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Thunder in the Mountains

J. Hoberman: Orson Welles, 6 September 2007

Orson Welles: Hello Americans 
by Simon Callow.
Vintage, 507 pp., £8.99, May 2007, 978 0 09 946261 3
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What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career 
by Joseph McBride.
Kentucky, 344 pp., $29.95, October 2006, 0 8131 2410 7
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... in so many different ways. In his biographical memoir, What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?, Joseph McBride depicts Welles as a multimedia dynamo who worked in ‘radio, theatre, vaudeville, television, recordings, magic, oratory and journalism’. More than that, he was the first American artist to take ‘the media’ as his medium. (In ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... failure. On the strength of that one film I would love to read a thorough life of Ford (such as Joseph McBride managed for Frank Capra, that other fragile hero). The reasons Ford ‘has such defenders’ are amply supplied in the book McBride has now written about him, which shows how we might do better not to ...

Magnifico

David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... the actual life of Welles or its salient circumstances: his collaborations with John Houseman and Joseph Cotten and Michéal Mac Liammóir; his affairs with Dolores Del Rio and Lena Horne, and his marriage to Rita Hayworth; complicated relationships, usually rounded up to some sort of friendship, with the great producers of the day who used him as they liked ...

Ça va un peu

Adam Shatz: Congo, 23 October 2014

Congo: The Epic History of a People 
by David Van Reybrouck.
Fourth Estate, 656 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 0 00 756290 9
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... the tribalism that the Belgians had done their best to foment. His closest ally was his secretary, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, a former Force Publique soldier. Van Reybrouck imagines the two of them on a scooter in January 1959 just after Lumumba’s return from a meeting with Nkrumah in Accra: ‘They ride together in the muggy afternoon air … Two years ...

Living with Monsters

Ferdinand Mount: PMs v. the Media, 22 April 2010

Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v. the Media 
by Lance Price.
Simon & Schuster, 498 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84737 253 6
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... crisis he used threats and lies to coerce the press into co-operation. His fixer, the sinister Joseph Ball, had the telephones of the anti-appeasement MPs tapped. When Eden resigned as foreign secretary in February 1938, Ball put it about that the real reason was that he was exhausted and could no longer cope with the job. Chamberlain founded the ...

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