Monday, November 16, 2020

New Yorker articles - prereading for MANK


"There is a theme that is submerged in much of “Citizen Kane” but that comes to the surface now and then, and it’s the linking life story of Hearst and of Mankiewicz and of Welles—the story of how brilliantly gifted men who seem to have everything it takes to do what they want to do are defeated. It’s the story of how heroes become comedians and con artists."

There's a piece by movie critic Richard Brody on David Fincher's new bio-pic fillum Mank, about the making of Welles's (ha!) Citizen Kane, in the current New Yorker. It discusses Pauline Kael's long 1971 article, also in the New Yorker about Mankiewicz, "the Central Park West Voltaire" more than the movie as far as I read. But I would consider this (the Kael) essential pre-reading before watching the movie, although a) I haven't finished it, b) I haven't seen the new movie obviously and I can't remember much (cough) about CK and c) it's probably behind a $-wall for most/all of you.

The Brody article quotes a 1978 biography of Mankiewicz with this line Mank was prepared to say if he had turned up the Oscars (he didn't) and Welles didn't. (Citizen Kane had won Best Script with both their names on it, even though Welles contributed SFA and he initally had wanted sole credit.) “I am very happy to accept this award in Mr. Welles’s absence, because the script was written in Mr. Welles’s absence.” Comic or con?

Either way, I think Voltaire would have approved, as does


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