Callow, a British actor and author of several books on acting and actors (best known as the man eulogized in _Four Weddings and a Funeral_, and Tilney, Master of the Revels -- "That woman ... is a woman!" -- in "Shakespeare in Love") presents here the first of a projected two-volume bio of the great American actor and director. Most people tend to regard Welles's life from the perspective of "What went wrong after 'Citizen Kane'?" Callow observes, but he tries asking what might have gone wrong BEFORE Kane. He catches Welles out at countless instances of self-mythologizing, yet never gloats or condemns. His descriptions of Welles's stage productions in the 1930s and 1940s make you wish video technology existed then. This is fine research and writing. Let's hope volume 2 doesn't take too long.
This report prepared by David Loftus