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MANK (2020) on Netflix, no MARION DAVIES on TCM


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10 hours ago, HelenBaby2 said:

Herman Mankiewicz was Ben’s (and other people’s) grandfather. He died in 1953 before any of his grandchildren were born. 

Oops. I sometimes get them mixed up. As long as the rosebud connection is still there.

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Read an AV Club article today implying that there's some negative characterization of Orson Welles in that movie.  Dunno if that means the movie will be taking the now-discredited Pauline Kael position (held by Ben Mankiewicz as well, it seems) that Welles didn't deserve a co-screenwriting credit.

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4 hours ago, Vidor said:

Read an AV Club article today implying that there's some negative characterization of Orson Welles in that movie.  Dunno if that means the movie will be taking the now-discredited Pauline Kael position (held by Ben Mankiewicz as well, it seems) that Welles didn't deserve a co-screenwriting credit.

While Herman Mankiewicz is the main character, it'll be fascinating to see how they portray Orson Wells, William Randolph Hearst, and Marion Davies.  A  NY Times article said "Seyfried plays Marion Davies as surprisingly canny." Not sure how to take that comment......

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56 minutes ago, UMO1982 said:

While Herman Mankiewicz is the main character, it'll be fascinating to see how they portray Orson Wells, William Randolph Hearst, and Marion Davies.  A  NY Times article said "Seyfried plays Marion Davies as surprisingly canny." Not sure how to take that comment......

I had to look up the definition of canny;  having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, especially in money or business matters.

Ok,  that is a very positive statement especially a bout a women during that era.    But why add "surprisingly"?    What is that trying to convey.  

Is it a  knock on Davies in that the author of this article believed Davies was anything but "canny" but the director and screenwriter decided to have Seyfiend play her that way regardless?

Could this be tied to Susan from Kane?      I.e. the preconceived,  and false notion that Davies and Susan are very similar personas  (and Susan in Kane was clearly not canny).

 

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13 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I had to look up the definition of canny;  having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, especially in money or business matters.

Ok,  that is a very positive statement especially a bout a women during that era.    But why add "surprisingly"?    What is that trying to convey.  

Is it a  knock on Davies in that the author of this article believed Davies was anything but "canny" but the director and screenwriter decided to have Seyfiend play her that way regardless?

Could this be tied to Susan from Kane?      I.e. the preconceived,  and false notion that Davies and Susan are very similar personas  (and Susan in Kane was clearly not canny).

 

Agree with your last statement that this is probably the case.  The impression that Davies was Susan Kane and vice versa is probably fixed in the public mind (at least for those who know who Davies was and have seen Citizen Kane), even though Welles stated that Susan Kane is not based on Davies at all.  I reread the NYT article, and there's no reasoning given for the author's opinion of her (Seyfried's) performance or interpretation.  The author is a pop culture commentator, so it's unclear how savvy he is regarding old films and film actors.  

Here's an excerpt of Davies' biography from hearstcastle.org.

Shortly after meeting Hearst she became his constant companion and confidante. She was Hollywood’s foremost hostess, throwing lavish parties at both Hearst Castle and at a extraordinary mansion on the beach in Santa Monica. Dignitaries, Hollywood stars and famous athletes eagerly accepted invitations to her parties.  She followed the recommendations of Hearst’s financial advisors, avoided debt, and invested wisely in real estate.

During the late thirties, hard times hit Hearst Corporation, and Marion gave Hearst a check for one million dollars to save the company from collapse. According to those who knew her, this selfless act was just one example of Marion’s character. She founded the Marion Davies Children’s Clinic, now part of the UCLA Medical Center. In 1947, Davies and Hearst left San Simeon for the last time and moved to her home in Beverly Hills where Hearst died four years later.

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Davies was a star actress in films for 20 years, a film producer, a businesswoman, and a philanthropist.  She reigned at MGM for a decade, balancing the ambitions and spats among Hearst, Mayer, and Thalberg. She remained friendly with her major rivals at MGM: Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.

I wonder why anyone would be surprised that she was smart.

Davies was also one of the most popular people in Hollywood, a lavish hostess, and a generous friend to many.

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9 hours ago, UMO1982 said:

Davies was a star actress in films for 20 years, a film producer, a businesswoman, and a philanthropist.  She reigned at MGM for a decade, balancing the ambitions and spats among Hearst, Mayer, and Thalberg. She remained friendly with her major rivals at MGM: Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.

