A Few Words About A few words about... Mr. Arkadin

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Packaged along with a paperbound copy of the novel, Criterion's new DVD release of Mr. Welles' Mr. Arkadin shows precisely how far, in an industry gone mad with continuous triple and quadruple dips into known territory, one can take a project in the name of quality, art and love of the cinema.

    Offered as "The Complete Mr. Arkadin," this new DVD is much more than that.

    As a project that was never officially completed by Mr. Welles, various versions have been available for decades, ranging from quite good to rather emasculated.

    Offering three interestingly different versions of the film on three separate discs, we can now follow the editorial changes, and finally view for the first time, a new version which seems to be the closest to what might have been an "official" version had there been one.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Mr. Arkadin / Confidential Agent turf, this is a package containing many delights, put together with consummate care.

    Mr. Arkadin is Criterion at its highest level.

    Very Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    I think I'll order this...
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    ...it would almost be hard not to with a recommendation like that! [​IMG]
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    One can never have too much Welles. I'll be getting this eventually.
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    what is it with Welles that so many of his movies are taken away from him ?
     
  6. Justin W

    Justin W Stunt Coordinator

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    wow. it comes with the novel? that's fantastic. i'm a welles nut so this is a no brainer for me.
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    "I'm not bitter about Hollywood's treatment of me, but over its treatment of Griffith, Von Sternberg, Von Stroheim, Buster Keaton and a hundred others."
     
  8. Sergio A

    Sergio A Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for you comments Mr Harris - This is so good to hear

    I've been panting over this release for months now - the original novel is a rather amusing inclusion (it was apparently ghosted by Maurice Bessy) and I am really looking forward to listening to the commentary by James Naremore and Jonathan Rosenbaum, for my money the best writers on Welles around. Rosenbaum's classic article 'The 7 Arkadins' seems to have been a driving force behind the creation of this package.
     
  9. ted:r

    ted:r Second Unit

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    The public domain title of Mr. Arkadin that I have is the only DVD I have ever bought that I deemed unwatchable. The transfer was horrid and the noise made it practically impossible to hear the dialogue. So I am greatly looking forward to this and Mr. Harris's review just whetted my appeitite even more.

    Now, perhaps, Chimes at Midnight/Falstaff and The Magnificent Ambersons to follow?
     
  10. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    There are a million answers to that question, but regardless of "the truth", the bottom line is that it's a shame he didn't have final cut on more of his films. Regardless of his character flaws (such as significant egotism, but what successful director has not been guilty of that) Welles was a visionary. Unfortunately, he wasn't granted more room to explore that vision.
     
  11. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    The crucial question, Mr. Harris:

    Has Criterion "windowboxed" the presentation of Mr. Arkadin as they've done with most of their recent 1.37:1 releases (Kind Hearts and Coronets, La bĂȘte humaine, The Children are Watching Us, The Virgin Spring, Forbidden Games)?

    Do you have an opinion on this windowboxing practice?

    pro: it does away with the problem of cropping due to overscan
    con: it limits resolution
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    At least Welles had final cut over two of his best films: Citizen Kane and F for Fake.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Windowboxing is a thorny issue, and Criterion is trying hard to do the right thing.

    The problem is that the "right thing" is not the same for every playback device.

    My vote is to allow slight overscan and not windowbox, except possibly for tight titles.

    RAH
     
  14. Justin W

    Justin W Stunt Coordinator

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    yeah, but maybe they're his best films because he had final cut. we'll never know.
     
  15. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hi Mark & Patrick

    Thanks for the comments

    Oscar
     
  16. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    In This is Orson Welles OW made of point of stating that The Trial was all his work.

    He said the same about Macbeth, even though he cut out 20 minutes at the behest of the producers, it was still his cut (the longer version survived as well).

    Othello I would assume is all his, since he controlled the financing and production of the movie. Unfortunately the (now out of print) Image DVD made major modifications to the orignal soundtrack, which I will admit is jarring for being out of sync in many spots along with other shortcomings. Still, I hope that future editions will include the original, in addtion to the revised, soundtrack, just in the interest of preserving the original work of the director.
     
  17. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    it's great to see his movies on dvd are these are truly Special Editions
     
  18. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Well, yes, but is it windowboxed?
     
  19. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    A bit off topic, but about Welles, a couple weeks ago I was at an event that showed several hours worth of Orson Welles little seen work. It was hosted by his cinematographer from the 70's, Gary Graver (who did F FOR FAKE).

    We saw almost an hour of his final film, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, much of it edited by Welles himself. Some of it was pretty amazing stuff (who knew that they guy who made KANE would be capable of shooting a sex scene that would probably earn the film an X rating!!).

    Anyway, WIND (which starred John Huston as a director of a film having a very troubled shoot) has been tied up in all sorts of legal problems for years, and has never been edited completely or released. Graver said they have almost all been cleared up, and the film would be officially edited and released soon.

    So, hopefully soon, there will be a DVD release.
     
  20. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    From your mouth to God's (that is, Peter Becker's) ears, RAH.
     

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