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RKO 281

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Overview

When RKO Pictures began work on production number 281, no one could have imagined that they were making perhaps the greatest American film of all time. But the moment Orson Welles played by Liev Schreiber announced that he intended to make a film based on the life of tyranical multi-millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst James Cromwell, they knew that they had trouble on their hands. Welles, the enfant terrible of American theater and a household name thanks to his infamous radio adaptation of H.G. Wells's...
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Overview

When RKO Pictures began work on production number 281, no one could have imagined that they were making perhaps the greatest American film of all time. But the moment Orson Welles played by Liev Schreiber announced that he intended to make a film based on the life of tyranical multi-millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst James Cromwell, they knew that they had trouble on their hands. Welles, the enfant terrible of American theater and a household name thanks to his infamous radio adaptation of H.G. Wells's "The War Of The Worlds, was signed to direct films for RKO, and he was given an unusually free hand to make whatever sort of film he wanted. But what Welles didn't count on was the power of Hearst to keep his film from being seen. RKO 281 is based on the true story of the making of Citizen Kane and the war of words between Welles and Hearst. It also stars Melanie Griffith as Hearst's mistress Marion Davies, John Malkovich as screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, Brenda Blethyn as Hearst's movie columnist Louella Parsons, and Roy Scheider as George Schaefer.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Interactive menus; Cast & crew bios; Language/subtitles and chapter selections
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Mining the controversy behind a certified masterpiece, RKO 281 is a film about the greatest film ever made -- namely, Citizen Kane. With visual gusto and verbal economy, it lushly dramatizes the story of 25-year-old theater wunderkind Orson Welles, whose stunning film debut incurs the wrath of media mogul William Randolph Hearst -- the inspiration for Citizen Kane's complex and corrupt title character. Hearst's furious campaign against the film nearly convinced the moguls to burn the negative before its release. Scream veteran Liev Schreiber plays Welles as a bullying genius, at turns cruel to his party-prowling screenplay writer Herman Mankiewicz John Malkovich and condescending to his sympathetic RKO studio boss George Schaefer Roy Scheider. Director Benjamin Ross, inspired by the American Experience documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane," frames the story as a battle of colossal egos -- Welles, the artist, versus Hearst James Cromwell, a bitter patrician on the brink of bankruptcy. He doesn't stray much into Citizen Kane itself or the political atmosphere of the time, and keeps the ride taut. That, and the wonderful performances by Melanie Griffith as Marion Davies Hearst's mistress and Brenda Blethyn as gossip crone Louella Parsons, make it a ride well worth taking.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/3/2012
  • UPC: 883316453629
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 5,528

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Liev Schreiber Orson Welles
James Cromwell William Randolph Hearst
Melanie Griffith Marion Davies
John Malkovich Herman Mankiewicz
Brenda Blethyn Louella Parsons
Roy Scheider George Schaefer
David Suchet Louis B. Mayer
Fiona Shaw Hedda Hopper
Liam Cunningham Gregg Toland
Lucy Cohu Dolores Del Rio
Kerry Shale Bernard Herrmann
Tim Woodward Jack Warner
Ron Berglas David O. Selznick
Geoffrey Hutchings Harry Cohn
Roger Allam Walt Disney
Jay Benedict Darryl F. Zanuck
Anastasia Hille Carole Lombard
Technical Credits
Benjamin Ross Director
John Altman Score Composer
Su Armstrong Producer
David Daniels [countertenor] Asst. Director
Clive Derbyshire Sound/Sound Designer
Maria Djurkovic Production Designer
Lora Kennedy Casting
Diane Minter Lewis Executive Producer
John Logan Screenwriter
Alex Mackie Editor
Joyce Nettles Casting
Tony Scott Executive Producer
Ridley Scott Executive Producer
Mike Southon Cinematographer
Chris Zarpas Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- RKO 281
1. Main Title/Orson Makes a Wish [4:14]
2. "Good Evening, Mr. Hearst" [8:57]
3. "Take My Hand, Mank." [8:27]
4. Genius at Work [5:58]
5. RKO 281 Begins [7:13]
6. "Come Back, Mank." [4:07]
7. RKO 281 Wraps [3:17]
8. The First Screening [5:22]
9. Hearst Strikes [10:11]
10. Pressure Builds [8:41]
11. Hollywood Vs. Welles [8:35]
12. End Game [11:29]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- RKO 281
   Chapters
   Cast & Crew Bios
      Cast
         Orson Welles -- Liev Schreiber
         William Randolph Hearst -- James Cromwell
         Marion Davies -- Melanie Griffith
         Herman Mankiewicz -- John Malkovich
         Louella Parsosn -- Brenda Blethyn
         George Schaefer -- Rov Scheider
      Crew
         Directed by -- Benjamin Ross
         Written by -- John Logan
   Languages
      English Dolby 5.1
      English Dolby Surround
      Spanish Mono
   Subtitles
      English
      Français
      Español
      Subtitles: None
   Play Movie
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Comments for RKO 281

    I first saw it on HBO and I was hooked in it ever since. I hope to buy the dvd next month. Tried to get it via my local library gut all they had was the video version, but I saw it nonetheless and love every minute of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    MUST SEE/OWN

    ACCIDENTLY CAME ACROSS THIS FLIX. IT EXPLAINED CITIZEN KANE, FINALLY. NOW I GET IT. I BOUGHT IT.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews