Now see here, my good man. For the last half hour you've been saying goodbye and staying on. I wish you'd say 'How do you do' and go!
It's taken nigh on 44 years for my faith in America to be completely dismantled, razed, the earth salted, and one picture to put it all back together again, if for a moment only. The Belknap-Jacksons may have won in real life - they're everywhere now, at every lever of power - but the cinema is much more splendid, more true, and, it goes without saying, much preferred.
I'd like nothing more than to plead guilty to disliking this film for reasons of Welles loyalty - which, if you know me, I expect is something you already know runs very high for me and repels most small arms fire. No, the antagonism between Welles and Mankiewicz in Fincher's movie is, generously, greatly exaggerated by many of the early previews, the impressions gleaned from trailers, and subsequent publicity-adjacent clickbait articles. The washed-up writer on a long bid for a…
If you, like me, have already seen this film eleventy-seven times, the clarity of the high-definition transfer on Criterion's Blu-ray reveals and/or emphasizes the film's astonishing artificial-ness: the just-past-its-sell-by-date Hecht/MacArthur play, the yearning to be a pre-Code naughty thwarted because the principals all feel slightly aged out, over-polished, too on their marks; the pre-Breen/-Hays days are gone, and what's even more gone is doing mugs gallery/vaudeville revue strategies to spread the paychecks around and fill out the running time.