnight), wrote, helmed or starred in seven stage productions (which included directing Laurence Olivier in the acrimonious production of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros) and acted in more than three dozen films (including The Third Man, Moby Dick, King Lear, The Long, Hot Summer, Compulsion and The V.I.P.s). He also married his third wife, fathered his third daughter and burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood. Actor, director and biographer Callow (Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor) writes with energy, fluidity and the astute knowledge of an industry insider and historian. While Callow has great admiration for the filmmaker, he is not blind to Welles's excesses, ego, volcanic rages and his constant need for new stimulation that often left projects abandoned in the hands of others--whom he would later rail against for destroying his work. As Eartha Kitt observed, "If one was not quick enough, Orson lost patience."Three volumes in, Welles (1915-1985) continues to be a ceaselessly fascinating subject--an artist with unbridled enthusiasm and creativity for his projects, who could not abide any form of constraint or interference. Callow's insightful, analytical and entertaining biography captures the magic and mania of Orson Welles and his work. Simon Callow's third volume in his epic Orson Welles biography is epic, fascinating and entertaining.

  • Michael Samerdyke
    2019-06-16 13:05

    I got annoyed with the first volume of Callow's biography of Welles. I loved the second volume, and this third volume is equally terrific.We see Welles' struggles here with foes both exterior and interior. The exterior ones are pretty familiar. The interior ones are more surprising, particularly a deep-seated insecurity about acting. (Perhaps Callow overstates this. I would disagree with his judgment on Welles' as Hank Quinlan.) There is also a terrible temper that lashes out at subordinates, and a compulsion to needle those in authority. (I came away from the discussion of "Touch of Evil" with more sympathy for Eddie Muhl than I thought possible.)One thing that Callow brought up that I hadn't considered with Welles is how time was working against him during his exile years. Welles became "old-fashioned" during this 1947-67 era. He was not, and couldn't be an "angry young man" when that broke out, and he detested "the Method" as well. In these years, he was out-of-date and not yet classic.Callow's assessment of Welles' film is spot on. I found myself utterly in agreement with him on "Othello," that after the brilliant opening scene, the movie goes nowhere. His judgments on "Mr. Arkadin" and "The Trial" seem quite fair as well. I haven't seen the movie, but his words about "Chimes at Midnight" brought me to the edge of tears.I find myself awaiting the fourth volume.

  • Robert
    2019-06-01 19:04

    The third but not quite final volume of Callow's epic biography, One-Man Band covers a period of roughly fifteen years in Welles' life, from long struggles to film "Othello" to his completion of the film he often cited as his best, "Chimes at Midnight". In between, there were ambitious theatrical productions - "Moby-Dick", "Rhinoceros" and a version of "King Lear" in which Welles played the title role from a wheelchair - and a great deal of struggling to survive by his wits. No one is better than Callow at describing or understanding Welles' working methods, whether he's staging a play, testing the new medium of television, editing a film or simply using his skills to attract another financier. Callow leaves Welles at a precarious place at the end, having just completed one of his greatest and most personal works, yet aware that it will barely be seen and that he will remain a kind of exile in the film world. I eagerly await Callow's account of Welles'final two decades.

  • Tom
    2019-05-27 11:49

    Very informative, very entertaining, a good solid read about the period in Welles' life between 1947 and 1965. There are some lively accounts of the creation of two of Welles' greatest films: TOUCH OF EVIL and the sublime CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT. Well worth reading.One caveat -- this has got to be the worst copy-edited book I've every gotten from a major publisher. Typos abound, sentences are clearly missing words, and there's some real sloppiness in the writing that I'd expect to have been tidied up: the words "vintage Welles" "quintessential Welles" and "quintessentially Wellesian" are all allowed to appear in the same paragraph, and couple of sentences about TOUCH OF EVIL being "one for posterity" is repeated word for word seven pages later. Maybe the paperback edition will be tidied up?

  • John
    2019-06-07 14:39

    There has never been a better time to read this book, its release coinciding with the pristine remaster/release (practically the first ever in the US) of Welles' late masterpiece, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT from Criterion Collection. The experience of reading these books has been so rich, with the easy availability of so much of his work, often from the phone in the palm of my hand. (Of course, I feel like I need to assure the ghost of Orson that I didn't watch any of his films on my phone.) Simon Callow is so insightful about Welles' work, not to mention he has crafted a really fun read. Now if only THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND could be released, along with Callow's upcoming 4th volume. Here I stand, waiting for the last volume of OW's story, along with Robert Caro's LBJ biography. Grateful.

  • Greg Guma
    2019-06-09 14:48

    This is Orson Welles in all his complexity, from filming his landmark Othello and MacBeth through his European exile, the making of Touch of Evil, The Trial and Chimes at Midnight, and struggles as an actor, director and celebrity. Resuming his multi-volume bio after the Hollywood years, Simon Callow is honest enough to show the flaws (and there were many), but never loses sight of Welles' originality and genius. Must-read film history.

  • John Bleasdale
    2019-06-16 13:41

    Yeah it was good. Orson Welles is a fascinating character and Simon Callow is sympathetic but also gets his failings. The carelessness when it comes to his own performances was a particular revelation and his insecurity. I loved the story of him telling Kenneth Williams to get off the stage during a performance of Moby Dick (Welles was Ahab). Williams asked why afterwards and Welles told him 'You were boring me'.

  • Will
    2019-06-15 10:38

    Fills in a detailed picture of a larger-than-life personality: ambition, compulsion, frustrated genius. What was surprising to me was how fragile he could be, insecure, and how small he could be as a result. Who would have thought that someone with his reputation and who physically towered and audibly thundered would feel the need to be a bully?

  • Tammy
    2019-06-04 14:02

    I won this book on Good reads. Did not know a lot about Orson Welles. Did not read the first two books in the series. But after reading this one very anxious to read them. What an interesting human being. I love all books, but biographies are the surprisingly most interesting. A must read.

  • Pang
    2019-06-01 10:51

    NYT's 100 Notable Books of 2016

  • David Stewart
    2019-06-16 16:52

    Energetic, witty treatment of a fascinating figure. Lots of details, which often are terrific, sometimes can be skimmed.