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All this comes to a head in the late-period masterpiece “F for Fake,” a study of hoaxes that itself turns out to be a hoax.
Welles causes endless trouble because of his unstable place in the American cultural hierarchy of high and low.
Absolute confirmation is lacking, but the chronologies line up.
Despite acres of commentary, much about him remains relatively unexplored: his identification with African-Americans, his investigation of sexual ambiguities.
In a strange way, he is still active, still working; if, as is hoped, a completed version of “The Other Side of the Wind” soon emerges, he may confound us once again.
The familiar part of the Welles saga, his rapid rise to the pinnacle of “Kane,” has been told many times, most stylishly in Simon Callow’s 1995 book, “Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu”—the first of three biographical volumes to date, with a fourth to follow.
But Patrick Mc Gilligan’s “Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to ‘Citizen Kane’ ” (Harper Collins), the product of years of meticulous research, may be the definitive account.