Phaidon Press presents ORSON WELLES AT WORK, a lavish visual look at Welles career in the cinema
Orson Welles at Work is a stunning new collection of rare and beautiful images from the films of Orson Welles, as collected by co-authors Jean-Pierre Berthome and Francois Thomas. To put it simply, this is the Welles book I've been hoping to see for quite some time. It's certainly a must have volume for anyone interested in the cinema of Orson Welles.
Despite the misgivings the authors Francois and Jean-Pierre have detailed in their letter to Tony, posted below, I do not quite agree with their assessment. The Phaidon Press, as they have done in their previous stand-out volumes, Magnum Cinema and Bill Krohn's Hitchcock at Work, deliver us another sumptuous visual treat. So for all true Welles aficionados, I think you'll easily find this to be the best visual compilation of Welles work that has yet to see print.
Contained within it's 320 large size pages are nearly 400 black and white illustrations and 40 eye-popping color frame enlargement and stills. Given the vast number of books on Welles that have already appeared, I would have expected that about half of these stills might be retreads of what has already been widely seen, but to my great surprise, we are given a huge wealth of images and studio documents I've never seen before! What is more, they are all so beautifully reproduced (many in full page format), that even if you have seen them elsewhere, it's quite unlikely you've ever seen them in such rich detail.
I'd estimate I had only seen about one-quarter of the images before this, and I'd certainly never seen most of them in anywhere near this kind of high quality resolution.
I had hoped to talk to Francois and Jean-Pierre in more detail about putting the book together, but sadly they have boycotted their own work, because of the way their intentions were totally ignored by the original French publisher.
In the meantime, I've only had a chance to glance at the text of the book, so here is the table of contents, along with the introduction, to give you some idea of the treats that are in store for you, should you decide to purchase the book.
ORSON WELLES AT WORK - Table of Contents
First Steps in Theatre and Radio
Citizen Kane (Mercury-RKO) 1941
Three Films on Two Continents
The Magnificent Ambersons (Mercury-RKO) 1942
Journey Into Fear (Mercury-RKO) 1943
It's All True (RKO) 1943
The Struggle to Remain a producer
The Stranger (International-RKO) 1945
The Lady from Shanghai (Columbia) 1947
Macbeth (Mercury-Republic) 1948
The First European Period
Othello (Mercury-UA) 1952
Mr. Arkadin (WB) 1955
Discovering Television (The Fountain of Youth)
Touch of Evil (Universal-International) 1958
Don Quixote (Welles Enterprises) Unreleased
The Second European Period
The Trial (Astor Pictures) 1962
Falstaff (Peppercorn-Wormser) 1966
The Immortal Story (Albina Films) 1968
The Heroine, The Deep & Orson's Bag
The Last Years
Rough Sketches & Last Unfinished Works (The Other Side of the Wind )
F for Fake & Filming Othello
There was no single Welles method, only Welles methods - almost as many as the films he made. His gargantuan appetite for work, willingness to experiment and ability to adapt to any set of circumstances never flagged.
The particular task of the present book is to examine the stages of Welles's development as a filmmaker, and particularly the ways in which they were disrupted, for his films were not made according to a logical and regular pattern but were often the product of chance or unforeseen circumstances.
ORSON WELLES AT WORK
An in-depth, behind-the-camera survey of the entire career of the genius of Orson Welles
By Jean-Pierre Berthomé & François Thomas
9 x 11 in
40 color illustrations
393 black and white illustrations
You can see some additional images from the book at the Phaidon webpage here:
Orson Welles at Work provides a fresh and insightful view of the director and his work. The book examines the entirety of Welles's career, from his theatrical beginnings to his very last years, and offers analysis of all his creative works, including the feature films, short films, unfinished works and his programs for television.
There is discussion of each of Welles's films, including the celebrated Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) and Touch of Evil (1958), supported by over 400 illustrations including scripts, contracts, sketches, storyboards, models, production reports, memos, letters and correspondence uncovered by new research in European and American archives.
Orson Welles is one of the legendary film directors whose persona has been created through a myriad of myths and legends. Enfant terrible of American cinema, his groundbreaking entry into Hollywood with Citizen Kane propelled him to fame as a young prodigy and unfailing genius. Many studies to date have focused on this aspect of Welles, highlighting his clashes with film studios to paint a turbulent picture of an artist repressed by his producers. In this book, however, by returning to the original works and analyzing the primary sources, the authors strip back the myths and rumors (many of which were created and fanned by Welles himself) to draw a realistic portrait of this most remarkable filmmaker at work. All of his works are discussed, with in depth analysis on key works and projects.
About the authors
Jean-Pierre Berthomé is professor in Film Studies at the University of Rennes. His other publications include studies on the directors Jacques Demy and Max Ophüls, and the history of set design. Berthomé is a regular contributor to the French film journal Positif and, together with François Thomas, he has published numerous articles about Welles and his works, including a book on Citizen Kane in 1992.
François Thomas is professor in Film Studies at the University of Paris. Another regular contributor to Positif, Thomas has also written on the work of Alain Resnais and co-edited an anthology on the golden age of the French short film.