At twenty-five, Orson Welles (1915-1985) directed, co-wrote, and starred in ""Citizen Kane"", widely considered the best film ever made. But Welles was such a revolutionary filmmaker that he found himself at odds with the Hollywood studio system. His work was so far ahead of its time that he never regained the wide popular following he had once enjoyed as a young actor-director on the radio. Frustrated by Hollywood and having fallen victim to the postwar blacklist, Welles departed for a long period of self-exile in Europe. But he kept making films, functioning with the creative freedom of an independent filmmaker before that term became common and eventually preserving his independence by funding virtually all his own projects. Because he worked defiantly outside the system, Welles has often been maligned as an errant genius who squandered his early promise. Film critic Joseph McBride, who acted in Welles' legendary unfinished film ""The Other Side of the Wind"", provocatively challenges conventional wisdom about Welles' supposed creative decline. McBride is the first author to provide a comprehensive examination of the films of Welles' artistically rich yet little-known later period. During the 1970s and '80s, Welles was breaking new aesthetic ground, experimenting as adventurously as he had throughout his career. McBride's friendship and collaboration with Welles and his interviews with those who knew and worked with the director make ""What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?"" a portrait of rare intimacy and insight. Reassessing Welles' final period in the context of his entire life and work, McBride's revealing portrait of this great film artist will change the terms of how Orson Welles is understood today.
Joseph McBride is an internationally known film critic and historian. His fifteen books include biographies of Steven Spielberg, John Ford, and Frank Capra and two previous studies of Orson Welles. He lives in Berkeley, California.