Trade Ed. Radio Spirits 1995
CS ISBN $19.98 Three cassettes
This reviewer must confess that he has always detested this evergreen exercise in melodrama, pathos, improbability and excess. With this and the roughly contemporaneous Great Expectations, it’s as if Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens were vying for the same prize, a gold-plated vat of schmaltz. Must one summarize here the plot made familiar from the classic film with Frederic March and Charles Laughton, not to mention the runaway hit musical of more recent years? Suffice it to say that it’s all present in this restored pressing of a historic early radio production written, directed and starring Orson Welles. That Welles was the first radio auteur before he became a cinema auteur escapes the notice of most Welles fans. Whatever he achieved in his few directorial outings for the screen, he achieved many times over in radio, for he only made around a half-dozen or so films, but honed his radio artistry over a hundred or more radio plays. Even in this pre-“War of the Worlds” serialization, his genius for the spoken word and showmanship have the power to engage--no, excite!--your hostile humble servant. His own excesses perfectly complement those of the author. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: MAY 98]
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