Confidential Report (1955)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Confidential Report (1955) Poster

An elusive billionaire hires an American smuggler to investigate his past, leading to a dizzying descent into a cold-war European landscape.


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User Reviews

2 April 2004 | Ben_Cheshire
| Not for Newbies - make this one of the last Welles pictures you see, and you'll love it.
To get the full value out of Arkadin, i recommend you only see it once you've seen most other Welles pictures, from the Good (Kane, Ambersons, Trial, Falstaff, Touch of Evil), The Bad... okay, they're all still interesting, i wouldn't call any of them bad, but some of them were more marred by production conditions (Othello, Macbeth) or cutting by the studio (Lady from Shanghai) than others. If you've fallen in love with Welles' brilliant pictures, seen the times when he wasn't able to realise his ambitions, and heard about all his unfinished films and seen the tantalising segments from some of them (notably, for me, Merchant of Venice and famously The Other Side of the Wind), you'll appreciate that we were able to see Mr Arkadin at all!

So while i know there is so much to admire in Arkadin, that each frame is aching with Wellesian visual beauty (which is closer to unusual/strangeness than classical beauty), i know that most people, especially Wellesian newbies, will find Arkadin inaccessible. The fact that it is quite difficult to follow, and its dialogue is often hard to understand, is made worse by the fact that its picture and soundtrack are in bad condition on all available video/dvd releases. The other notable thing about Arkadin is that it is available in different forms (like most Welles movies). Welles' initial Arkadin must have been quite disconcerting indeed. Like they usually did, the studio cut a fair portion of it, but still left it in its flashback form (which varies from one to two party scenes). Later on, someone, i don't know who, reordered Arkadin so it played out in chronological order. This is the version available for wide release in America, with Tony Curtis (for what reason i don't know) doing an introduction, and talking more about Kane than Arkadin. The only australian release of Arkadin at present seems to be the chronological one, so if i ever get my hands on the others i may write separate reviews on those.

And no it is not sufficient to sum Arkadin up as a poor remake of Kane. It has only superficial elements in common with Kane (mystery into true nature of old man, flashbacks), but visually it is nothing like Kane. I always put off watching it because i was upset by people's saying it was a poor man's Citizen Kane - but whoever said that can't have seen the same Arkadin i did.

For Welles fans there is so much to marvel at. It is one brilliant, original frame after another. I just couldn't watch it slow enough. I had to pause it about every ten seconds to wind back and watch something again and go "oooh" and "aaah." It also has sexy Patricia Medina and a great score.

Some favourite scenes:

The tracking back shot of Van Stratten (Robert Arden) going up the steps to Zouk's place (Akim Tamiroff).

The scenes of snow falling outside Zouk's place.

Every scene where Van Stratten is interviewing an eccentric character from Arkadin's past. All are such wonderful scenes. Especially the flea circus master scene.

The rocking boat scene is incredible. The sexual energy of voluptuous, erect-nippled Patricia Medina, stumbling around the room, giggling and taunting Arkadin as the rocking boat mirrors the shakiness of her drunken state.

There is a magestic tracking shot in the party scene, which takes place in a sort of ballroom resembling the Ambersons' ballroom, where i believe Welles almost made up for the studio's cutting up a similar sweeping unbroken tracking shot through the room in the ballroom scene in Magnificent Ambersons.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


The novel and the screenplay were both based on an episode in the radio series, "The Lives of Harry Lime", in which Welles played his Harry Lime character as rather less villainous that he was in The Third Man (1949). In this movie, the Harry Lime character is renamed "Guy Van Stratten", and was played by Robert Arden, while Welles played Arkadin. The radio episode was number thirty-seven in the series, titled "Man of Mystery", and first broadcast on April 11, 1952. The introduction to the episode also described this movie: "One late afternoon a couple of years ago, a plane was sighted about seventy miles out of Orly Airport in Paris. It was a private plane, medium sized, and nobody was in it; nobody at all. The plane, keeping its course steadily toward Paris, was flying itself. Why was it empty? Who had been flying it? And why, and under what circumstances, had they left it? Why? Thereby hangs a tale."


Guy Van Stratten: Well, you know me.
Raina Arkadin: Do I?
Guy Van Stratten: Maybe not yet, honey, but you're going to.
Raina Arkadin: Ha-ha-ha.
Guy Van Stratten: What's so comical?
Raina Arkadin: I like your being tough, its just too bad you're such a corn ball.


When he meets Guy van Stratten, Jakob Zouk's beard is much heavier in close-ups.

Alternate Versions

There are five versions of the film, Mr. Arkadin. -There is the public domain version, the one most common in America. After the opening credits, it begins with Van Stratten's narration on the docks. It is told in linear time. -There is the European version, called Confidential Report. It has footage of papier maché bats in the credits, and has some footage not seen in the public domain version. It is told in flashbacks. -There is the version currently in possession of Corinth Films. According to Welles friend Peter Bogdanovich, this version and its first four scenes correspond directly to Orson Welles' intentions. It is told in flashbacks. -There is a Spanish language version that corresponds directly to the Corinth version. However, the roles played by Katina Paxinou and Suzanne Flon are now played by Spanish actresses (Irene López Heredia and Amparo Rivelles). -As of 2005, there is a version being prepared by the Munich Filmmuseum that not only contains footage found in different versions of the film, but also corresponds as closely as possible to the complete intentions of Orson Welles.


Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Music by
Franz Xaver Gruber
Played by the band outside Zouk's apartment building


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller


Release Date:

2 October 1962


English, German, French, Polish

Country of Origin

France, Spain, Switzerland

Filming Locations

London, England, UK

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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