Orson Welles

Six Films Analyzed, Scene by Scene


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About the Book

Orson Welles, a self-conscious storyteller who often invited his audience to question the methods and veracity of what they see and hear. He was that rare magician who both pulled the wool over our eyes, for our delight, and unravelled the wool before our eyes, encouraging us to ponder the nature of the magic itself. Many of the characters in Welles’s movies can also be seen as magicians of a sort, creating impressions intended to manipulate other characters, or even themselves, in one direction or another. But unlike Welles, few of them voluntarily expose their tricks to the scrutiny of their victims.
Six major Welles films—Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, The Trial, and Chimes at Midnight—receive a scene by scene analysis in this critical study. From a viewer’s perspective it illuminates the dramatic rhythms of each film as they unfold on screen and from the soundtrack. Frequent analogies to other movies and pertinent quotations from the impressions of other commentators broaden the text, but always within the scene by scene progression dictated by the film under discussion.

About the Author(s)

Randy Rasmussen is a library associate at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

Bibliographic Details

Randy Rasmussen
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2603-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8235-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      vii

Introduction: Fun House Mirrors      1

1. Citizen Kane: Man through a Prism      5

2. The Magnificent Ambersons: A House Divided      61

3. The Lady from Shanghai: Lethal Habits      104

4. Touch of Evil: No Man’s Land      136

5. The Trial: Waking into Nightmare      179

6. Chimes at Midnight: Rough Winds      217

Selected Bibliography      265

Index      267