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Mr. Arkadin (1955)

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NOTE: This commentary is only available on the Criterion Collection DVD.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Film scholars Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore Rating:7.7/10 (6 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by The Cubist on April 21st, 2006:Find all reviews by The Cubist
As you would expect from these two film historians, a lot of factoids about Welles and the film itself are given. They also offer excellent analysis of what we’re watching and the film’s themes. Rosenbaum points out that this is one of the hardest films to research because Welles was so unhappy with it that he forgot a lot about it. They touch upon the rift between Welles and the film’s producer and how Arkadin was taken away from him because he took too long editing it. This is a solid, informative track that enhances the viewing experience of the movie.
Reviewed by grimjack on June 8th, 2021:Find all reviews by grimjack
Definitely should be listened to if you want to understand the history of this film, Welles, and also the start of the independent European art films.

I am glad there are two film experts talking together about the film because, like they point out, this is one of the more difficult films of Welles to analyze. Orson himself was not happy with any version of it, and seldom spoke of it. Most of it is obviously his, but a lot was taken over by the producers and re-cut, so it is believed there are eight different versions floating around.

This track is on the one that Bogdanovich felt was the most true to what Orson wanted the film to be.
Reviewed by grimjack on June 8th, 2021:Find all reviews by grimjack
As an addendum to my earlier review, what I found especially interesting is that the commentary track is on the "Corinth" version of the film, which is considered the most likely to be Welles vision of the five common versions floating around. However, on the Criterion DVD there is a new sixth version, with a commentary track, made by the historians, where they worked off of the Cornith version, inserting some footage found in the lesser versions, and moved around scenes based on the notes, and things Bogdanovich says Welles told him.

Throughout the commentary, they talk about the different versions, and one thing I recalled was how a lot of the film was dubbed by Welles, not just him, but a lot of the other actors because he could not get them to dub their own stuff because they were not available anymore by the time he was editing the film. And they note points where the studio dubbed someone else's voice over Welles in order to turn the story into more of a traditional revenge film.
Reviewed by grimjack on June 8th, 2021:Find all reviews by grimjack
Correction - I specifically meant to say that the new version DOES NOT have a commentary track, but instead the historians comments are all through the Corinth version, and not the one they assembled for Criterion. (Sorry, I wish I could do quick edits on this site, or even delete a review, as I could have pasted my correction within seconds of reading it.)