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RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999) - Plot Summary Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

Plot Summary

  • Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his radio hoax War of the Worlds, 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 William Randolph Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. The movie is about an aging newspaper publisher who controlled his enemies as ruthlessly as he controlled his friends; and whose mistress was destined for fame. 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>
  • When Orson Welles moved to Hollywood, the 24 year old was hailed as the boy genius and everyone eagerly anticipated his first film for RKO Studios. Welles had made a name for himself on the New York stage and in radio dramatizations, particularly his adaptation of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds. He was given carte blanche by RKO studio head George Schaefer but he took his time and after a year, still had not come up with an idea. After having dinner at San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst's castle-like mansion, he comes up with the idea of a film on the life of a larger-than-life American whose style and foibles defined much of American entrepreneurship. Working with his good friend Herman J. Mankiewicz they develop a script for what would become Citizen Kane (1941). However, when Hearst becomes aware of the film, he instructs his newspapers' Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper to go to any lengths to stop it from being released.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • Orson Welles, all charisma and stubborn vision, is signed to direct films for RKO Pictures with a startling amount of creative freedom. Welles decides to make production number 281 a disguised biopic of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, a film which would come to be known as "Citizen Kane (1941)." But Welles doesn't understand just how much clout Hearst yields. When he gets word of the unflattering production, Hearst does everything in his power to stop it

    - Written by Jwelch5742
  • Orson Welles produces his greatest film, Citizen Kane (1941), despite the opposition of the film's de facto subject, William Randolph Hearst.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm

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