How David Fincher’s ‘Mank’ emulated Hollywood’s Golden Era

Production Designer Don Burt reveals the secrets of the film’s authentic rendering of a bygone Los Angeles

Adam Woodward
February 8, 2021
The Spaces

Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane was made at the height of Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age, a time when studios controlled their stars and super-producers like Louis B Mayer reigned supreme. David Fincher’s Mank, which tells the story of how legendary screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz wrote one of the greatest films of all time, is a faithful reconstruction of Tinseltown as it appeared in the 1930s and early ’40s.

The unmistakable air of Old Hollywood glamour that infuses every frame of Mank was the result of months of planning and preparation by production designer Don Burt, who has worked on every Fincher release since 2007’s Zodiac.

Burt walks us through the key locations from the film, some of which were scouted by himself while others were created on studio soundstages – just as Welles would have done.

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