Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Confidential Report aka Mr Arkadin

The world's a small place- and one man can bestride it like a colossus.

One man in a preposterous wig and only slightly less preposterous false beard.

Wherever you go- whichever continent you fleetingly visit- you'll find he's got there before you.

Big man, big money, big hair.

But does he have any substance- or will a breath of ill-report simply blow him away?

This is one of several movies Welles walked away from before it was finished.  Why? Because he was a perfectionist and sometimes just couldn't face the weeks and weeks of fiddling away in the editing suite that he'd have imposed on himself. (Well that's how I account for it anyway.)

There were, after all, expensive dinners to be eaten.

So it's a botched job: Welles hadn't intended the narrative to be so linear, chunks of story are missing- but...

There's so much to like. The deep focus photography, the locations, the magnificent set pieces- a  ball in a Spanish castle with people masked as monsters out of Goya, a snowy Christmas in Munich complete with melancholy carollers- the expressionist camerawork, the playfully grotesque cameos from Michael Redgrave, Akim Tamiroff and Katrina Paxinou, Welles himself hamming it up as the monstrous Arkadin (and powerful men do flaunt silly hair- witness Donald Trump) and a wonderfully shouty, sweaty performance by Robert Arden as the least attractive, most despicable leading man ever...
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