Academic journal article Afterimage

At the End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City

Academic journal article Afterimage

At the End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City

Article excerpt

At the End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City

By Matthew Asprey Gear/Wallflower Press/2016/292 pp./$90.00 (hb), $30.00 (sb)

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"Why yet another Orson Welles monograph?," one might ask. The relevance of any work is in the eye of the beholder. If one beholds Welles's oeuvre as one of the most multifaceted sets of modern artistic expressions, then surely one will find this newest book an enjoyable and stimulating read. Published earlier this year, Matthew Asprey Gear's At the End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City has much to offer anyone interested in the numerous projects brought into being by Welles, though little of it breaks new ground in terms of critical theory or reevaluation of Welles's influence. How can a single book that so clearly reveres its subject reevaluate Welles's position in the pantheon-- especially without resorting to hyperbole? Nonetheless, Gear's latest treatment in a relatively long line of five decades of scholarly treatments presents a thesis that is at once accessible and (in today's geopolitical climate) topical: Welles's films show the city as the prototypical site of internationalism.

Gear, a writer and professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, elaborates on this thesis with his first full-length nonfiction book. All dozen or so of Welles's commercially released films (from Citizen Kane in 1941 to F for Fake in 1973) are recruited, but one of the strengths (and potential weaknesses) of this book is the supremacy of the films over polemics. …

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