• Orson Welles

  • A Biography
  • By: Barbara Leaming
  • Narrated by: Grace Conlin
  • Length: 22 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-02-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (73 ratings)

Regular price: $31.47

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Publisher's Summary

Genius, artist, monstre sacré, Orson Welles had one of the most brilliant and tempestuous careers in show business. Here he confides his most intimate feelings and recollections of his extraordinary life. With remarkable detail and intimacy, Barbara Leaming reveals the private Welles: from child prodigy and young lion in Dublin and New York, to the succès de scandale of his The War of the Worlds broadcast; from his auspicious directing debut with the legendary Citizen Kane in his 20s, to the sabotage of his further directing career by the Hollywood studios; from his affairs, carousing, and stormy marriage to Rita Hayworth, to his association with Roosevelt and aspirations to the presidency.
It is a picture with an all-star cast, including Olivier, Monroe, Dietrich, Garbo, Warren Beatty, Charlie Chaplin, Princess Margaret, and Prince Aly Khan.
©1985 Barbara Leaming (P)1996 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"[A] beautifully researched, valuable study of one of America's most influential and mysterious artists....[What] makes this book remarkable is Welles's own contribution. His comments, opinions, interviews cut in and out of the narrative with an almost cinematic force." (Patricia Bosworth)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Karen on 03-21-11

Great book; average narration

I had read this book several years ago in print--and enjoyed it very much--so was happy to see an audio version available. It's still a great book, but I grew increasingly frustrated with the reader, who had an annoying habit of occasionally emphasizing (to me) the wrong words in sentences--or using an "arch" tone when one wasn't (again, to me) really called for. I found myself editing her narration in my mind, or frequently wondered what the great director himself might have thought of her reading! So, while it's not terrible, a different narrator--say, Edward Herrmann--might have brought this material to life in a way that Ms. Conlin doesn't.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A on 09-12-10

A Mesmerizing Tale read by a wonderful narrator

A wonderfully told tale by author Barbara Leaming, made all the more enjoyable by narrator Grace Conlin's patiently nuanced reading. It's easy to lose the thread of a story when the world is the stage - as it certainly was for Welles - and the players so numerous and varied, but Ms. Conlin's pacing and delivery keeps the detailed action compelling throughout the long and winding journey of Welles' extraordinary life

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By darren on 07-12-15

Very Interesting

Any additional comments?

Both informative and interesting. Although long it never felt that way. I must say after finishing, Orson did seem to waste his immense talent.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By dosty on 10-10-16


Seemed too biased, like the author was too friendly with Welles. Justifications are provided for all Welles' negative traits and actions. Didn't feel balanced. And while some of the material might have been topical back in 1983, it's not now. Still, some interesting background to the production of his films.

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