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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion edition reminds us of Welles' flawed genius
Let's be clear: the many negative reviews of 'Mr. Arkadin' on this site refer to the shoddy editions that populated the marketplace prior to Criterion's definitive and gorgeous 2005 3-disc release. The film's chaotic production history was matched by an equally chaotic release history in which it circulated in as many as seven different versions under the various titles...
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by A fellow creature

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welles revisits Kane in occassionally dazzling fashion
Although not regarded as one of his finer films, this has much to delight the Welles aficionado.Peopled with bizarre characters over a shifting array of countries and landscapes, this is essentially a deconstruction of Citizen Kane. Welles plays Gregory Arkadin, an all powerful tycoon who pays to have his past unearthed in order to elimate those who remember his origins...
Published on 23 May 2001 by shane_james@usa.net


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion edition reminds us of Welles' flawed genius, 9 Jan 2012
Let's be clear: the many negative reviews of 'Mr. Arkadin' on this site refer to the shoddy editions that populated the marketplace prior to Criterion's definitive and gorgeous 2005 3-disc release. The film's chaotic production history was matched by an equally chaotic release history in which it circulated in as many as seven different versions under the various titles 'Mr. Arkadin' and 'Confidential Report'. Its copyright status was equally chaotic, leading to its definition as a public domain artefact and allowing opportunistic video and DVD releases by companies who cared nothing for the quality of the print or the integrity of the version they peddled.

Thankfully, with this splendid package, Criterion have made all other versions redundant and have revealed the full beauty, complexity, originality, wild humour and waywardness of Welles's conception. Shot on the run across Europe in 1954, financed on a shoestring budget, and edited in acrimonious circumstances with the producer throwing Welles out of the cutting room with less than a third of the work done, the film tells the tale of Van Stratten, a shady American smuggler, hired by Arkadin, a shady international finance capitalist, to investigate his past which, he claims, he has lost to amnesia. The commission itself, and the motives of the two principals, soon turn out to be far more sinister than they intially appear, gradually revealing a complex web of murder, espionage, white slavery and organised crime which resolves into a power struggle over ownership of the past and possession of the tycoon's beautiful and innocent daughter.

Criterion offer three versions of the film - the 1955 European release, the 1962 American release and a new version several minutes longer than any seen before and reconstructed according to Welles's plan to tell the story in complex flashback structure. In all versions the picture restoration is beautiful, allowing us to relish the bravura camerawork, captivating modernist editing and startling scene construction. And the longer version includes all the wonderful set-piece scenes that make the film so cherishable and outlandish: Arkadin menacing Van Stratten's girlfriend below-decks on his yacht as the room pitches wildly about; Van Stratten interrogating the Professor, an old associate of Arkadin's, as he runs his performing fleas through their paces; and a hilarious Michael Redgrave in a ratty old hairnet as an international fence, trying to sell Van Stratten a defective 'telioscope' which constantly increases in price.

In terms of plot, the film is a serio-comic hybrid of 'Citizen Kane' and 'The Lady from Shanghai', blending the quest for the shadowy history of the powerful capitalist with a noir crime story in which a hapless drifter is drawn into a web of intrigue with a twisted sexual motive at its centre. 'Mr. Arkadin' perhaps doesn't attain the greatness of those two predecessors, but in the Criterion version it stands as testament that Welles's original genius remained intact throughout his years of European exile, before he returned for his Hollywood swan song with the great 'Touch of Evil'.

Five stars for the brilliant Criterion package and the invaluable service it performs for film lovers and Wellesophiles; four and a half stars for the film itself - a typical Welles effort: bold, original and bewildering in equal measure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Satan in Person, 17 Dec 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
NB: As is Amazon's wont, they've very unhelpfully bundled all the reviews for various editions and formats together. This review refers to Criterion's three-disc US DVD release.

Mr Arkadin, aka Confidential Report - or, to give it its rather wonderful German title, Mr Satan in Person - is certainly one of the most problematic of Awesome's films, with a lot of money obviously spent on screen in all the location-hopping, but far too little in post-production (the lip-synching is truly atrocious throughout thanks to constant script changes). It also boasts every conceivable manner of (often wildly incompatible) performance from its interesting cast - Robert Arden gives possibly the loudest performance in a leading role until Al Pacino started making movies, Welles towers and glowers behind one of cinema's worst wig, beard and putty nose ensembles, Patricia Medina is almost endearing in her total lack of ability, Michael Redgrave hams it up outrageously while the likes of Katina Paxinou and Suzanne Flon tone it down and Akim Tamiroff steals every scene going. The first third is awkward in each of the three versions on Criterion's excellent DVD, but it gradually exerts a grip, filled throughout with Welles' trademarks, from the almost omnipresent ceilings in shots to the director conspicuously dubbing bit players (everyone from Gregoire Aslan's dying blackmailer to Mischa Auer's flea circus impresario).

