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Mr. Arkadin: Aka Confidential Report: The Secret Sordid Life of an International Tycoon Paperback – April 6, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0061689031 ISBN-10: 0061689033

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Mr. Arkadin: Aka Confidential Report: The Secret Sordid Life of an International Tycoon + Film Noir Reader 4: The Crucial Films and Themes (Bk. 4) + The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061689033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061689031
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,894,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Back Cover

The only novel by Orson Welles, a witty, madcap, pulp-noir adventure of international intrigue, blackmail, and murder

The mysterious Mr. Arkadin claims he cannot remember anything of his life prior to the moment in 1927 when he found himself alone in Zurich with two hundred thousand Swiss francs in his pocket, a sum with which he subsequently built a vast fortune. Now a fabulously wealthy and influential financier, he enlists the services of one Van Stratten, a small-time smuggler and racketeer, charging him with the task of investigating Arkadin’s forgotten past. Traveling across the world—and through the seedy underworld of postwar Europe—Van Stratten begins piecing together information for his confidential report. But for some unknown and sinisterly suspicious reason, everyone he speaks to soon turns up dead.

The work of an acknowledged genius of the stage and cinema, Mr. Arkadin: Aka Confidential Report is the basis for the controversial motion picture written, directed by, and starring Welles himself—the movie the great auteur bemoaned as “the most butchered film of my career.” Welles’s hauntingly strange and exhilarating novel remains an enigmatic expression of his intentions and an enduring example of his storytelling brilliance.

About the Author

Orson Welles (1915-1985) was an Academy Award-winning director, writer, actor, and producer for film, stage, radio, and television.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Just after the war, Chesterfield smuggler Guy van Stratten and his girlfriend Mily find the dying man with a knife in his back near their boat the Queenie. Marcel Bracco tells them to find Gregory Arkadin if they want to make a fortune. The cops arrive as Bracco dies, but also look on board the Queenie where they find the illegal contraband. Guy spends the next three months behind bars.

After his release, Guy searches for and finds Mily who works on board Arkadin's ship. However, Guy also learns the great international financier has a daughter Raina and knows she is the best ticket to get to her father and subsequently a lot of money though he remains unsure how. Guy maneuvers a dance with Raina and a ride to Marseille. Guy meets Arkadin who hires him to find out who he was before arriving in Zurich in 1927 with 200,000 Swiss francs.

Although the novelization of the Welles' unfinished movie (as described by John Parker in the forward: apparently there were several versions but none finished by Welles) is an intriguing character study starring individuals who are shady and most often on the wrong side of the law. Although the tale is slow at first, once Guy and Raina meet, the action picks up until a final confrontation. Fans of Orson Wells will enjoy this entertaining reprint of a 1950s thriller as his antiheroes work post Europe with a capitalist need at the bottom line at all costs.

Harriet Klausner
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Before celebrity became common and mystery a cheap commodity, real characters such as the fictional Arkadin captivated a distant, envious public. Mr. Arkadin aptly feeds what then (circa mid-1950s) chattering classes demanded of their wealthy fixations. Fantasizing about such luminaries broke up the everyday in a manner current instantaneous communications renders immediate, and worse, more and more ordinary. A same-named movie is the book's source, but novelization has it's own charms. Although the work doesn't expand the film, it certainly does clarify aspects the movie needed to compress from necessity. Read this book and live vicariously in a pink Champagne world while you're at it.
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