At Sea, In Port, Up the River: Orson Welles’s Conrad Adaptations

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Conrad was more than a mere influence. He was also a direct source of story material. Welles considered himself “made for Conrad” and frequently returned to Conrad’s original stories. Adaptation often functioned as Welles’s most intensive process of reading – honouring, personalising, and arguing with – his favourite books. He directed Heart of Darkness twice for radio and narrated an abridged audiobook of “The Secret Sharer” shortly before his death. But in cinema his Conrad aspirations were frustrated. Declaring that “every Conrad story is a movie,” he always met obstacles in producing one himself….

A new article at Bright Lights Film Journal, based on archival research at the University of Michigan and the Museo Nazionale Del Cinema in Turin: At Sea, In Port, Up the River: Orson Welles’s Conrad Adaptations

See also a related interview with Ray Kelly at Wellesnet: Orson Welles’ fascination with the works of Joseph Conrad

Part of this work was presented at the Joseph Conrad Society conference in London in July 2019. See a report at Unproduced Orson Welles ‘Surinam’ script to be detailed by Matthew Asprey Gear at literary conference

Moseby Confidential: an extract, reviews, and podcast appearances

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An extract

Read an extract from Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir at Bright Lights Film Journal: The Birth of Night Moves: Alan Sharp on the Edge of America

Reviews

Tony Williams at Film International

Jonathan Kirshner at Midcentury Cinema

Andrew Nette at Pulp Curry

Don Herron at Up and Down These Mean Streets

Andy Wolverton at Journeys in Darkness and Light

Podcast interviews

The Projection Booth (26 Sept 2019)

Films(trips) (31 Aug 2019)

Filmwax Radio, Episode 563 (4 Jul 2019)

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For more information see the book page at Jorvik Press

Orson Welles, ‘V. I. P.’, and other discoveries in Turin

Two Wellesnet reports on my recent Orson Welles archival research in Turin.

VIVA ITALIA! – REPORT ON ARCHIVAL DISCOVERIES IN TURIN

by Matthew Asprey Gear

A few weeks ago I visited Italy’s Museo Nazionale Del Cinema in Turin on a research project under the sponsorship of the Ernest Hemingway Society. While there I not only made significant discoveries to aid my project, but also had the chance to survey the highlights of a largely unexplored archive that should excite all Wellesians….

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LOST NOVEL CREDITED TO ORSON WELLES UNEARTHED IN TURIN

by Ray Kelly:

A previously unknown English-language novel credited to Orson Welles has been discovered in the archives of the National Museum of Cinema in Turin.

The bound hardcover typescript of V.I.P. ― mistakenly cataloged at one point by the museum as a treatment for the movie The V.I.P.’s  or V.I.P ― is an English version of Welles’ French novel Une Grosse Legume (A Big Shot), translated by Maurice Bessy and published by Gallimard Editions of Paris in 1953, according to Matthew Asprey Gear, author of At The End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City.

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Appearance: John Updike Society in Belgrade

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On June 4 I presented a paper “Mustered Opinions: John Updike’s Non-
Fiction Collections” at the Fifth Biennial John Updike Society Conference at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade in Serbia.
The abstract:

John Updike was one of the most wide-ranging and conscientious book reviewers in the history of American publishing. For half a century he operated as a “psychotic Santa of volubility” (in the words of Martin Amis), producing hundreds of reviews and occasional essays for the New Yorker and other publications.

Updike assembled compendiums of this non-fictional prose at regular intervals throughout his career: Assorted Prose (1965), Picked-Up Pieces (1975), Hugging the Shore (1983), Odd Jobs (1991), More Matter (1999), and Due Considerations (2007). Despite the seeming modesty of their titles, and the mock-apologetic tone of their prefaces, these collections are enormously ambitious and comprehensive.

This paper critically examines Updike’s methods of collating his non-fictional prose, the efforts of a meticulous self-anthologist building a uniform oeuvre. It will discuss critical responses to Updike’s collections, as well as contrasting publication practices by contemporary essayists including Anthony Burgess and Gore Vidal.

The program of the conference is HERE

Recent Publications & Appearances

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EVAN HUNTER’S JUNGLE KIDS and AN INTERVIEW WITH FLOYD SALAS

Two contributions to a beautifully illustrated book edited by Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre called Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980 (Oakland: PM Press, 2017). 

The first is a long essay on Evan Hunter’s contributions to the juvenile deliquency genre including The Blackboard Jungle (1954), A Matter of Conviction (1959) and The Jungle Kids (1956).

The other is an interview with the fascinating and under-appreciated American writer Floyd Salas, conducted in collaboration with Andrew Nette: ‘Whoever Was In Control Was The One To Watch‘.

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ORSON WELLES’S THE TRIAL

A study of Orson Welles’s screen adaptation of The Trial in Jim Craddock (ed.), Books to Film: Cinematic Adaptations of Literary Works, Volume 1 (Boston: Gale Cengage Learning, 2017).

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ANTHONY BURGESS AND ORSON WELLES: HACKWORK AND BRICOLAGE

A paper presented at the Anthony Burgess: Life, Work, Reputation conference at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester (3-5 July 2017).

Publication forthcoming.

2017-05

ADRIAN MARTIN looks at CONTRAPPASSO: WRITERS AT THE MOVIES

Adrian Martin’s article ‘What is Literary Cinephilia?’, which discusses the special ‘Writers at the Movies’ issue of Contrappasso Magazine (2015) edited by Noel King and Matthew Asprey Gear, appeared in the May 2017 issue of Sight and Sound, pp. 56-57.