The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
Guy Van Stratten, American smuggler, leaves an Italian prison term with one asset, a dying man's words about wealthy, mysterious Gregory Arkadin. Guy finds it most pleasant to investigate Arkadin though his lovely daughter Raina, 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; can Guy himself survive it? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The shadows of the crew and camera operator are clearly seen at the very end of the film when the convertible drives off. See more »
And now I'm going to tell you about a scorpion. This scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked the frog to carry him. No, said the frog, no thank you. If I let you on my back you may sting me and the sting of the scorpion is death. Now, where, asked the scorpion, is the logic in that? For scorpions always try to be logical. If I sting you, you will die. I will drown. So, the frog was convinced and allowed the scorpion on his back. But, just in the middle of the river, he felt a terrible ...
See more »
It certainly doesn't rank as one of Welles' masterpieces. It moves too quickly, and it was obviously made cheaply (and he doesn't use this to his benefit, as he would a decade later when he made Chimes at Midnight). The sound is really bad, as it is in a couple of Welles' other late films. The screenplay is rather choppy, and I had difficulty following it at times (perhaps due to the quality of the sound recording). It also, at times, feels like a Frankenstein picture - that is, themes and styles from Welles' other films seem balled together to make Mr. Arkadin. It is most often compared with Citizen Kane. Both are about men researching the life of a great man, Charles Foster Kane and Gregory Arkadin. However, I feel that this comparison is more incidental than important. Mr. Arkadin is of an entirely different genre. It is a thriller, and it reminded me much more of The Stranger and The Lady from Shanghai than Citizen Kane. The basic story is as follows: a small-time blackmailer named Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden) is hired by the mysterious billionaire Gregory Arkadin to research his past. You see, Mr. Arkadin is an amnesiac. One morning, he woke up with a briefcase full of Swiss money. From there, he built an empire. Now he wants to find out who he was before that morning. Van Stratten flies all over the world following clues. What he discovers is that Arkadin's past is quite ugly. This part of the film reminds me of The Stranger. Van Stratten soon realizes that he's being played for a sucker by Arkadin, which is very reminiscent of The Lady from Shanghai. Mr. Arkadin is also Welles' first attempt at comedy (he'd play this angle in a more sophisticated way in The Trial and Chimes at Midnight). The characters who are interviewed by Van Stratten are such a wacky crew, Felliniesque, I would say. There are several exceptionally entertaining interviews, and a lot of crazy characters. The last is played by the great character actor Akim Tamiroff, who delivers one of his funniest performances. Stylistically, Mr. Arkadin reminds me of Welles' previous film, The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice. The editing is choppy and the dialogue spoken too quickly to register. In the end, the film just seems too rushed. It's a fun film, but I'm guessing that I won't remember any of it in a few hours. Perhaps it will seem better to me in the future. 8/10.
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?