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Dolores del Rio
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 <email@example.com>
Until recently, the version in possession of Corinth Films was generally regarded closest to Orson Welles's cut. In April of 2006, the Criterion Collection released a comprehensive three-DVD set of the film, featuring three versions: the "Corinth" version, "Confidential Report" (the European cut), and the newly edited "Comprehensive" version. Each version contains a few shots or lines that are missing from the other two. Because the film was taken out of Welles' control in post-production, we will never know exactly what he had in mind for the complex flashback structure he spoke of later in his life. See more »
When he meets Guy van Stratten, Jakob Zouk's beard is much heavier in close-ups. See more »
A fun, artistic, insane, and startling film from Orson Welles.
This is a brilliant, beautiful, and almost dangerously unconventional independent production from Orson Welles in 1955. The story follows a small-time blackmailer named Guy Van Stratten (Arden) who meets and falls in love with Raina Arkadin (Paola Mori, who was Welles' third wife), who is resistant of his love for her at first. But he presists and they travel to Spain together, where she soon falls in love with him. In love, they attend a magnificent masquerade ball at a castle, where Stratten meets her father: the mysterious amnesiac billionaire Gregory Arkadin (Welles). Arkadin proposes to Stratten a deal, to research Arkadin's own mysterious past, and in turn, getting a chance to marry Raina. This leads Stratten all over the globe in search of information about Arkadin, including a visit to a flea circus (you read that right). This film is wonderfully confusing, heavily stylized, and also campy. The acting strikes me as very film noir-ish, which makes things all the more fun.
Paul Misraki was a French composer who isn't well-known today (though one of his notable assignments was scoring Godard's Alphaville). I must comment on his score for `Confidential Report,' which is not only serviceable but also a lot of fun, and much of it reminded me of Nino Rota. Misraki's main titles for the film start out with a very bouncy gypsy/carnival-esque theme, then seuging into a slow marching waltz. In the party scenes, he varieties his theme to slow big band cues (Rota did the same thing).
The black and white cinematography is quite a feast.in fact, it is intoxicatingly awesome. More arty camera angles than probably any other film I've ever seen. I can definitely see how the fast-paced editing with the multiple camera angles inspired such directors as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and later Martin Scorsese and Peter Bogdanovich. However, what was the most surprising about this film was the masquerade ball, which was carnival-esque and insane, with people in masks mocking the camera, smiling at it, winking at it, running at it, dancing into it, and storms of people walking in front of it. I felt like I was watching a Federico Fellini film, directed by Orson Welles. This scene had all of the madness and carnivalisms of Fellini, with the camera angles and editing of Welles. What a treat!
Unfortunately, this film surfaces in many different versions. If you are compelled to see it, absolutely don't, under any circumstance, get the DVD from laserlight. It is a cropped (yes, cropped from 1.37.you don't even get all of the square frame!), unrestored, public domain print that looks like it was buried for 30 years. Worst of all, the DVD is cut by ten minutes, apparently deleting the film's important dream-like structure! The version I have, which is of terrific quality, is from Home Vision Entertainment, and is on VHS. The DVD company Criterion owns the rights to this, and sometime in the next few years they will release this on DVD, that is years though.until then, this nice VHS copy will do. This is a film I could probably watch 100 times and never tire of it. It's a feast of artistic camera angles. If you love this kind of stuff, check it out.but only the Home Vision version!
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