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I spotted Orson Welles' Mr. Arkadin, aka Confidential Report, at the mall the other night and was sorely tempted to buy it. Any Welles film piques my interest, but the low, low price (about $8) and the fact that I've never heard of this film before made me cautious. A little Internet research tells me the DVD version I spotted is considered a terrible one, with awful picture and sound quality. Of course, like so many of his other films, this one also suffers from severe studio editing, and apparently, one version of the film was edited so that events take place chronologically. Anyhow, some reviewers say it's still worth watching for some of the images and Welles' directorial tricks.

Anybody here ever seen it? Interesting that, at first glance, the plot seems to borrow much from Citizen Kane.

Here's a little more info:

http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/movie/.../Mr+Arkadin.htm

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...783015?v=glance

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Thanks for posting that, Indigojones. Quite an interesting read.

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As you wish, Ben. I believe Alan will change it for you if you send him a PM.

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There's one frame from this film that's in the James Monaco book and i have never forgotten it. It's a picture of a man staring thru the lens of a rather large magnifying glass, and his one big eye is practically consuming the screen. Very fun effect -- since i've seen this photo i always remember wanting to see the movie just for that one interesting visual moment.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Wow, stef, you're really fond of shots like that, aren't you? Because your comment immediately reminded me of something you said about Brazil, a comment I remember well because it described such a cool moment in that film:

One of the lasting images that has stayed with me after my first screening was somewhere toward the beginning of the film when Lowry was peering into his monitor, and from behind the monitor we got to see his giant, distorted eye. It was really quite a fantastic shot, and when you think about it you have we, the audience, viewing a man staring through a screen into us.
Edited by Diane
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I've yet to see the film in question, Diane, but this is an opportune time for me to plug my favorite Welles movie, The Trial. If you see that one on DVD -- and it's been released, using the same restored print as was used on my Roan laserdisc, I've heard -- pick it up, even if it costs you double what Confidential Report does.

My most recent Welles was Lady From Shanghai. I'd waited years to see it. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed...

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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WHAT?!??!?!??

I watched it three days in a row last December. Loved every single moment of it. Except for the bad, bad, bad, bad voice overs.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I've yet to see the film in question, Diane, but this is an opportune time for me to plug my favorite Welles movie, The Trial. If you see that one on DVD -- and it's been released, using the same restored print as was used on my Roan laserdisc, I've heard -- pick it up, even if it costs you double what Confidential Report does.

The Trial is on my list of must-see films, which is taped onto my computer tower right before my eyes here at work. (Incidentally, the computer fix-it guy at my office took the liberty of reading it while making some repairs the other day and brought in 8 1/2 for me. Great film.)

But I digress in a major way. Others here have recommended The Trial to me (also at the Brazil thread, oddly enough). My must-see list also includes Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil. I know, I know, I should have seen these already, seeing as how I have the nerve to call myself a Welles fan.

Edited by Diane
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Diane, Arkadin is pretty fun, especially when one considers it as a remake of Kane in many respects. I remember that shot, too, Stef. Welles was an amateur magician, and he loved visual tricks and mirrors, wide angled lenses, and the like.

Diane, if you're going through Welles' oeuvre, make sure you see his marvelously entertaining essay film, F for Fake, and the magnificent Chimes at Midnight.

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Thanks for the tips, Doug!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Diane, as a friend i thought you'd appreciate the torturous circumstance i currently find myself in. Saturday morning is the last class in a Speech class i'm in. I am required to give a Tribute Speech honoring a loved one, etc. Class starts at 8AM, and it's relatively prompt about its starting time. Most speeches are three minutes. There are 25 or so students giving speeches.... So -- 3m + an average of 90 seconds for the professor to grade and write down little notes = 4-1/2m X 25st = 112.5 Total minutes, divided by 60 minutes = 1.875 hours. That means theoretically class will take less than two hours and then it's over. However the professor is a chain smoker who smokes every hour, on the hour. Add in two 10 minute breaks and we're now up to 132.5m again divided by 60 = 2.208333333, which for all practical purposes is two hours and twelve minutes. So, theoretically, if we start at 8:00 on the dot, we should be able to be completely finished by 10:12 AM. It's the last day of class and the Prof is sick of us anyway, he's been thru two divorces and doesn't appear to enjoy summer school all that much so i think 10:12 is a very fair estimate.

Now get this -- It takes about an hour from that classroom to get to The Music Box Theater downtown. And a new print of Mr. Arkadin is playing there at 11:30. And aside from Sunday morning, which i can't do (i'm the worship-guy, haven't been fired yet), that's the only time it's playing so i should try with all my might to make this screening. It's my responsibility. However, some young Christian girls i met in the class wanted to have one of these after-class fairwell type of lunches, but i figure i'm too old for them anyway (and not to mention hitched). So the point is -- what are the odds that i could actually make this screening?! I'm sure there is an extraneous variable that i'm missing here. unsure.gif

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Guest Russell Lucas

stef, the variable you are missing is that once you give your speech on Saturday, the entire class will spontaneously explode with admiration and gratitude and immediately hoist you to their collective shoulders in order to carry you around like a modern-day czar. Because they will be parading you around in their esctatic bliss for several hours until they tire and collapse from exhaustion and dehydration, you will not be able to attend any movies. Sorry.

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sad.gif

I was really wanting to see that ONE BIG EYE.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Short of pulling some type of Donnie Darko or Superman move where you turn back time, this is going to take some effort. But I have faith in you, Stef. You can do this.

Diane, as a friend i thought you'd appreciate the torturous circumstance i currently find myself in.

Let's see...

