His fame and success came early and hard, and his fall from those heights was long and slow. He spent decades in apparent decline, struggling to create art according to his personal vision while becoming ever more of a parody of himself in the public eye. And yet we’re still talking about him. In a year that marks the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 30th anniversary of his death, Orson Welles remains as relevant as ever.
Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind by Josh Karp
Starting in the mid-1970s and continuing until his death in 1985, Welles was cobbling together a script, a cast, a crew, and equipment for what he hoped would be a landmark film ...
Orson Welles: Power, Heart, and Soul by F.X. Feeney
Welles lived many lives in his 70 years on earth, and accomplished enough to fill dozens of biographies. Too many of them have focused on what he didn’t do, like shoot more money-making studio movies. Feeney’s isn’t one of those, fortunately. He covers Welles’s eccentric upbringing, one that featured multiple father figures but no mother, and surveys all the lesser-known aspects of his public career ...
Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News by A. Brad Schwartz
If he’d never gone to Hollywood at all, Welles would still be famous for his radio broadcast on October 30th, 1938, in which he led his Mercury Theater troupe in a version of the alien invasion from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds. He updated the references, reset the action in New Jersey, and played it as a real-time experience that uncannily mimicked real-life reportage of actual disasters. A trusting national audience of tens of millions, already made nervous by the impending world war in Europe, was sent into panic, fleeing their homes, crashing their cars, and causing uncountable damage. Or did they? ... continued