I've been to all three press screenings anticipating the New York
Welles retrospective. The prints for THE MAGNIFICENT
AMBERSONS and THE STRANGER look fine, not super-duper-perfect but very
The print for CONFIDENTIAL REPORT, which FF's press liaison says came
from a French lab, looks stunning - the best I've seen. Either this
is an archival print that's been kept clean for fifty years, or a new
(and thorough) restoration. Even the worst shot in the film - Milly's
first lines, "You know we can't afford any trouble," etc., as she
backs across a huge crate - a shot that looks (on the Criterion
laserdisc and the British DVD) to have been shot using an 8mm home
movie camera, looks fine. The print greatly alleviates the heavy
grain of the British DVD and the lack of clarity in the laserdisc
transfer. (I've never seen it on tape.)
Going by Jonathan Rosenbaum's essay, this is ARKADIN #6, the one
called CONFIDENTIAL REPORT. It includes: bats in the titles, the
framing device which begins with Van Stratten's meeting with Jakob
Zouk, the Georgian toast, the scene near the beginning with the black
American pianist, and so on.
Word is, OTHELLO will be the newly-scored "restoration" version.
I found THE STRANGER to be much stronger than I remembered, first
seeing it at the tender age of fifteen or sixteen. It's also more
Wellesian - against the grain of its thriller/anti-Nazi template -
than general wisdom would have it.