I wonder why anyone would be surprised that she was smart.

Davies was also one of the most popular people in Hollywood, a lavish hostess, and a generous friend to many.

Did you read Txfilmfan's reply above?     To me it offers solid reasons why someone (this pop culture commentator),  wouldn't  no jack about actresses from 100 years ago.

Isn't it a valid assumption that over 95% of the American public don't even know who Davies is?    

AND those that do may only know her because they were forced to watch Citizen Kane in a film class.

Yes, this is sad.       

I'm going to watch Five and Ten to cheer me up.

lesliehowardforever | Marion davies, Leslie howard, Old hollywood movies

 

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On 11/8/2020 at 10:57 AM, UMO1982 said:

Another rave.... Here's the Variety review, but it calls Marion Davies a "starlet," which she never was.

https://variety.com/2020/film/reviews/mank-review-gary-oldman-david-fincher-herman-j-mankiewicz-citizen-kane-1234823180/

Yes,  another mistake by the misguided media.     

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  • 2 weeks later...

MANK was set to film in 1990 but never got made. According to Variety:

"The project, which boasts a script by the director’s father, Jack Fincher, was originally supposed to get made in the 1990s by Polygram. At one point, Kevin Spacey, pre-sexual harassment scandal, was discussed for the lead role and Jodie Foster was considered to play Marion Davies."

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Ugh, this sure is a long wait...SO HOPING this will be good.

Last "Hollywood History" movie that I liked was CAT'S MEOW by Peter Bogdanovich. Kirsten Dunst was perfect as Marion Davies and whenever I saw Edward Herrmann in ANYTHING, I was reminded of Randolph Hearst. Eddie Izzard was a good Chaplin, but oh, Robert Downey Jr as Chaplin is perfection.

On 11/18/2020 at 9:37 AM, UMO1982 said:

MANK was set to film in 1990 but never got made. According to Variety

Wow, Jodie Foster is an incredible actress and certainly could have nailed it - although wispy beautiful, a little long in the tooth to portray 20-30ish Davies, though.

As for Spacey, I never liked him or his performances. He seemed smarmy, insincere & secretive in interviews, something I just chalked up to the awful invasion of privacy celebs get bombarded with, but ew. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

MANK is a superb film with an amazing performance by Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz. Two thoughts on the portrayal of Marion Davies: she did not speak with a Brooklyn accent and the film does away with her famous stammer. It was noted that while she stammered in private life, she never did when she was before the cameras.

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On 11/3/2020 at 1:19 PM, UMO1982 said:

I wonder why anyone would be surprised that she was smart. Davies was also one of the most popular people in Hollywood, a lavish hostess, and a generous friend to many.

Some people tend to think "beautiful" people are successful because of their looks, especially a woman.

I watched half last night and will finish it tonight. I wasn't "sucked in" like I like a movie to do. It's especially easy when it's a subject I like as much as this, so not sure what the problem is. The dialogue seems "talky" instead of "snappy", and is delivered too fast to savor the intent. While Gary Oldman is a standout actor, I'm still not on his side as far as the story goes, although like many "genius" seems to be portrayed having a quirky personality.

Annoying touches: 1. The 20 minute reel change "black dot" in the upper right corner. Not even at the 20 minute point! C'mon.

2. The typed "chapter" titles at the bottom of the screen akin to a script. Read "day" or "night" and the notation (flashback) is distracting rather than grounding.

3. The "naming" of every charactor. The actors are made up to resemble the actual person (except Norma Shearer) They should be REFERRED TO, not a random sentence thrown in to NAME them. For example: it's much better for the charactors to say, "Well,  what does Thalberg think?" rather than, "Well, let's ask Irving Thalberg over at MGM what he thinks." The audience will more naturally figure it out.

I'm watching this on an 80" big screen. While I haven't calibrated it, the photography is very high contrast which is tiring for me to watch. I wish there were lighter, maybe softer focus. Looks like it's photographed with filters or maybe altered in PhotoShop. In comparison PAPER MOON's B&W photography is luscious, and easy to watch.

None of the portrayals seem unflattering to me so far. Even Louis Mayer's antics are portrayed pretty comically. MrTiki has zero idea of the story except having seen Citizen Kane. All this backstory is new to him. He seems to enjoy it and thinks it will build up to be a better story in pt 2. 

