• Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu

  • By: Simon Callow
  • Narrated by: Simon Callow
  • Length: 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Insightful, incisive and enlightening, the first volume of Simon Callow's comprehensive biography of Orson Welles.

Now in abridged audio, Callow's vastly entertaining chronicle of Welles's first 26 years seems even finer than it did in 1995. The author's ability to skewer his subject's evasions and lies while retaining critical affection for him is perhaps explained by the fact that Callow, an actor himself, understands the need to mythologise. Welles's innovative theatrical work in the 1930s has never been better described or analysed.

©1995 Simon Callow (P)1995 HarperCollins Publishers

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Profile Image for Liz... Bristol
  • Liz... Bristol
  • 06-08-20

Citizen Welles?

This is an excellent biography of the late, great Orson Welles. Simon Callow has written (and performed) a very listenable and interesting book on the Boy Genius years of Welles. My greatest criticism of it is that it’s abridged. Why we can’t have a complete version, I have no idea. We certainly need one. What is here are all the well-known stories and facts about Welles and his life and career in theatre, radio and film up to, and including, Citizen Kane. I now want to know what happened next. Does Audible have the next book? I don’t think so. Why not? Who knows. They should have. As well as the unabridged version of this first volume, which I would happily buy and listen to again (as it were).
Simon Callow is a wonderful raconteur, and one worthy of the greatest, Welles himself. He draws you in, even if you know the facts, and I was never bored as he makes them sound as though you’ve never heard them before. I could listen to him all day.
If you have any interest in Welles, or in early theatre, radio or film, this is worth listening to. Callow doesn’t make him out to be perfect, on the contrary, he happily displays Welles’s shortcomings, his bluster, his self-aggrandising claims, his fallings-out with others (particularly John Houseman), and his inability to turn his creative abilities into profit at the box office.
This is an all around excellent listen, only spoilt by its abridged nature. Come on, Audible, abridgement is not what we expect you to do!

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