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Orson Welles in Confidential Report aka Mr Arkadin

Orson Welles in Confidential Report aka Mr Arkadin

 

 

The prevailing wisdom on Orson Welles has changed in recent years. It used to be: “Poor Orson, his masterpieces (such as The Magnificent Ambersons, It’s All True, The Lady from Shanghai ) butchered by the studios”. Now it’s: “Lazy Orson, got most of the way through a film and then lost interest”. Certainly Welles subscribed to the former view, and broadcast it widely wherever he went in Europe during his exile (or extended flake-out, take your pick). Confidential Report fuels the debate. A shadow of both his masterpiece, Citizen Kane, and Carol Reed’s The Third Man (in which he played the similarly gnomic Harry Lime), the film jumps around the world excavating the past of a mysterious megalomaniac and is either a masterpiece re-edited to destruction by the studios, or a series of brilliantly melodramatic vignettes which Orson couldn’t quite be bothered melding into a whole. Whichever it is, and seven different versions have done the rounds over the years, the version I watched recently certainly seemed to have been edited by a man with a grudge. Maybe this was the same version that Cahiers du Cinema saw in 1958 and declared a masterpiece, in spite of the fact that all of Welles’s flashbacks and other chronological trickery had been ironed out. Whichever version you are offered there’s good stuff in it – all that deep-focus photography and Expressionistic Euro-angst – and the always engaging, lovably preposterous figure of Welles himself, who plays the mysterious Mr Arkadin, by which name this mad, gothic/baroque fruitcake of a film is also known. See, you can’t get a straight answer even on the title.

© Steve Morrissey 2002

 

 

Confidential Report/Mr Arkadin – at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

imdb poster Confidential Report
Mr. Arkadin (1955)
Run time: 93 min
Rating: 7.3
Genres: Thriller | Crime | Mystery
Director: Orson Welles
Writers: Orson Welles, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Michael Redgrave, Patricia Medina
Trivia: An American adventurer investigates the past of mysterious tycoon Arkadin…placing himself in grave danger.
Storyline Guy Van Stratten, American smuggler, leaves an Italian prison term with one asset, a dying man’s words about wealthy, mysterious Gregory Arkadin. Guy finds it most pleasant to investigate Arkadin though his lovely daughter Raina, her father’s idol. To get rid of Guy, Arkadin claims amnesia about his own life prior to 1927, sending Guy off to investigate Arkadin’s unknown past. Guy’s quest spans many countries and eccentric characters who contribute clues. But the real purpose of Guy’s mission proves deadly; can Guy himself survive it? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>
Plot Keywords: amnesia, tycoon, smuggler, adventurer, secret past
Box Office Gross: ESP 5,615,940 (Spain)