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The Complete Mr. Arkadin (The Criterion Collection) (1962)

Orson Welles , Peter van Eyck , Orson Welles  |  NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave, Patricia Medina, Akim Tamiroff
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Writers: Orson Welles
  • Producers: Orson Welles, Louis Dolivet
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E1OI80
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,301 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Complete Mr. Arkadin (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Disc One: Mr. Arkadin: The Corinth Version, 1955, 99 minutes
  • Disc Two: Confidential Report, 1955, 98 minutes
  • Disc Three: Mr. Arkadin: The Comprehensive Version, 2006, 105 minutes
  • Audio commentary by scholars Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore on the Corinth Version
  • Interviews with Orson Welles biographer Simon Callow, star Robert Arden, radio producer Harry Alan Towers, director Peter Bogdonovich, and film archivists Stephan Droessler and Claude Bertemes
  • Three half-hour episodes of the radio program The Lives of Harry Lime, upon which the film is based
  • The new featurette On the Comprehensive Version
  • Outtakes, rushes, and alternate scenes from the film
  • Extensive stills gallery
  • 36-page booklet with essays on the film and its different versions
  • Mr. Arkadin, the novel, with a new preface by Robert Polito and a booklet featuring J. Hoberman; Rosenbaum, historian Francois Thomas and Droessler on the three versions

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Will the "real" Mr. Arkadin please stand up? Probably not. However, thanks to the folks at the Criterion Collection, we may now have a version of Mr. Arkadin that is as close as it's going to get to Orson Welles's original vision. Part Citizen Kane, part The Third Man, Mr. Arkadin is another Wellesian Post-War Noir tale about the unraveling of the defining secret of a powerful and wealthy tycoon. Welles plays the ruthless financier Mr. Arkadin who hires small time smuggler Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden) to investigate the amnesiac Arkadin's lost past and create a confidential report of his findings. Did the mysterious and elusive Mr. Arkadin simply want his criminal past uncovered? Or is his motive to erase a key missing piece of his past? As many fans know, the story of Mr. Arkadin's post-production and ascertaining which of the many versions is the most "Wellesian" is almost as mysterious as Guy Van Stratten's search for Gregory Arkadin's identity. Since the film is unfinished it does have an incomplete feel to it. For instance, it is very choppy with a few awkward jump cuts, there are lots of annoying overdubs that are not cleanly matched, the supporting cast is fairly weak and some scenes clearly needed to be reshot. However, the gems of the films are so precious, such as Welles's picturesque shots, unique camera angles, flashback story telling, and intricate plot, it's easy to overlook the shortcomings and classify Mr. Arkadin as essential Orson Welles.

Mr. Arkadin may have been written, directed and starred Orson Welles, but it sure wasn't edited by him. So the story goes, since it took Welles too long to complete the editing process, producer Louis Dolivet banned him from the editing room and never allowed Orson to get the final cut. Welles, who was known to say "All of the eloquence of my film is created in the editing room" disowned the film claiming it was the most butchered of all his works. There were many cuts made of the Mr. Arkadin film stock over the years, none of which are considered "definitive", all of which contain pieces to the overall puzzle. Fueled by their passion for film, along comes the Criterion Collection. Their mission, to take all the pieces of Mr. Arkadin's troubled past (the best available versions of the films, documented timelines, a reprinted version of the novel, scholarly documentaries and feature length commentaries), compile it and present it to fans in one incredibly comprehensive set letting them decide which is the real Arkadin. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (A.K.A. Confidential Report) includes digitally restored transfers of the two well known versions of the film (the flashback "Corinth" (99 minutes) version and the notorious linear "Confidential Report" (98 minutes)). In addition, there is a newly edited "comprehensive" version (105 minutes) pieced together by top Welles scholars who have an intimate understanding of his style, his creative direction, and thought process in the editing room. This new "comprehensive" version is the crown jewel of the set and without a doubt the best version of Mr. Arkadin ever released. While no one will ever know what Welles intended, you can’t help but feel this comprehensive version has got to be pretty darn close. Inevitably, purists may feel this is another instance of someone mucking with Welles's film stock, but in all honesty, the end result is stunning. So who is the real Mr. Arkadin? No one may ever know, but with the help of this set you have all you need to piece together the puzzle and draw your own conclusion. Enjoy. --Rob Bracco

