Despite The System: Orson Welles Versus The Hollywood Studios (Cappella Books) (英語) ハードカバー – 2005/2/28
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The facts behind Orson Welles's Hollywood career are revealed in this historical investigation of the enemies that hounded him, his faith in his audience, and the uncompromising brilliance and artistry of his films. $25,000 ad/promo.
That said, I will concede that this book is, naturally, highly readable. But bear in mind, it would be hard to imagine a book about any aspect of a life like Welles' being anything but readable. Having read Leaming's friendly biography and the Bogdanovich interview book (This is Orson Welles), however, I have to say everything here feels more than merely familiar, like something I (as a reader of books on this topic) have known for years now.
It begins to look as if a resifting through the same plate of sand is all we are going to get from further books about Welles, barring some sort of major uncovering of tapes, films or personal papers. And that doesn't appear likely at this point.
The usual explanation for this focusses on Welles' own character flaws. He was self-indulgent, this explanation says, irascible, unable to bring a film in on budget, constantly trying gimmicky scenarios that didn't have a chance of working or of garnering an audience. Welles supposedly left us a clue to his own personality in "Citizen Kane": the self-obsessed loser who finishes his days alone due to his own inability to relate to others.
Clinton Heylin thinks otherwise. He believes Welles could have accomplished a string of cinematic miracles, perhaps as great as "Kane," had the Hollywood studio system just given him the chance. Heylin has done his homework. He carefully reconstructs what happened to each of Welles' films within the studio system, beginning with "The Magnificent Ambersons" and continuing to "Touch of Evil." It is a fascinating look at what went wrong, and why.
The book has its faults. It is written with breathless prose at times, and you won't find much objectivity about Welles within its pages. Occasionally, the author seems so full of adulation for Welles that he refuses to see his faults. The book accepts Welles' own praise for his relatively untampered-with version of Kafka's "The Trial," for example, which I found (on a first viewing, at least) to be hilariously self-indulgent. (Anthony Perkins and Orson Welles turned out to be a very bad combination, in my opinion, though I know there are people who adore this film.)
Overall, this book makes a valuable contribution to understanding Welles and his struggles with the studio system during the years 1942 through 1958.