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RKO281

Year: 1999
Studio: HBO
Director: Benjamin Ross
Cast: Liev Schreiber, John Malkovich, James Cromwell, Roy Scheider, Melanie Griffith
An entertaining movie that obviously has a strong sense of empathy for the struggles of its hero, Orson Welles (Liev Schreiber) as it tells the story of the upstart young writer/actor/director in trying to bring his seminal 1941 film to the screen despite the blacklisting it received from newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, on whom the film was reputed to be based. In fact, no Hearst newspapers even mentioned the film until the late 1970s when it was finally reviewed.

It's always interesting to see the names on the screen come to life - particularly Welles' sozzled co-writer Herman J Mankeowicz (Malkovich) and Hearst himself (Cromwell).

The filmmakers presume a sort of sixth sense on Welles for knowing his subject; some of Hearst's lines are straight from Kane's script - further cementing the fact that Welles got his subject so accurate.

How true it all is will probably never be known (the Hearst of the film, for example, has a secret file of photos showing various Hollywood studio heads in compromising positions), but it's a very interesting companion piece to the film on which it's based.

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