Product Description

Orson Welles’s Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) is one of cinema’s great mysteries. How did a globetrotting narrative of espionage, amnesia, and backstabbing come to be itself marked by these qualities? In the film, small-time American smuggler Guy van Stratten is hired by elusive billionaire Gregory Arkadin to investigate the tycoon’s past. What follows is a dizzying descent into the Cold War landscape of a Europe trying to erase its history. In making the film, Welles was ultimately banned from the editing room by producer Louis Dolivet. As a result, many versions exist, none of them definitive. The Criterion Collection is proud to collect the many faces of Mr. Arkadin into one box for the first time—from the story’s beginnings in radio to the novel published under Welles’s name to an all-new "comprehensive version" of the film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Orson Welles wrote and directed "Mr. Arkadin" based on 3 episodes of "The Lives of Harry Lime" (1951-1952) radio show, in which Welles starred as antihero adventurer Harry Lime, reprising his role from the 1949 film "The Third Man". Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden) -con artist, "petty adventurer", and, according to himself, "the world's greatest sucker"- was smuggling cigarettes with girlfriend Mily (Patricia Medina) in Naples harbor when a man named Bracco (Gregoire Aslan) was stabbed on the dock. Bracco whispered 2 names to Mily with his dying breath. One name was Gregory Arkadin (Orson Welles), a fabulously wealthy international financier. Thinking that Bracco's dying words might be worth something to Arkadin, Guy tries to ingratiate himself with Arkadin's daughter Raina (Paola Mori), while Mily uses her charms to get close to him. Disapproving of Guy's relationship with Raina and realizing his ambitions, Mr. Arkadin proposes to pay Guy to investigate his past in exchange for Guy abandoning Raina. Arkadin claims to suffer from amnesia, knowing nothing before he found himself in Zurich in 1927 with 200,000 Swiss francs in his pocket. With this information, Guy criss-crosses Europe trying to reconstruct Arkadin's past. (4 stars)

"Mr. Arkadin" has been called a burlesque and a pastiche of Orson Welles' earlier films. It's not clear whether to take it literally, figuratively, or as satire -although the film's outrightly comic scenes are its best. Robert Arden's performance is often considered the weak spot in the film, because he doesn't make Guy Van Stratten sympathetic. I think Arden portrays Guy's clumsy, obnoxious ambition rather well actually. He's not a sympathetic character, but a junior Mr. Arkadin. There are many wonderful supporting performances. The weakness is Mr.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mosaic Retiled April 15, 2006
Format:DVD
Orson Welles more than any film director understood that film is a mosaic of tiles, and that it is in the act of piecing them together that a film is made. He also failed to do so about half the time, in part due to his nature, in part due to the nature of the business. He wrote, acted, directed in this manner, creating puzzle pieces much in the way Brian Wilson created "Smile" musically, and with similar results on "Mr. Arkadin". Wilson finally finished "Smile" two years ago; Welles has "Arkadin" finished for him with this box set.

