The Mank-A-List

by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

Movies to Watch If you Liked Mank

If you watched Mank on Netflix and want to know more about the world of Herman Mankiewicz, Orson Welles, William Randolph Hearst, and Marion Davies, here is a list of movies to check out. 

Citizen Kane

The movie that started it all. Considered to be the greatest American film ever made, it needs no introduction. It’s one of those films that you can’t call yourself a cinephile if you haven’t seen. Although Mank is more about Herman Mankowicz than the film he’s writing, seeing Citizen Kane can only enhance the experience. You don’t need to have seen Citizen Kane to enjoy Mank, but it’ll help you get the visual references and allusions to this classic. 

American Experience: The Battle over Citizen Kane 

This documentary tells the story of two men: Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst and their battle over the film that would immortalize them both. The film juxtaposes the life stories of Welles and Hearst and the reflections of both men in the character of Charles Foster Kane.

 It goes into detail about Hearst’s campaign to have the film destroyed as well. This is the story behind the masterpiece that was almost never released. 

RKO 281

RKO 281 is a dramatization of the making of Citizen Kane and the battle between Hearst and Welles. It has an all-star cast with Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles, James Cromwell as William Randolph Hearst, John Malkovich as Herman Mankiewicz, and Melanie Giffith as Marion Davies. 

The Cat’s Meow

William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, and Thomas Ince on Hearst’s yacht in 1924. Based on Hollywood lore, in this film, director Peter Bogdanovich puts forth the rumor told most often about what really happened that would end the life of Thomas Ince. 

Based on the play by Steven Peros, the film has a strong script and great performances by Edward Herrrman as Hearst, Kirsten Dunst as Davies, and Eddie Izzard as Chaplin. Joanna Lumley is outstanding as Elenore Glynn, and Bogdanovich shows he’s a master of his craft. 

The Other Side of the Wind

In 2018 Netflix released The Other Side of the Wind, a previously unfinished film directed by Orson Welles, over 30 years after his death. It stars John Houston as Jake Hannaford, a director attempting to finish his masterpiece.

Some  would say Hannaford is a stand-in for Welles, though Welles would deny the film was about him. Hannaford is an older director with his best days behind him attempting to make an art film and seeking “end money” from the studio. The Other Side of the Wind is incredibly meta, with stand-ins for the various people in Welles’s life like the young up-and-coming director Brooks Otterlake, played by Peter Bogdanovich, who is essentially Peter Bogdanovich. 

In case this film wasn’t meta enough for you, watch the companion piece-

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead 

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is a documentary that gives us insight into Orson Welles, the man, the filmmaker, and the legend. We see Welles as an artist who went through the wringer of the Hollywood system, a man whose later work would forever be compared to Citizen Kane. The film is a biography of Welles by people who knew him, unflinching and not always flattering.

If you’re interested in more movies about movies and movie making, check out No Rest for the Weekend Presents: Top 10 Documentaries About Movies.

For William J. Hammon’s review of Mank click here.

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