Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Charles Dance, Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey, Sam Troughton, Ferdinand Kingsley, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Burke, Joseph Cross, Jamie McShane, Toby Leonard Moore, Monika Grossman, Jeff Harms, Leven Rambin
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Netflix’s bio-drama directed by David Fincher and written by his father, Jack Finch. Set in 1940, the story centers on alcoholic critic and screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane and the problems that arose with Orson Welles (Tom Burke) during production and leading up to the film’s release.
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Our Favorite Quotes:'You cannot capture a man's entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.' - Herman Mankiewicz (Mank) Click To Tweet This is a business where the buyer gets nothing for his money but a memory. What he bought still belongs to the man who sold it. That's the real magic of the movies.' - Louis B. Mayer (Mank) Click To Tweet 'In socialism, everyone shares the wealth. In communism, everyone shares the poverty.' - Herman Mankiewicz (Mank) Click To Tweet 'If you keep telling people something untrue, loud and long enough, they're apt to believe it.' - Herman Mankiewicz (Mank) Click To Tweet
Rita Alexander: How do you do, Mr. Mankiewicz?
Herman Mankiewicz: That’s a big question.
John Houseman: [to Mank] I will meet with Orson weekly. Keep him to date on our progress. We’re expecting great things. What is it the writer says? “Tell the story you know.”
Orson Welles: Mank! Houseman tells me we have you just where we want you.
Herman Mankiewicz: Lucky me.
Orson Welles: How’s the leg?
Herman Mankiewicz: “Thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone.”
Orson Welles: Excellent. Ready and willing to hunt the great white whale?
Herman Mankiewicz: Just call me Ahab.
Herman Mankiewicz: I understand we’ve ninety days.
Orson Welles: Let’s aim for sixty.
Herman Mankiewicz: [to Houseman] He’s just cut a month.
Herman Mankiewicz: I used to do it in five for you at the Mercury. This is leisurely.
Herman Mankiewicz: Is the reason you lopped thirty days to run it past the RKO legal?
Orson Welles: I thought I told you, Mank. I have final cut, final everything. There are no studio notes. We’ll have no one but ourselves to blame.
Orson Welles: If anyone should ask, tell them you’re adapting.
Herman Mankiewicz: Oh, you don’t know this sun-bleached sewer here, my friend. Break wind at Hollywood and Vine, and a producer in Santa Monica reports a ruptured main.
Orson Welles: No, I don’t know this burgh. Not yet. I’m toiling with you in spirit, Mank.
Herman Mankiewicz: [referring to Welles] No notes. And then he turns twenty-four. Trapped.
Herman Mankiewicz: [flashback to weeks earlier] They let me go just as I achieved perfect equilibrium. I won’t work with half the producers on the lot, and the other half won’t work with me.
Sara Mankiewicz: What’s this, a racing form?
Herman Mankiewicz: You stop reading, you stop learning.
Herman Mankiewicz: [drunk] Cigarette, please.
Sara Mankiewicz: Hermie, if a match gets anywhere near your breath, you’ll burst into flames.
Herman Mankiewicz: You mark my words, Sara. The Wizard of Oz is going to sink that studio.
Orson Welles: [after his car accident, Welles visits Mank in the hospital] Mank? It’s Orson Welles.
Herman Mankiewicz: Of course it is.
Orson Welles: I think it’s time we talked.
Herman Mankiewicz: I’m all ears.
Rita Alexander: [referring the the script] I know who it is. Or who it’s meant to be.
Herman Mankiewicz: What makes you think it’s meant to be anybody?
Rita Alexander: Oh, come, now. Everyone in the English speaking world will recognize him instantly.
Herman Mankiewicz: Exactly what he would say.
Rita Alexander: [referring to Hearst] Did you know the man?
Herman Mankiewicz: Maybe. I used to.
Rita Alexander: You wrote for one of his papers?
Herman Mankiewicz: Oh, no, praise God. I met him after he started bankrolling his girlfriend’s pictures.
Rita Alexander: You knew Marion Davies?
Herman Mankiewicz: If anyone did.
Rita Alexander: Really? What’s she like?
Herman Mankiewicz: Why is it when you scratch a prim, starchy English schoolgirl, you get a swooning moving-picture fan who has forgotten all she ever learned about the Battle of Hastings?
Rita Alexander: Hastings. 14 October 1066, ten centigrade.
Ben Hecht: [1930 – flashback] Mank once bet me a five-spot to see how long it would take a falling leaf to hit the ground. Had to go to management to cover it.
Charles Lederer: For five bucks?
Ben Hecht: Five thousand.
Ben Hecht: Well, we see a different kind of Paramount picture.
