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Mr. Arkadin [1955)

I am a bad film critic.

A good, bad film critic.

Because this is one of those films which requires a certain attention to detail.

Get the damn title right.

So what is it?

I have just watched the British version…we’ll call it (adhering to common practice) Confidential Report.

I had seen this once before.

To me it was always Mr. Arkadin.  I didn’t realize the level of controversy surrounding this film’s numerous versions.

But let me point something out.  All of the versions are within a few minutes of each other.  Sure, some are in Spanish.  That makes a difference.  But at a certain point it is splitting hairs.  Either you’ve seen this thing or you haven’t.

I can understand the legalistic approach to film preservation when it comes to this picture.

If the whole thing isn’t presented as a flashback, I can see how the composition might be negatively affected.

But who cares?  Bogdanovich?  Sure…I care too.

And so let’s get around to why one should even care in the first place.

This is a magnificent movie!

I didn’t really think so the first time I saw it.

It’s possible to see this film and be caught in a The Big Sleep haze.

So maybe it does depend on the version.

Maybe the film isn’t supposed to be confusing.

Yet, there’s something nice (pleasant) about being confused.

If this was a universal maxim, I would walk around with a smile on my face perpetually.

But the confusion here is a rare sort.

When I first saw Mr. Arkadin I mainly “retained” (absorbed?) only its mood.

Something was happening.  Orson Welles was a shadowy character.

There wasn’t a sense of continuity.

But here’s another possibility.

This film needs (deserves) to be seen more than once.

The action moves fast.

Weird things are afoot.

The whole film is a sort of riddle.

And the symbolism is as stinky-strong as Roquefort.

Wikipedia might lead you to Basil Zaharoff, but my mind was wandering more towards George Soros and/or Rupert Murdoch.

Even Jeff Bezos…these guys who feel compelled to protect their corporate empires by buying the Wall Street Journal (or Washington Post).

We make fun of Kissinger because he got the Nobel Peace Prize.

We make fun of Obama for the same reason.

Neither deserved it.  [the prize]

It is as repugnant as Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

But really, we are dumb.

We Lumpenproletariat.

Lumpy Gravy.

We lump together Kissinger with Brzezinski.  And then we throw Soros in for good measure.

And to top it all off, we place Murdoch like a cherry atop the mystère.

There is no mystery.

Bouvard and Pécuchet are aghast.

Maybe he was born in Muğla.

Perhaps he died in Monte Carlo.

Methods.  Experiments.

This is the dossier on Mr. Arkadin.

You are paying to have yourself spied on.

Whether you like it or not.

Because, with all you have been through, you can’t even remember your real identity.

Oh yes…the tired trope of super-soldier pap and shows like Blindspot.

We almost buy it.

It goes a long way.

But it falls short.

Too few comma splices.

Yes, too few.

I will, be, here with Pynchon.  Is not a comma splice.

This is approaching the time in which firemen SET fires.  Bradbury.  Truffaut.

And among the contraband is Tropic of Cancer.

Yes, my heart rends a bit.  As I reach out.

Julie Christie…the rumors are true.

A shamus hired by a murderer.

Belgrade.  Zürich.

Orson Welles is painting a portrait of Europe.

Corruption.

A song for Europe.

Mother of pearl.

They say Rothschild came in.

Always came in.  But with a nice glass of Lafite.

ONI was sniffing around.  They were the first.  Good old chaps!

War profiteering runs all through the story of Basil Zaharoff.

And Orson Welles borrows this story artfully.

As when Patricia Medina is drunk on the yacht.

All through the film.  Those expressionist camera angles.  Vertov.  Ruttman.

But with the wine…more sinister.  As Arkadin is lucid.  Listening.  Gathering intelligence.

DYB.

We need a new generation of jet fighters.  Though the last generation never saw action in a real war.  Hasn’t been a real war since WWII.  Profiteers are restricted in their movements.

The Spanish Empire finally collapsed because of this corruption.  Will it happen in the exact same manner to the United States?

The parallels are more similar than Rome.

It is too much.  The shoddiness of these machines.  I must stop here.

 

-PD

 

 

9 responses to “Mr. Arkadin [1955)

  1. migarium

    You are not a bad film critic, unlike you’re unique movie critic who opens my eyes in different angles about films my dear Earthling friend.
    You said “…the last generation never saw action in a real war. Hasn’t been a real war since WWII…” Yes you’re right, the western countries didn’t see real war into their countries. But at east there has been too many war into countries, and still it is. When looking this situation, this question came to in my mind. Why any new order wasn’t built by the people of eastern countries? They are lack about revolution? No they have this power. They didn’t have time for revolution. No they have so many time.
    And I see you the other sentence at this point: “The Spanish Empire finally collapsed because of this corruption. Will it happen in the exact same manner to the United States? The parallels are more similar than Rome.”

