Books: Getting to The False Bottom

CITIZEN WELLES by Frank Brady; Scribner's; 655 pages; $24.95

The late Orson Welles was, in the nostalgic phrase, a star of stage, screen and radio. He was also one of those grand, self-inflating talents whose failures received almost as much attention as his successes. His long, attenuated career covered the spectrum, from classics to commercials. Old- timers still remember his controversial rejiggerings of Shakespeare and his War of the Worlds radio drama, which had many listeners believing New Jersey had been invaded by Martians. And, of course, every generation has embraced Citizen Kane, his brilliant 1941 film based on the life...

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