So, how much did you know about Mr. Arkadin?
Our Monday Quiz may have been a tough one especially to those unfamiliar with this 1955 Orson Welles movie shot in Europe. Welles plays a wealthy and super nasty financier obsessed with keeping his daughter in the dark about just how rotten he is.
There’s a gullible American hired to find out the character’s secret. There’s a range of bizarre characters including a fey fence disguised as an Amsterdam antique dealer and a flea trainer in Copenhagen. The plot is tricky and sometimes contradictory, but who cares.
The movie moves like wildfire, sparked by marvelously idiosyncratic performances from a solid international cast. And Welles appears to have enjoyed every minute playing the hulking nasty of uncertain origin, one Gregory Arkadin. ( Watch for Katina Paxinou late in the movie as an ex-madame; she nearly steals the show.)
Ok, on to the answers to yesterday’s Quiz. (To review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.) Here we go:
1) Answer: c) Mr. Ardkadin was filmed during Welles’ extended expat period in the 1950’s hopping from one European capitol to the next.
2) Answer: d) Confidential Report was the title Mr. Arkadin opened in 1955 via Warner Bros., which had acquired distribution rights (except U.S., Canada and Spain). The title was suggested by Welles himself.
3) Answer: a) Charles Foster Kane, the protagonist of Citizen Kane. The comparisons of Mr. Arkadin to Welle’s debut classic don’t generally hold up. But the protagonists share some similar qualities.
4) Answer: d) Ronald Colman.
5) Answer: This is at least partially a) true. Welles’ third and final wife was Paola Mori, an Italian-born actress, who plays Arkadin’s daughter Raina in Mr. Arkadin. This may be the only time in classic Hollywood history in which the director plays the father of his wife in the same movie. Mori died in 1986 at age 57 in an auto accident. She and Welles had a daughter, Beatrice.
6) Answer: b) False. Joseph Cotten is not in Mr. Arkadin, but his wife, Patricia Medina, is. And she’s terrific as a floozy-stripper who knows more about Arkadin’s past than is good for her. Medina is very sexy in her part, and pulls it off with panache. She and Cotten were married for 34 years.
7) Answer: The “Mark Sharp” cited in the one sheet for the Spanish version of Mr. Arkadin is really Robert Arden, a Anglo-American actor who worked with Welles in his “Harry Lime” radio series. Arden, who died in 2004, didn’t have an extensive career. Mr. Arkadin is probably his stellar credit. (That’s Arden pictured to the right of Mischa Auer as former crook turned carnival stunt man who trains fleas for a living.)
8) Answer: The basic material for Mr. Arkadin came from various sources including b) a radio play and c) a novel put together by Welles. He is credited with the film’s original story, screenplay and direction.
9) Answer: b) False.
10) Answer: a) True. Welles left Europe for the U.S. in the fall of 1955. By that time Mr. Arkadin was mired in various legal contretemps with its creator completely removed from the commercial destiny of his film.