RKO 281 (1999)

Today’s Hollywood is a much different and salacious beast than the Hollywood studio system that Orson Welles got into back in 1940.  Back then, pretty much one man controlled most of the media outlets in America, and he used those newspapers and radio stations to broadcast his own views to the country.  Because of William Randolph Hearst, many of the film studios would not dream of ever offended him so as not to be blacklisted throughout his many media holdings.  Also around this time period, Adolf Hitler started his evil rampage and yes, there are many similarities between Hearst and Hitler.  Begins with H, six letters, also the evil tendencies they had.

RKO 281 has nothing to do with Randy Orton, and it is actually the original production number of the film Citizen Kane, widely considered to be one of the greatest American movies ever made and it really is that good.  Kane was the creation of Welles (Liev Schreiber) and Herman J. Mankiewicz (John Malkovich), and it is also widely believed to be completely about Hearst (James Cromwell) and his life choices.  I wasn’t there, so I can only comment that yes, that appears to be exactly what it is based on everything that I’ve seen and read.

Anyways, the movie RKO 281 is all about the production of the movie, and the war to get it released.  Normally I like my Welles impersonators to be a bit more bombastic (more like Christian McKay in Me and Orson Welles), but I guess Schrieber does a decent enough job.  It was also a pleasure to enjoy a Roy Scheider performance again.  There’s some decent acting going on, but it all just felt cut too much.  There’s a wealth of content that could have been used to pad out the running time a bit, add some meat on to the bones.  As it stands, it’s an enjoyable enough film, but it left me hungry for more.

3.5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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