“Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios” by Clinton Heylin: Orson Welles earned a place in Hollywood history as the flawed genius who created the most critically acclaimed movie of all time, “Citizen Kane,” then couldn’t live up to his own legend for the rest of his career.
Heylin aims to counter critics such as Pauline Kael and Simon Callow, who blame Welles for his unfulfilled potential. Heylin sees Welles as an innovative artist for whom “Citizen Kane” would have been just the beginning, if only the studio suits had supported him.
Heylin is right to rage against those who stymied his hero, but he resists a simple truth: Welles played a leading role in his failure to bring most of his artistic visions to the big screen.
Rating: Wait for the movie. Reviewed by Michael Jacobs (originally appeared in USA TODAY)