Taking place aboard William Randolph Hearst's private yacht one fateful weekend in November, 1924, Bogdanovich enjoys tweaking the Citizen Kane myth built around the mighty Hearst (Edward Herrmann) and his youthful, rising-star mistress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst). Marion, in particular, is seen as a bright-eyed, confident, canny manipulator, working her way into the power system through her own creative ingenuity. It's a far cry from Kane's bubblehead recreation. Hearst, sinking deep into his middle-aged bulk and deeper into paranoia (monitoring his guests through a series of spy gadgets), uses her as a lifeline to humankind. Without her, he'd barely be a person.
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