Books of 2015, #28: Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind, Josh Karp

There is plenty of interesting information and history here, but in the end I didn’t quite find it compelling—hence (as I alluded to in the last entry) taking five days to read five other books in the middle.

I think part of it is that there is some definite fat that could have been removed—there’s a few anecdotes repeated almost verbatim, and there’s a lot of repeated verbiage that could easily have been cut.

But I’ve ready plenty of books that could have been tightened up without it feeling like quite such a slog.

I think a lot of it is a combination the verging-on-hagiographic tone, where everyone involved clearly and undeniably thinks that Orson is a stone-cold genius who is doing things that have never been conceived of, much less executed, in cinema before. And the constant observations about how his abilities are so incredibly advanced, no one else can see where he’s going with some technique until he gets there and suddenly it is revealed as cimenatic genius that will change the face of cinema once others see it.

Maybe he is—I am not really a cinephile, I don’t have much of an opinion one way or another.

What I can tell you is that he seems like a self-sabotaging fuckup—Someone who doesn’t have the discipline to create the structure he needs in order to do what they want to do; based on some of the things in the book, it sounds like Citizen Kane only got made because of Welles’ partnership with John Houseman, which he then promptly burned to the ground.

And I’ve got little interest in reading about fuckups, brilliant or not.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.