Orson Welles’ 1955 crime thriller “Mr. Arkadin” is one of Welles’s greatest works. Besides directing, he wrote the story and screen play and stared in this great suspense thriller. This film is a French-Spanish-Swiss coproduction. Its history is complicated; the story was based on several episodes of the radio series “The Lives of Harry Lime,” which in turn was based on the character Welles portrayed in “The Third Man.”
The film was released in some parts of Europe as “Confidential Report.” Like many of Welles' other films, “Mr. Arkadin” was heavily edited without his input. In fact, in 1982 Welles described it as the 'biggest disaster' of his life, due to him losing creative control of the film. The film was not released in the United States until 1962. Some compensation for Welles came in the form of Paola Mori who played the role of his daughter. In private life, Countess Paola Di Girfalco, she would become his third wife.
The Criterion Collection has a 3 DVD box set which includes three separate versions of “Mr. Arkadin” including a comprehensive re-edit that combines material taken from all the known versions of the film.
Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden), an American smuggler, leaves an Italian prison term with one asset, a dying man's words about wealthy, mysterious Gregory Arkadin (Orson Welles). Guy finds it most pleasant to investigate Arkadin through his lovely daughter Raina (Paola Mori), her father's idol. To get rid of Guy, Arkadin claims amnesia about his own life prior to 1927, sending Guy off to investigate Arkadin's unknown past. Guy's quest spans many countries and eccentric characters who contribute clues. But the real purpose of Guy's mission proves deadly.
One of the great lines delivered by Welles in the movie: “I knew what I wanted. That's the difference between us. In this world there are those who give and those who ask. Those who do not care to give... those who do not dare to ask. You dared. But you were never quite sure what your were asking for.”
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