Welles deliberately filmed "Arkadin" so that only he could fuse the fragments together properly to protect himself from interference. Then the producers took it away from him and over time arranged and released five different versions of it, none of which had the structure or story line Welles intended, one or two of which literally do not make sense. Working that way, juggling it all in his head, Welles did let some balls drop - in particular the opening section seems to have missing shots or even scenes (scenes which appear in the novel version included here, begun by Welles and finished by his secretary). This box set includes the two best previously released versions, both intriguing but flawed, and then a new version crafting together in beautifully remastered image and sound something much closer to what Welles would have done if he could have. It's still rather like the Ancient Roman novel (the first surviving) "Satyricon", wonderful large fragments of a great work in ruins. But what ruins. The flea circus scene, Michael Redgrave's pawnbroker, the Christmas orgy, the German ghetto, are all among the best stuff Welles ever filmed.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Orson Welles was many things - daring, ambitious, brilliant, egomaniacal - but structured was not one of them. When he was merely 21 he was given the keys to RKO and the right to make any film he wished. He made "Citizen Kane", not only one of the finest and most important pictures ever but also the subject of much wrangling between himself and William Randolph Hearst, one of the most powerful media tycoons in history. Though the film was released as he intended, Welles paid a heavy price for his hubris - he would never again enjoy that kind of creative control in any of his later films. His next feature, "The Magnificent Ambersons", was famously taken from him in editing and cut by nearly an hour, and the remaining nitrate was later destroyed. "The Stranger", "The Trial", "Don Quixote", and "Touch of Evil", among several others, suffered the same fate (thankfully ToE was at least later restored to his meticulous specifications). However, no film of Welles suffered as much as "Mr. Arkadin", described in his own words as his most butchered movie.

Before I describe the plot of the film or the details of this wonderful Criterion edition, you first must understand what version of the film I am discussing here, and a bit about it's tortured history. "Mr. Arkadin" was never completed by Welles or authorized by him in ANY form - so there is not a long-lost Director's Cut of the film or a clear and precise set of instructions by Welles to be carried out to their fullest intent (like the restored version of Touch of Evil, which was based on a 58-page memo that Welles sent Universal). ALL versions of this film were edited after Welles failed to deliver his cut on time - without his direct input.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Orson Welles
I love all things Orson! He is one of a kind and I enjoy all of his work. This movie arrived on time and is a great buy, highly recommended.
Published 23 days ago by Paul P.
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonsensical
Story is nonsense. Film quite disjointed and difficult to follow. Just as "Citizen Kane" was Wells' greatest film, this is
without doubt, his worst,
Published 4 months ago by Melvin S. Horowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Versions of a Great Film Presented in a Fascinating Boxed Set
Possibly Welles' most enigmatic and interesting film, the fact that there are three competent versions (all on the nifty Criterion Collection boxed set) adds even more mystery to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by macdougallgreen6
1.0 out of 5 stars One of Welles' worst
There isn't much new that can be said about Orson Welles (1915-85). He created some of the very best theatre, radio, and films in history, and is credited by almost everyone for... Read more
Published on August 10, 2011 by Dr. James Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Hallucinogenic Welles Labyrinth known as Mr. Arkadin
Re: The Corinth Version

Upon beginning Welles' epic Inception-esque neo-noir of a power-hungry man using the dredges of the world as his puppets, the average cinemaphile... Read more
Published on January 26, 2011 by A. Gyurisin
4.0 out of 5 stars Where is the beginning of the end of this plot?
A film typical of 1955, the very heart of the Cold War. Orson Welles though manages to write a book and then make a film that exposes one of these rich men after WW2 who made a... Read more
Published on December 20, 2010 by Jacques COULARDEAU
4.0 out of 5 stars For Orson enthusiasts only; movie = ***, add an extra for the bonus...
I picked this up in my on-going quest to get all things Orson Welles. I've now watched it once, and doubt I'll see it again any time soon. Then again, maybe it'll grow on me? Read more
Published on November 30, 2009 by Matthew Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Reasons for Five Stars
First, I would like to express my appreciation for the review by Felix Felicis (Apr. 20 2006) which I thought was extremely helpful and interesting and wise. Read more
Published on October 25, 2009 by Dorothy Mullen
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few artist whose legend is not hyperbole!
Unfortunate or fortunately I didn't dare spoil my plate by watching all 3 versions. I only watched the 3rd version which most critics proclaim as the most satisfying. Read more
Published on February 26, 2009 by R. Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This film may be the most intrinsically Wellesian of all his works, combining the story unspooling of Citizen Kane, the post-war shadiness of The Stranger and The Third Man, the... Read more
Published on September 14, 2008 by Cosmoetica
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