    Actually this is not about seeing or living war into own country. This is a matter of global especially after WWII, the elites made this world marketable by making global exploitation area. Almost all country connected each other with invisible ropes which are into the elites hands.

    At the old times, when the people raised against the corruption of own country, after the resistance, they were able to be success against their elites and their order. Because the elites were not connected with each other.
    But todays the elites connected each other whole world, and into these circumstances any public is not able to be success against them. If elites failed in a country they can get help from the other elites. And this brings their order continuity.

    The thing what I say, if elites move with together into whole world, the power which takes them down it is only possible to unite all peoples of the world, maybe it would not all them, but if some countries 6 or 7 dominant countries would be leader the others will follow them.

    Right now, there is disparity between the powers, between the elites and the people. Not about money, it is about connectioning.

    The only way I can see, passes over the socialism and communism. Because the historical mission of them sees us that socialism and communism have the power that brings people into gather. Maybe in this way, communism will catch a chance about evolving.

    • Thank you, my friend 🙂 this is a very smart comment! You have good ideas about this. I think the common people of the world must work together. I am happy to be called common. Through the Internet we have a voice and we can make ideas together. Hopefully this wonderful Internet will continue. The world cannot continue with so many poor people and just a few rich people. We must have a voice. We must have the opportunity to make friends from other countries and demonstrate our unity for peace and equality. It is hard to say the right words because our words have been stolen by the politicians. When they say peace, they don’t mean peace. When I say it, I mean it. Many people all around the world want this simple thing. You are right: there is no peace when there is poverty (and also authoritarian governments).

      So we keep speaking and hope for new solutions. We hope some of the powerful will join us. We need the allies. But we always have the most number of people. Honest people around the world. Simple people. We can agree for no more war and no more lies. The big lies of business will not succeed if the common people speak together of good things. You are right: there is no need for anyone to be rich (especially when so many are poor).

      We need a new Renaissance. If the masses of common people display the best of humanity, then the rich will want to join this communion.

      I think we can see an example. Maybe it will take a long time. But we will rush to help our people in need. We can show the best way to live.

      We can help to bring happiness by making economic solutions for the poor people. We can bring up poor people to higher level and hopefully inspire rich people to come down to common level. It is a bold mission, but it can be told through philosophy.

      Thank you my friend!
      –Paul

      • migarium

        I agree with all your words my dear Earthling friend! But except “If the masses of common people display the best of humanity, then the rich will want to join this communion.” I don’t think so any elite rich wants to join:)

        And, I have an idea after your comment dear Paul. If you let me, I want to make a post adding our comments by directioning your post. I wonder the other fellows opinion about this subject. I want to see their opinion and want to argue about this. May I have a permission to make a post?

        And please don’t feel obliged yourself for giving permission, this is just an idea.

      • Yes, that is fine if you want to share or make a new post. No problem. Sorry for the delay. Maybe my idea “leading by example” will not work. But money is not everything. People want experiences. And some experiences cannot be bought. That is the lesson I would hope to teach to the rich people. I am rich compared to people in poor countries. I want to help them if I can. But also, everyone has something valuable which cannot be bought. Some kinds of happiness are priceless. VISA credit card company tried to capitalize on those things, but their effort is futile. Their advertisements are just to trick. Thank you, my friend 🙂

        –Paul

      • migarium

        I see now my Eartling friend, while you were saying rich you mentioned about different kind of rich, but when I said rich I mentioned about the capitalist-elites. That’s why my perception was wrong.

        And thank you for my post idea is fine for you. I thought that I put 2 or 3 news about this subject inside the post, after under these I’d add the parts of our comments to set an example in terms of speech. Maybe this can create a brain storm:) We will see.

  2. Good one. I have not seen this one yet. It is on my list. Thank you, and as usual Nice review. Like the dude above said you have unique way to review film and quite a good selection. Hey that is why I am following your blog. Bonne Journée.

  3. BeeHappee

    Sounds like a bad-assity movie, and great review, will have to check it out. Timely review. Just upgraded operating system to Windows 10 here, and the message comes up that all that is stored, spoken through the computer, all search history, recordings,. everything, will be sent and monitored by Microsoft, to ‘improve my experience’ :O

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