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The Henry Jaglom-Orson Welles Tapes

For fans of Orson Welles, tomorrow is already guaranteed to be a summer highlight. That’s the day Metropolitan Books is serving up My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles.

Edited and introduced by Peter Biskind, the book features transcripts of recordings made by Jaglom (with Welles’ permission) of the pair’s regular lunches at Ma Maison restaurant in West Hollywood . The 1983-85 sit-downs are everything one might expect – and more. The beauty of the recordings is that they allow for Welles to speak through the page in all his glory. As in this instance for example, when he recalled a memorable media moment at the New York premiere of Citizen Kane:

“That was in the days when the crowd were still screaming, “Here comes Norma Shearer!” The days when there was that kind of opening. John Barrymore made the famous joke. A radio reporter announced, “And here come Mr. John Barrymore, and Orson Welles, who made this picture! What have you got to say, Mr. Barrymore?””

“And he said, “Now it can be revealed. Orson is, in fact, the bastard son of Ethel [Barrymore] and the Pope!” On the air, across the nation. Cold sober. Just sheer mischief.”

We concur wholeheartedly with the rave reviews on Amazon.com from Steven Soderbergh, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal and customers like David J. Huber. This book is pure gold.

[Jacket cover courtesy Metropolitan Books]

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