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RKO 281 (1999)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama  -  20 November 1999 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,672 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 27 critic

Orson Welles produces his greatest film, Citizen Kane (1941), despite the opposition of the film's de facto subject, William Randolph Hearst.

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, (documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"), 1 more credit »
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Title: RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999)

RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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George Schaefer
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Anastasia Hille ...
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Simeon Andrews ...
William Armstrong ...
Mr. Lewis
Jay Benedict ...
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Storyline

Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his "War of the Worlds" radio hoax, Orson Welles is stymied on the subject for his first film. After a dinner party at Hearst Castle, during which he has a verbal altercation with Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. When a rough cut is screened, Hearst gets wind of the movie's theme and begins a campaign to see that it is not only never publicly screened, but destroyed. Written by Greg Bulmash <greg@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some graphic sexual images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

16:9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The size of the principal actors had to be modified for their roles. The 6'3" Liev Schreiber had to bulk up to portray Orson Welles, while John Malkovich, who stands about 6'1" (a full head taller than the real Herman Mankiewicz), had to be made to look much slighter and smaller than usual. James Cromwell, who stands a towering 6'7", was surrounded by actors in lifts, as the real William Randolph Hearst was about 6'3" or 6'4". See more »

Goofs

When Welles is shown crossing out dialogue in the "Citizen Kane" script, he is actually marking up pages from the "RKO 281" script! See more »

Quotes

Orson Welles: I expected better of you, Mank.
Herman J. 'Mank' Mankiewicz: Me too, but I got used to it.
See more »

Connections

References Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

By The Fireside
Written by Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell and Reginald Connelly (as Reg Connelly)
Performed by Al Bowlly with Ray Noble and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Castle Music Ltd. by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
fascinating film for fans of Welles, who of course will tear it to shreds
9 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Very interesting movie about the battle to get Citizen Kane made has carved out a tricky niche for itself; the movie is going to be most interesting to fans of Wells and Kane, and those people are going to have such specific expectations about what the movie should be that they can't be satisfied. I see a number of reviews here complaining that this movie doesn't show why Kane was a great movie, but that's not the movie that was being made. It is a short movie about a specific struggle, with brief glimpses into the filming, and unless it had been titled, "RKO 281: the making of Citizen Kane," you can't fault it for not spending an hour on Welles innovations. The film is entertaining, Schreiber is a good Welles and Malkovitch is also quite good. I note people also complain that the movie isn't all that accurate. I do wish the film had done a better job with Marian Davies, as one hears her described as fantastically charming and loved by Hollywood (it has been said that Welles' flaying of Davies did more to bring out the knives of the Hollywood press than his portrayal of Hearst). But come on, how can one complain about liberties taking with reality in a movie made about Welles, who loved taking liberties with reality?


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