RKO 281

HBO, debuts Nov. 20

"I've got it," exults Orson Welles (Liev Schreiber, right, with Roy Scheider), describing his concept for Citizen Kane (studio production No. RKO 281): "A titanic figure of limitless ambition...controlling the deceptions of everyone beneath him." Welles means William Randolph Hearst, the ruthless magnate he would nail in the movie that, owing to Hearst's power, almost went unreleased. The irony: like Hearst, the auteur was driven to selfish cruelty for his (artistic) ends. Despite Schreiber's intensity and charm, this film never plumbs its subject's soul as Welles' did, but it's an often absorbing study of free expression and its human cost.

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