Mr. Arkadin Reviews

  • Apr 06, 2020

    Stylistically outdated thriller that uses so many noir stereotypes that it might almost be considered a parody. Mr. Arkadin manages to string together a few interesting scenes around a borderline manic Welles, but ultimately most of what you see is pure camp, and hardly suspenseful.

    Stylistically outdated thriller that uses so many noir stereotypes that it might almost be considered a parody. Mr. Arkadin manages to string together a few interesting scenes around a borderline manic Welles, but ultimately most of what you see is pure camp, and hardly suspenseful.

  • Nov 13, 2017

    There are 7 or 8 different versions of Confidential Report (a.k.a. Mr. Arkadin) but none of them apparently represent Orson Welles' vision of the film. Although Criterion released a 105 minute version with all of the available footage drawn from every different English-language version (there are also Spanish), this still didn't contain the opening shot that Welles described to Peter Bogdanovich in the lengthy book of interviews called "This is Orson Welles" (a shot of Milly's body washed up on a beach). I had a VHS copy (entitled "Mr. Arkadin") that was 92 minutes long that I always found utterly confusing. So, when I bought a used DVD from the local library last weekend (entitled "Confidential Report") that is 95 minutes long, I was surprised to find that it felt a lot more coherent. Of course, this could also be because I've seen (and read about) the film a bunch of times now. Due to financial problems, this is another picture that Welles shot in piecemeal fashion, in different locations, with lots of reshooting when new actors replaced older ones (and to make a Spanish version to suit a co-producer there), and with Welles later dubbing his own voice for many characters and tacking on the musical score (written without access to the film but with notes from Welles) in fragmented form at the end. The plot itself was drawn from some episodes of the Harry Lime radio show that Welles wrote (and was starring in), although it doesn't feature Lime but instead another amoral bootlegger/smuggler, Guy van Stratten (played by Robert Arden), who figures he can blackmail the rich and famous Gregory Arkadin (played by Welles himself with bushy beard, false nose, and dubious accent). But Arkadin has other plans, claiming amnesia and contracting van Stratten to discover everything he can about his past to present in a confidential report. Naturally, all of the various characters found to testify to the evil-doings in Arkadin's past meet with unpleasant ends but this doesn't prevent Arkadin's daughter (played by Welles' soon-to-be wife Paola Mori) from discovering her father's true nature (similar to the scorpion who stings the frog, retold again here by Welles), leading to his demise. That sounds a lot more coherent than it probably is - although, again, this edit may have been the most straightforward one, ditching many of Welles' plans for flashbacks within flashbacks. The end result is a bit patchy, clearly shot on a low budget, with some clever camerawork and unusual shots, sets, and character actors - but it likely only represents a pale shadow of what Welles was intending.

    There are 7 or 8 different versions of Confidential Report (a.k.a. Mr. Arkadin) but none of them apparently represent Orson Welles' vision of the film. Although Criterion released a 105 minute version with all of the available footage drawn from every different English-language version (there are also Spanish), this still didn't contain the opening shot that Welles described to Peter Bogdanovich in the lengthy book of interviews called "This is Orson Welles" (a shot of Milly's body washed up on a beach). I had a VHS copy (entitled "Mr. Arkadin") that was 92 minutes long that I always found utterly confusing. So, when I bought a used DVD from the local library last weekend (entitled "Confidential Report") that is 95 minutes long, I was surprised to find that it felt a lot more coherent. Of course, this could also be because I've seen (and read about) the film a bunch of times now. Due to financial problems, this is another picture that Welles shot in piecemeal fashion, in different locations, with lots of reshooting when new actors replaced older ones (and to make a Spanish version to suit a co-producer there), and with Welles later dubbing his own voice for many characters and tacking on the musical score (written without access to the film but with notes from Welles) in fragmented form at the end. The plot itself was drawn from some episodes of the Harry Lime radio show that Welles wrote (and was starring in), although it doesn't feature Lime but instead another amoral bootlegger/smuggler, Guy van Stratten (played by Robert Arden), who figures he can blackmail the rich and famous Gregory Arkadin (played by Welles himself with bushy beard, false nose, and dubious accent). But Arkadin has other plans, claiming amnesia and contracting van Stratten to discover everything he can about his past to present in a confidential report. Naturally, all of the various characters found to testify to the evil-doings in Arkadin's past meet with unpleasant ends but this doesn't prevent Arkadin's daughter (played by Welles' soon-to-be wife Paola Mori) from discovering her father's true nature (similar to the scorpion who stings the frog, retold again here by Welles), leading to his demise. That sounds a lot more coherent than it probably is - although, again, this edit may have been the most straightforward one, ditching many of Welles' plans for flashbacks within flashbacks. The end result is a bit patchy, clearly shot on a low budget, with some clever camerawork and unusual shots, sets, and character actors - but it likely only represents a pale shadow of what Welles was intending.

