Orson Welles: A Life in Movies

Peter Conrad, author of The Hitchcock Murders , now turns his eye to the mercurial life and work of the enigmatic maestro who made Citizen Kane , remembered to this day as the greatest of all motion pictures. In death, Orson Welles remains a legendary, outsized, and ambiguous figure. Conrad's study is a critical biography of Welles, viewing the man through the optic of his sprawling and yet utterly singular body of work. This is not a debunking of the well-aired Welles-as-Genius myth so much as an attempt to identify and examine the wellsprings of his polymorphous gifts. At times (and fittingly, given his well-known fondness for magic) Orson Welles seemed to be capable of anything; and yet finally he achieved only a fraction of what he had hoped to. Peter Conrad goes in search of the man through expert examination of the many and varied personae that Welles adopted - from Faust to Falstaff , The Shadow to Harry Lime - in a life lived at large across stage, screen, and airwaves.