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Sadly, the rest was not any better. Neither MrTiki or I felt ANYTHING for any of the charactors. I have to believe the harsh photography contributed somewhat. Mostly is was just clunky uninspired dialogue-pretty ironic considering this is a story about a brilliant screenwriter!

Thankfully, there was no salaciousness or exploitative scenes, it was kept pretty civil. Everyone's acting was superb as was the sets, costuming & hair. There was very little Welles but the guy who played him was believable. 

The real missing piece was illustrating where the idea of Citizen Kane really came from. It appears as if Mank was just hired to write whatever story came into his mind. Wouldn't you guess Welles asked for a particular type of story? Don't you think he would be having input along the way? I do.

The movie shows political involvement by movie studios as possibly an inspiration. It shows Mank's relationship to Hearst & Davies pretty clearly, although Hearst says little. But the motivations & impact are not clear at all. Instead, too many scenes were not necessary, actually repetitive of unimportant, minor points.

I'll give this another look sometime since I so love the subject. Maybe I missed something snoozing. MANK just evoked little response  emotionally. 

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20 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Sadly, the rest was not any better. Neither MrTiki or I felt ANYTHING for any of the charactors. I have to believe the harsh photography contributed somewhat. Mostly is was just clunky uninspired dialogue-pretty ironic considering this is a story about a brilliant screenwriter!

Thankfully, there was no salaciousness or exploitative scenes, it was kept pretty civil. Everyone's acting was superb as was the sets, costuming & hair. There was very little Welles but the guy who played him was believable. 

The real missing piece was illustrating where the idea of Citizen Kane really came from. It appears as if Mank was just hired to write whatever story came into his mind. Wouldn't you guess Welles asked for a particular type of story? Don't you think he would be having input along the way? I do.

The movie shows political involvement by movie studios as possibly an inspiration. It shows Mank's relationship to Hearst & Davies pretty clearly, although Hearst says little. But the motivations & impact are not clear at all. Instead, too many scenes were not necessary, actually repetitive of unimportant, minor points.

I'll give this another look sometime since I so love the subject. Maybe I missed something snoozing. MANK just evoked little response  emotionally. 

 

Oh, Tiki..... I thought it was a great film. Loved the look of it and it captured the era perfectly. After all it's not a documentary.

One of the great moment follows Mayer blubbering out of Thalberg's funeral and getting into his limo. Loved it!

And while they didn't getting Marion Davies quite right (she had no NOO YAWK accent but did have a stammer), they at least got her vivaciousness right.

I thought they did well with Hearst. He was a quiet rather reserved man despite his ferocious business side.

So OK I didnt care much about the long Upton Sinclair bit ... but it did show the power of something called FAKE NEWS .....

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A friend of mine was A Camera  on this film, which was actually shot in black and white, not just shot in color and then having the saturation drained out.  It was a specially built RED camera that should render superior black and white images more like what we classic film fans are used to seeing.  Can't wait to check it out!

 

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Ugh.  Finally streamed this tonight. What a complete and utter dud. Hard to express how truly terrible this film is.  TikiSoo pretty much sums up my response as well.  Fincher got almost nothing right here.  The narrative is mangled and unsure and flat.  And for ANYONE who doesn't know even a minor bit of the history of Kane and Mank and Thalberg, I can't imagine for a minute that they would have any interest in this story.  I bailed out before the end, unable to spend anymore time with this wasted effort.  Even "Hollywood" for all its flaws, at least had a bit of panache, while this had nothing to show for all the money that was spent on it.

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On 11/3/2020 at 10:39 AM, jamesjazzguitar said:

I had to look up the definition of canny;  having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, especially in money or business matters.

Ok,  that is a very positive statement especially a bout a women during that era.    But why add "surprisingly"?    What is that trying to convey.  

Is it a  knock on Davies in that the author of this article believed Davies was anything but "canny" but the director and screenwriter decided to have Seyfiend play her that way regardless?

Could this be tied to Susan from Kane?      I.e. the preconceived,  and false notion that Davies and Susan are very similar personas  (and Susan in Kane was clearly not canny).

 

There was a very good, made for HBO film called RKO281 where Davies was played by Melanie Griffith. It wasn’t very flattering to her, as she was portrayed as a drunk, but she didn’t come across as dumb either. 

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