Orson Welles: An Object of Fun

DISCARD ORSON WELLES reads my copy of Joseph McBride's Orson Welles. It's an ex-library copy, and the librarian, in her zeal to decommission the book, stamped a red DISCARD no fewer than five times. On a photo of a stern Welles DISCARD bleeds through in reverse onto his forehead.

I laughed when I first saw that. It seemed to perfectly represent the public's — and many critics' — reception of Welles's career, which often vacillated between indifference and hostility. Despite making Citizen Kane, Welles, for reasons too numerous to list here, earned a variety of unfavorable reputations, many of them unjust: an over budget spendthrift, the world's youngest has-been, a tyrant, [...]