...Saturday morning...

Saturday morning classes are bad. Definitely some sympathy there.

...Speech class...

Yikes!! My worst nightmare. My heart is breaking for you.

But seriously, you do have my sympathy. One thing I know from being forced to give a few speeches in college and listening to others' speeches, is that students tend to get nervous and actually speed up, sometimes missing the required time length of the speech. Let's be optimistic (if purely selfish) and count on some of the students doing that. That would buy you, oh, a few minutes here and there.

But you have GOT to make this screening!! I do sympathize with you because Citizen Kane is playing this weekend on the big screen at the most beautiful theater in my city. With live music beforehand! And a classic cartoon before the screening! And it's only $6! But I'm drowning, drowning, drowning in deadlines, so I'm not sure there's a way I could make it. Work is pretty much a 7-day-a-week thing right now.

But I own Citizen Kane. There is currently not a good copy of Arkadin out on DVD. You simply HAVE to go. Hmmm...

But then again, don't you think Russell's idea is still pretty cool?

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Here is what I am thinking...

Give your speech and leave.

However, some young Christian girls i met in the class wanted to have one of these after-class fairwell type of lunches, but i figure i'm too old for them anyway (and not to mention hitched).

-s.

You should hang out with them anyway so minus that affair. One question, howcome your being "hitched" was the after thought of being "too old?"

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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Give your speech and leave.

Of course. Unless your prof would frown on that sort of thing, and he sounds like the grumpy type anyway. Usually, profs ask for volunteers, and most people don't jump at this, so you could be first.

An alternative to Russell's idea: You could give a speech that's SO BAD that you are booed, hissed, and driven from the classroom. Sure, your grade would suffer, but c'mon, isn't Orson Welles worth it??

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Guest Russell Lucas

Thom: Do you think that they'd still want to lunch with him after they find out he'll try to stick them with the bill?

Diane: I know, and it's an 8:00 a.m. class, too. I had occasional trouble making those when I was twenty.

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"Too old" cuz i'm a geezer-ex-rock-star in a classroom full of hip young wannabes. So yeah, maybe we are on a more even plane than i thought.

Give your speech and leave.

Of course. Unless your prof would frown on that sort of thing, and he sounds like the grumpy type anyway. Usually, profs ask for volunteers, and most people don't jump at this, so you could be first.

Actually i like the prof quite a bit. He's very direct, quite funny, very expressionist, and cynical, in a humorous sort of way. I hang out with him on smoke breaks. I'm the Teacher's Pet (I seem to work this out in 75% of the classes i get into, i kid you not).

But the thing is that i don't think i really want to leave early. I actually like some of the students in the class, and i tend to root for the ones that get up there and shake like a leaf. I am Mr. Encourager.

I've had fun in the class, too. I did speeches on German Expressionism, Martin Luther, Nurturing Children in the tradition of Film, and now a tribute speech, which i was planning on making for John Cage until i found out it had to be about someone i know.

Yeah, Russell, they've already paraded me around a couple of times. It's fun the first time, but after a while it just starts to feel like it's bleeding into your already stuffed schedule.

Hmmmmm.... I guess we'll just have to see what's possible.

-s.

PS Have i mentioned that i still have a 4.0 ? Even after my second quarter? I mean, depending on how well i do in Speech, which is borderline A/B....

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I'll keep my fingers crossed. And congrats on the 4.0, btw!

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Thom: Do you think that they'd still want to lunch with him after they find out he'll try to stick them with the bill?

Stef has probably convinced those girls that they want to be with him to such a degree that they have already offered to pay!

Stef - Go easy on the tribute, I might run into some of those people and I wouldn't want to disappoint wink.gif

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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P.S. Stef I already know you've got the A in the bag.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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  • 6 months later...

Interesting. Netflix will now let you save Mr. Arkadan, which I still haven't seen, in your queue. The release date is unknown, so I'm not sure what that means. Hopefully, the wait won't be too long. Stef, the giant eye beckons!

Having caught Touch of Evil last December and The Lady from Shanghai just a few days ago, I'm eager for more Welles. I loved both of these. Know what's really great? When something lives up to the hype. And the famous opener in Touch of Evil, along with the fun house sequence in Shanghai did just that. Incredible stuff. How on EARTH did Welles pull off that mirrors sequence? Bogdanovich didn't seem to know in the featurette.

Also, Criterion hasn't named an official release date for F for Fake, and it's nowhere to be found at Netflix, not even to save. I think I'll write to them and request it if it doesn't show up soon.

In the meantime, I really need to revisit The Trial, which I'll admit gave me problems. The last 45 minutes or so had me enthralled (don't think I'll ever forget Titorelli and his girls

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The Mr. Arkadin DVD has sound so bad, it's almost unwatchable. I'm going to have to wait and give it another try.

I watched Welles' Othello last night. I really liked it a lot. I'm always amazed at how advanced his camera work seems. The film employs a lot of quick cuts (partly to hide the fact that it was filmed over a long period of time due to financial and casting reasons), but it works so well, partly showing that the criticism of "MTV cutting" isn't just because it's quick, but rather that it's just poorly done.

People always bring up the question of whether a white man should be allowed to play Othello. Personally, of all the "white-man" Othello's I've seen, Welles is easily the best. Mostly because the film is in black and white, making the make-up less intrusive, but also because Welles just had the charisma and gravitas to play Othello convincingly. When I watched the Olivier Othello I found his "black-face" Othello distracting from an otherwise fine film (and mildly offensive). Hopkin's Othello is a slightly different case, because it's clear they've made him more of a Middle Eastern character than an African.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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