Most of the changes in the `comprehensive version' make sense, even if after seeing the other two versions it is jarring to see the visit to Sophie come after Arkadin's appearance in Mexico (which does explain why Van Stratten didn't tell him that Sophie didn't care). However, the opening doesn't flow quite as well once Arden's introductory screen credit that flows right into his arrival at Zouk's garret is put at the end of the picture. The film never quite lives up to its premise, but as ever with Welles, it's an engaging mess.

There are plenty of poor quality public domain releases of this title on the market, but Criterion's three disc US NTSC set is the one to go for. With an excellent and intelligent selection of extras (including what may well be Harry Alan Towers only appearance on a Criterion DVD!), this comes highly
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welles revisits Kane in occassionally dazzling fashion, 23 May 2001
This review is from: Mr. Arkadin [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although not regarded as one of his finer films, this has much to delight the Welles aficionado.Peopled with bizarre characters over a shifting array of countries and landscapes, this is essentially a deconstruction of Citizen Kane. Welles plays Gregory Arkadin, an all powerful tycoon who pays to have his past unearthed in order to elimate those who remember his origins. This is easy to read as autobiographical - Welles wishing to wipe out the memory of Kane so that he may step out of the shadow of his past. Seen as such, this is a highly intriguing film. Although shot on a restrictive budget and cut against his wishes, Confidential Report is filled with dense, literate set pieces and remains a must see for those enamoured of the great man.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition, 27 May 2008
This is an excellent film and an excellent Dvd. You get three versions of the film on three discs, and some really good extras.

It comes in a fat digipak fold-out style case that fits into an outer slipcase. It's accopanied by a book about the film that also fits into the slipcase.

The extras are impressive. You get;
All three versions of the film: Corinth version, Confidential Report, and the new comprehensive version, are newly restored.
There is a commentary.
An interview with Welles biographer.
Three half-hour episodes of THE LIVES OF HARRY LIME.
A documentary.
Outtakes, rushes and alternate scenes from the film.

This is an excellent Dvd for Orson Welles fans. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welles revisits Kane in occassionally dazling fashion, 23 May 2001
This review is from: Mr. Arkadin [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although not regarded as one of his finer films, this has much to delight the Welles aficionado.Peopled with bizarre characters over a shifting array of countries and landscapes, this is essentially a deconstruction of Citizen Kane. Welles plays Gregory Arkadin, an all powerful tycoon who pays to have his past unearthed in order to elimate those who remember his origins. This is easy to read as autobiographical - Welles wishing to wipe out the memory of Kane so that he may step out of the shadow of his past. Seen as such, this is a highly intriguing film. Although shot on a restrictive budget and cut against his wishes, Confidential Report is filled with dense, literate set pieces and remains a must see for those enamoured of the great man.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok film, terrible DVD, 12 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. P. S. Bond (Merseyside, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is truly THE worst quality DVD you will ever be unfortunate to come across.

The picture and sound are as a bad as the ancient, unrestored, VHS copy the print of the film is clearly taken from. Throughout the film the logo of the manufacturer (Delta Music PLC) consistently appears on screen, the only reason i can think why would be to inform the viewer where they should attempt to claim their refund from.

If you want to see this film (which is ok but feels somehwhat incomplete) get the region 1 Criterion release, also available on here. It may cost more, but unlike this it won't be a complete waste of your money.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Orson!, 25 Aug 2004
Orson Welles is my favorite filmaker. In order to be fair, I watched this dvd several times. I really wanted to like this film. It is probably the only Welles film I had difficulty watching. There are just too many problems beginning with a weak script. Welles also appears to have dubbed in the dialogue after filming. This was a big mistake since the sound seems so unrealistic throughout. (I would rather read subtitles than endure the poor, later-recorded soundtrack). Then there is Welles--usually the strength of every film--but this time his performance is strangely uninspired and his theatrical makeup is ludicrous. Since Welles is such a genius, the questions is: how could he have made THIS film?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opportunity, 29 Jun 2010
Like "Legalinc" above, I really wanted to like this film. Welles at his best (and even at his not-so-best) is a great film-maker, so when I found this, and never having heard of it, I looked forward to a treat. Unfortunately I was disappointed.