David O. Selznick: Different how?
Charles MacArthur: Frankenstein and The Wolf Man all rolled into one, only…
David O. Selznick: I don’t make cheap horror pictures, Universal does.
Herman Mankiewicz: This is different. This is about something.
Herman Mankiewicz: Thunder, lightning, blood, fire, religion.
David O. Selznick: All in one film?
Herman Mankiewicz: And with an unseasonal thaw. A sequel.
David O. Selznick: I thought you said this was about something, this was different.
Herman Mankiewicz: Thalberg, the boy genius.
Irving Thalberg: I am shocked to see you here.
Herman Mankiewicz: I’d be shocked to see me here too, Irving, if only I knew where here was.
Irving Thalberg: At MGM, movies are a team sport.
Herman Mankiewicz: Which may be why I’m at Paramount.
Louis B. Mayer: Since when don’t Paramount use writers by the truckload?
Herman Mankiewicz: But all at once, not in relays. Helps spread the blame around.
Marion Davies: I need a favor, but you’re going to have to promise you won’t laugh.
Herman Mankiewicz: Given the state of the world, a tall order.
Marion Davies: You’re going to. I just know you are.
Herman Mankiewicz: I have got such a hangover right now, there’s just a fighting chance I won’t.
Marion Davies: I’m being burned at the stake, and I am dying for a ciggie-boo.
Marion Davies: Well, as they say in the Bronx, “Make yourself to home,” Mr. Mankiewicz. Or shall I call you Herman?
Herman Mankiewicz: No. Please, call me Mank.
Marion Davies: Pops, this is Herman Mankiewicz, but we have to call him Mank.
William Randolph Hearst: Mankiewicz? Herman Mankiewicz. New York playwright and drama critic?
Herman Mankiewicz: Turned humble screenwriter, Mr. Hearst.
William Randolph Hearst: Why, no need to be humble, Mr. Mankiewicz. Pictures that talk are the future. They’re going to need people who honor words, give them voice. There’s a golden age coming when all the world will be a stage, and you, perhaps, their Shakespeare.
Herman Mankiewicz: Oh, I wouldn’t have thought you’d be that keenly interested in the honoring of words.
William Randolph Hearst: Times are changing, Mr. Mankiewicz, and I’m not just referring to this Depression.
Herman Mankiewicz: All that bother.
William Randolph Hearst: And when all this is over, picture makers are going to have to service this new entertainment. I intend to make pictures with the help of real literary minds.
Herman Mankiewicz: I support that.
William Randolph Hearst: Instead, what do most studios give us? Gangster flicks, zanies.
Herman Mankiewicz: Too true.
William Randolph Hearst: Now, how many gangsters do Americans meet in a lifetime? How many families are like the Marx Brothers?
Herman Mankiewicz: You mean besides my own?
Herman Mankiewicz: [as he looks at the notes on his script] Why is it when Houseman edits, everyone ends up speaking like a constipated Oxford don?
Sara Mankiewicz: Is everything okay?
Herman Mankiewicz: If I could swim, I’d be doing swimmingly.
John Houseman: [referring to Mank’s drinking binge] How was it? Mother’s milk?
Herman Mankiewicz: On balance, better than nothing. I plan to use it as a nightcap.
Rita Alexander: As you Yanks say, “He went out like a light.”
Herman Mankiewicz: I couldn’t have put it better myself, which may be why I write for the movies.
Rita Alexander: Will you stop? You write for the movies because you’re super at it.
John Houseman: [referring to the script] At this rate, you will never finish.
Herman Mankiewicz: What I want to know is what you think of it.
John Houseman: Of course, the writing is first-rate, but you know that. His lust for power, your exquisite evocation of his hunger for love from those who fear his worst side. But…
Herman Mankiewicz: The dreaded yet foreseeable “but”.
John Houseman: You’re asking a lot of a motion picture audience.
John Houseman: [referring to the script] All in all, it’s a bit of a jumble.
Herman Mankiewicz: Did you say “jumble” or “jungle”?
John Houseman: A hodgepodge of talky episodes. A collection of fragments that leap around in time, like Mexican jumping beans.
Herman Mankiewicz: Welcome to my mind, Old Sock.
John Houseman: The story is so scattered, I’m afraid one will need a road map.
Herman Mankiewicz: You mean it’s a mess.
John Houseman: Would you consider simplifying?
Herman Mankiewicz: As Pascal once said, “If only I’d had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
John Houseman: All I am saying is, no one can write like that.
Herman Mankiewicz: But I can write like that, Houseman. I have. The narrative is one big circle, like a cinnamon roll. Not a straight line pointing to the nearest exit. You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.
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