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MANK Directed by David Fincher Starring: Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman Are you familiar with the parable of the organ grinder’s monkey? - Mank The film follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic masterpiece “Citizen Kane” (1941). The biographical drama stars Gary Oldman as “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz who preferred to be called ‘Mank’. The publication of the shooting script for “Citizen Kane” provoked a controversy over the relative contributions of Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz. There were further problems relating to “Citizen Kane” which are touched on in “Mank” when Mank was warned about taking on the subject of William Randolph Hearst: You pick a fight with William. you are finished. Even Welles warned him: “I’ve eliminated every excuse: your family, your cronies, liquor. I gave you a second chance.” William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) was a powerful newspaper owner who ruled the media world and lived the life of wealth epitomised by his castle Xanadu. It’s 1940 and Mank is being quarantined out in the desert to write and finish the screenplay for what would ultimately be “Citizen Kane”. He staggers into the cottage at North Verde Ranch, broken-legged with a cane and a doctor in tow and a deadline of 60 days, “90,” pushes Mank. He’s gifted Rita Alexander (Lily Collins) to dictate the script as he rattles it off from bed. Collins is lovely here and evokes Audrey Hepburn in poise, presence, and speech. He has a lockbox of hooch to eke him through the process. Doc’s word of advice? “Tell the story you know,” Gary Oldman is oddly unconvincing as Mank when drunk, but is balanced by his performance when he is writing and convalescing. Back to the 30s and studio head Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard) gives a scene-stealing performance. He paints a face of simpering sadness as he collects his MGM family of players to ask them to take drastic pay cuts 4

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