First, the plot. Guy Van Stratten (played by Robert Arden) is an American sailor-cum-smuggler who, while in post-war Spain (the film was releaed in 1955 and is set contemporaneously) witnesses a shooting and hears the dying victim utter the name of Gregory Arkadin, an elusive millionaire (played by Orson Welles - the Arkadin character was apparently based upon Harry Lime). Van Stratten inveigles his way into Arkadin's confidence and is asked to research and record Arkadin's life story prior to 1927, as Arkadin claims to have no memory of his life before that date. He does so but, for some reason, everyone he interviews ends up dead shortly afterwards. Clearly Arkadin is using Van Stratten as a stalking horse, to find out how much people know about him and how much they can use against him if his previous crimes come to light. The climax of the film (according to Google - I couln't finish watching the film for reasons explained later) is a gruesome clash after Arkadin and Van Stratten race each other back to Spain.

Apparently there are numerous versions of this film at large, with Orson Welles not having much of a hand in the creative editing of any of them. Maybe there are better versions than this one available. I hope so.
The first and main problem with the film was the sound-track. It was frequently impossible to hear what the actors were saying because of its appalling quality; and this is nothing to do with the DVD itself, the film was clearly made with terrible sound-recording apparatus, or apparatus that was adequate but used by incompetents. It sounded like some of the very earliest attempts to record sound at the end of the silent-film era; just an open mike fixed in position somewhere, so that while the voices of the actors were picked up, so were all the other extraneous sounds made in their proximity - footfalls, doors being opened and closed, passers-by talking, things being dropped, with the result that the voices of the actors were often drowned by the surrounding racket.
Then there was the script. When you could hear it, the dialogue was often stilted and unrealistic, the sort of thing that might have been written by a first-year film student with no prior experience of script-writing. The "Hero" (Van Stratten), too, was the kind of brash, loud-mouthed American that was de Rigeur in those days, but whom you'd want to beat to death with a shovel if you ever encountered him in real life.
As a result of all this, I could only stand about half-an-hour of it, so I never saw the end. Such a shame, because all the hall-marks of a good Welles film were there - the bizarre costumes and surreal atmosphere, unlikely situations, colourful characters, and an air of the generally grotesque that often featured in many Welles films, particulary ones such as "Touch of Evil" and "Lady from Shanghai". If, as seems to be the case, he made this as a kind of reaction against the success of "Citizen Kane", I feel he went far too far the other way. A wasted opportunity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No beginning no end and no middle either, 20 Dec 2010
By 
A film typical of 1955, the very heart of the Cold War. Orson Welles though manages to write a book and then make a film that exposes one of these rich men after WW2 who made a fortune during and after the war, and yet he succeeds in hardly mentioning the defeated side of that war who were the main customers and who knows what too of these men who came rich out of the war. We jump from Italy, to Spain, from Germany to England, from France to Poland and we only know that fishy people were used to accumulate that fortune and were eliminated for the police not to trace them to the order giver. After the war that Mr. Arkadin hires some kind of international private eye adventurer to find out what is being said about him in Europe. His real intention is to trace those who could be embarrassing if they started talking and then he eliminates them one after the other. The private eye has only one objective: to capture the love of the daughter of this rich man. Not simple, indeed. And the end is just fishy and unimaginable. The rotten rich man disappears in thin air over the communication system of an airport air control tower: he is speaking one second and he is gone the next and the plane he was coming in crashes and no body is in it. The private eye can go away with the rich daughter but does it mean it is finished. Of course not. These war time entrepreneurs are extremely good at disappearing to reappear later on with a good amount of money they had manage to store away in some Swiss safe heaven. The film is more disturbing than really thrilling and Orson Welles probably wanted it like that, mysterious, embarrassing and disquieting, but what's the next stop in the plot, sir?

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real pity!, 11 Mar 2010
By 
A. P. Rickards (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I hate to say it because I am such a fan of Orson Welles but this movie really stinks!!! I don't feel so bad about saying that, though, since Welles himself described the movie as the biggest disaster of his carer. The first problem, which is obvious from the start is the extremely poor editing. It is frenetic, disorienting and with little continuity. The second problem is the acting which is over the top when not plain bad (Welles excepted, but even he is not at the top of his game hear).
As for the DVD there is nothing really to complain about, though the menu is a little boring (so what!) and there a no extras (who cares! especially with a movie this bad).
My review may sound a bit harsh but I was expecting much more from this movie.
If your looking for a good Orson Welles film from this period try "Lady From Shanghai" or "Touch of Evil"
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Mr. Arkadin [DVD]
Mr. Arkadin [DVD] by Orson Welles (DVD - 2002)
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