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Page # 176

ck| RKO 281
ID:
1999
Comments:
Director: Benjamin Ross
Screenplay:
Producer:
Cast: Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, John Malkovich, Brenda Blethyn
Genre: Drama

Running Time: 87
Aspect Ratio:  (NTSC )
Sound: Dolby
Subtitles:
Features:
Studio:  Hbo Home Video DVD Region:  1 R
DVD Release:  Discs:  1 (DVD) [9.98]
Purchase: 
Reviews:  This absorbing HBO docudrama tells the story of the making of what is considered by many to be America's greatest film, Citizen Kane. "Boy genius" Orson Welles came to Hollywood with no idea how to follow up his stage and radio success in the movie business. A dinner invitation to publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst's castle, San Simeon, inspired him to use Hearst's story as the basis for his brilliant film debut: a scathing allegory about the absolute corruptibility of power. RKO 281 demonstrates Welles's famously obsessive attention to artistic detail, which made his first movie such a masterpiece. But the film almost never made it to the screen--Hearst used his entire empire to try to destroy it. Two of the most mammoth egos in entertainment history--Hearst and Welles--were pitted against one another in the battle over Citizen Kane. Liev Schreiber has the close-to-impossible task of playing Orson Welles. He may not have Welles's monumental presence (who does?) but he does a credible job. John Malkovich turns in a powerful, understated performance as Welles's long-suffering sidekick Herman Mankiewicz, James Cromwell makes a first-rate Hearst, and Melanie Griffith is warmly sympathetic as Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. The docudrama imparts some marvelously juicy insider lore, such as the real meaning behind the famous dying dispatch in the history of movies: "Rosebud."--Laura Mirsky


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