The reason for the decline of Orson Welles's career is a hotly debated issue, but decline it certainly did. When Citizen Kane, his first film, opened in 1941, Welles was universally acclaimed as the most audacious filmmaker alive. But instead of marking the beginning of a triumphant career in Hollywood, the film still regularly voted the greatest ever made proved to be an exception in Welles's life and work.
In 1947 Welles left America for Europe and lived for the best part of twenty years in self-imposed exile. Welles himself famously quipped 'I started at the top and worked my way down' - the second volume of Simon Callow's compelling biography tells the story of that complex and protracted descent from grace.
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Simon Callow is to be commended for Hello Americans, as it is not only the best biography of Welles that we can possibly have, it is also one of the best biographies in any field I've read in years - Roger Lewis
The research is breathtaking. The book is bursting with details, references and anecdotes - The Times
Hello Americans is full of witty asides...As a biographer, Callow is a match for his subject in terms of showmanship, but he has gifts of analysis that eluded Welles... enchanting - Sunday Times
There is here some of the most vivid and instructive writing on the craft of movie and stage acting I've ever read - Observer
This is a bitter-sweet book: we say goodbye to the very best of company but we also look forward to Callow bringing that company back to life in his third volume - Independent on Sunday
Callow's precise prose and sober judgement make this second volume of biography one to be cherished and leaves one eagerly anticipating volume three - Daily Mail
Callow's riveting and superlative biography satisfies at every level, and I for one cannot wait for the next volume - Literary Review
A vivid, sympathetic account... provides a definitive explanation of Welles's ultimate, lingering downfall - Financial Times
I am already looking forward to [the third volume] such is Callow's sympathetic absorption in the mass of material, which he handles with a light and ironic touch, that I found myself utterly hooked... As an actor himself Callow writes illuminatingly about Welles's performances - Mail on Sunday
Callow's enterprise is one of the rarest in publishing. It leaves the reader dry-mouthed with anticipation for his final, third volume - Guardian
The only biog really worth it's salt this year...reliably entertaining, wise and sane - Evening Standard
Welles’s packed schedule is rifled through with chatty elegance - Sunday Telegraph
Simon Callow is an actor, director and writer. He has appeared on the stage and in many films, including the hugely popular Four Weddings and a Funeral. His books include Being an Actor, Shooting the Actor, Love is Where it Falls, the first two volumes of his three-volume life of Orson Welles, his theatrical memoir My Life in Pieces, and, most recently, the highly acclaimed Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World.