Rosebud is a riveting and powerful portrait of the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's greatest innovators - the man who brought us Citizen Kane and then lost himself to obesity, small talk and conjuring tricks on daytime television. With humour, pace and the twists of a mystery story, acclaimed film critic and writer David Thomson probes the ...
Rosebud is a riveting and powerful portrait of the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's greatest innovators - the man who brought us Citizen Kane and then lost himself to obesity, small talk and conjuring tricks on daytime television. With humour, pace and the twists of a mystery story, acclaimed film critic and writer David Thomson probes the essential questions surrounding Welles, exploring the ferocious energy and demonic intellect behind the boy genius. Challenging, idiosyncratic, compelling: Rosebud understands Welles as no other study has, and in a way that leaves the reader breathless, amused and deeply moved by the wonder that was once Orson.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-09-29 Prowling the darkened theaters and sun-scorched highways, gilded estates, sets and backdrops of Tinseltown, Esquire film columnist Thomson delivers an offbeat and often trenchant spin on the culture of Hollywood. This collection of essays and fictional riffs written over the last 20 years, mostly for such magazines as Film Comment and Movieline, depicts Hollywood as a ghost townŠa place of artifice and illusion, haunted by dead movie stars, glamorized violence and sleepwalking executives: "They know the art and business are dead, as dead as Norman's mother," Thomson writes in his freewheeling opening essay, "20 Things People Like to Forget About Hollywood." The title piece is a bittersweet hymn to Mullholland Drive, the highway cresting the Santa Monica Mountains and named after William Mullholland, the L.A. water department robber baron who inspired the screenplay of Chinatown. Other essays map out the terrain below: an abortive interview with a coked-up film diva; the diary of a hapless Japanese executive who watches his company, Sony, lose billions at the hands of producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber. A font of film lore and trivia, Thomson inflects his essays with details of his personal life, as well as with his sometimes tendentious opinions. Whether he's channeling the voice of Cary Grant or musing about the death of a friend, the breakup of his own marriage or the business of filmmaking and celebrity culture, Thomson remains a captivating critic of the dream factoryŠand an unabashed fan. (Oct.) FYI: In October, Vintage will reissue Thomson's Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles, a biography that PW called: "A vast, almost novelistic examination of the showman's rich and ultimately deep and frustrating life." ($15, 480p ISBN 0-679-77283-9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1996-04-22 Welles is certainly enjoying a boom; soon after the first volume of Simon Callow's Orson Welles (Forecasts, Nov. 20, 1995) comes this study by the author of The Life of David O. Selznick and A Biographical Dictionary of Film. Thomson does not pretend to have done vast scholarship or delved extensively into original sources. As a boy in England, he says, he fell under Welles's spell, and his book is a sort of vast, almost novelistic examination of the showman's rich and ultimately deeply frustrating life; it is an attempt to come to terms with the fascination Welles continues to exert, although it is generally agreed that his last 40 years were an anticlimax. Determined to be compulsively readable, Thomson indulges in highly tendentious asides, interrupts himself with questions he imagines his publisher asking and works in chunks of scenes from Welles's movies and snippets from the interviews the star tirelessly gave all his life. The result is a vivid patchwork, a swift, impressionistic take on Welles that is also an often moving tribute to his oblique mix of genius and charlatanism. Not by any means the only book on Welles to read, but a stimulating and diverting one, with some unusual judgments: that his Macbeth, for instance, is better than his Othello, and that the late F for Fake is a neglected masterwork. Illustrated. 50,000 first printing. (June)
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