RKO 281 - The Battle Over Citizen Kane
Last night I watched RKO 281, and to be honest with you I had no idea watching it that it was an HBO made-for-tv movie.
It was very well done, and very well made. Production values were very high. Honestly, I couldn't really offer more about the plot and writing than has been said in numerous reviews. It glosses over things, it changes history around. It's "historical fiction" and "based on a true story" at it's best.
One thing I disagree with: several people have disparaged the portrayal of Marion Davies. I thought Melanie Griffith did a fantastic job, and I loved the character. I thought she had a lot of strength, and I can't see it as a negative portrayal at all. I think people went into watching it and expected, because it was based on Citizen Kane, for her to be portrayed unfairly.
I think that the acting is what is so phenomenal in this film. It is full of powerhouse actors, huge names, and they all earn their reputations here. I noticed it was nominated for a lot of awards for casting, and that makes perfect sense.
Liev Schreiber really embodies Orson Welles. One thing that I was amazed by when I watched Citizen Kane in my first film class so many years ago was that Orson Welles was an extremely handsome man. If People magazine had been around, he would have been the sexiest man alive at least once.
Schreiber has that appeal, and that dashing handsomeness. But he also has the ego, and the enigmatic nature. If he hadn't been up against Jack Lemmon, he could have easily gotten an Emmy from the role. And if the film had been released theatrically, he would have deserved an Oscar nomination.