Wealthy eccentric Mr Arkadin claims to have lost his memory, and hires Guy Stratten, an investigator, to find out all about his past But when the people interviewed start disappearing, Stratten begins to fear for his own life.
Wildly praised on its release, this oddity (known as Mr Arkadin on the other side of the Pond) from Orson Welles is as baffling as it is brilliant. The over-baked tale of a researcher (Robert Arden) hired to investigate the past of a wealthy amnesiac (Welles) smacks of Citizen Kane, but lacks Kane's consistent mastery and coherence. While the growing sense of suspense and danger as our researching hero gets close to the truth is cleverly bit, the whole suffers from sometimes over the top performances and confused editing.
That said, it boasts touches of Wellesian wit, a keep-you-guessing narrative and a delight in cinema that many more 'successful' movies don't come close to.
The film suffers from the inevitable comparison to Kane, but is nevertheless an impressive mystery in its own right.