Netflix's Mank covers Citizen Kane screenwriter controversy

LOS ANGELES – The new movie Mank, which starts streaming on Netflix on Dec 4, takes audiences back to Hollywood’s golden era of the 1930s with a look at the making of one of the film industry’s most-celebrated gems.

Shot in black and white, it focuses on writer Herman J. Mankiewicz as he works on 1941 cinema classic Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest movie of all time. 

Mankiewicz and director Orson Welles battled over who would be credited for the screenplay.

Mank was directed by David Fincher and based on a screenplay penned by his father Jack, who died in 2003.

Fincher said he wanted the movie to bring to life the process of filmmaking and the colourful personalities behind it.

“This was a really wonderful sandbox,” Fincher said at a recent online screening of Mank.

“You had a great character at the centre of it who can expound very delightfully on everything that he encounters. And he was a great avatar to take a look at Hollywood in its heyday.” 

Mank has charmed many film critics, earning an 89 per cent positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website, which aggregates movie reviews.

Gary Oldman, who plays Mank, said he performed without prosthetics or props that have helped him in other roles.

“I’m glad we went that route because there’s no tricks, there’s no fireworks, there’s no wigs, there’s no false noses, there’s no prosthetics, there’s no padding,” Oldman said. 

“It’s just raw and there it is.” 

The filmmakers recreated 1930s film sets and studio lots, replicating the fashion as well as the lighting and editing styles used at the time.

Amanda Seyfried, who plays actress Marion Davies, said the Mank sets were “surreal”.

“I was enveloped in this era, this golden age of Hollywood on the lot,” she said. - REUTERS