  • Sep 11, 2017

    The mystery of Arkadin is quite intriguing and that's what makes this film a pleasant watch. You too want to know all about his background as well as an explanation on the in medias res setting. Same about that intro with the plane, although the answer to that - to be found in the dragged-out final act - is a lot more disappointing than the already flimsy twist. Nevertheless, Van Stratten's global roaming is of interest, even if the cinematography has more bad moments than grand.

    The mystery of Arkadin is quite intriguing and that's what makes this film a pleasant watch. You too want to know all about his background as well as an explanation on the in medias res setting. Same about that intro with the plane, although the answer to that - to be found in the dragged-out final act - is a lot more disappointing than the already flimsy twist. Nevertheless, Van Stratten's global roaming is of interest, even if the cinematography has more bad moments than grand.

  • Oct 22, 2016

    A fast paced, intruiguing thriller with Orson Welles in his usual, sublime form

    A fast paced, intruiguing thriller with Orson Welles in his usual, sublime form

  • Sep 23, 2015

    It's edited sloppily, unevenly and somewhat incomprehensibly, though I guess this is still essential in Orson Welles' history as another interesting idea that was taken out of his creative hands by the business. [After watching the "Confidential Report" version]

    It's edited sloppily, unevenly and somewhat incomprehensibly, though I guess this is still essential in Orson Welles' history as another interesting idea that was taken out of his creative hands by the business. [After watching the "Confidential Report" version]

  • May 09, 2015

    The dubbing and long dialogue distracts, but it reeks of wellesian inspiration that leaves you intrigued.

    The dubbing and long dialogue distracts, but it reeks of wellesian inspiration that leaves you intrigued.

  • Jan 20, 2015

    Typical Welles, starring himself as the tyrant Mr.Power aka Mr.Arkadin with the world as his playground. Endless plot twists, still its capturing your attention.

    Typical Welles, starring himself as the tyrant Mr.Power aka Mr.Arkadin with the world as his playground. Endless plot twists, still its capturing your attention.

  • Sep 20, 2014

    http://filmreviewsnsuch.blogspot.com/2014/09/mr-arkadin.html

    http://filmreviewsnsuch.blogspot.com/2014/09/mr-arkadin.html

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    John B Super Reviewer
    Jul 08, 2014

    One Orson Welles masterpiece that I did love however was Mr. Arkadin or Confidential Report. This is just a crazy series of events brilliantly played out by Welles and the gang. Rich characterizations.

    One Orson Welles masterpiece that I did love however was Mr. Arkadin or Confidential Report. This is just a crazy series of events brilliantly played out by Welles and the gang. Rich characterizations.

  • Nov 05, 2013

    Some of the best camera work of Welles' oeuvre is done in this film. I just wish it hadn't been butchered and disjointed by the production company.

    Some of the best camera work of Welles' oeuvre is done in this film. I just wish it hadn't been butchered and disjointed by the production company.