Published in January 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The third (and penultimate) part of Simon Callow’s mighty embrace of Welles’s life and work covers the period 1947-65, when the great sorcerer was in Europe. This includes his playing Harry Lime in Carol Reed’s The Third Man as well as his own Othello, A Touch of Evil, The Trial and Chimes at Midnight. In the theatre there was King Lear, Moby-Dick and Eugene Ionesco. And television, radio, essays, even ballet—all manner of projects conceived with invention and verve yet rarely realised with their initial focus.
Callow’s brilliance is to convey not only Welles’s style but the substance of his method. Along with collaborators’ recollections and observations of critics from Kenneth Tynan to Pauline Kael, his own insights are shrewd and detailed. The radical staging of Moby-Dick, for example, was both illuminated and plagued by Welles’s sudden inspirations.