Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American mystery film drama by Orson Welles , its producer, co-screenwriter, director and star. The picture was Welles’ first feature film . Nominated forAcademy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be thegreatest film of all time , Citizen Kane was voted as such by the British Film Institute Sight & Sound Polls of Critics, until it was displaced by Vertigoin the 2012 poll. It topped the American Film Institute ‘s 100 Years … 100 Movies list in 1998 as well as ict 2007 update . Citizen Kane is particularly praised for its cinematography, music, editing and narrative structure, which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.

The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane , played by Welles, a character based on the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick , and aspects of Welles’ own life. Upon its release, Hearing of the film in any of its newspapers.

Kane’s career in the world of social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks , the story is Told through the research of a newsreel postpone seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate’s dying word: “Rosebud.”

After the Broadway Welles’ Mercury Theater and the controversial 1938 radio broadcast ” The War of the Worlds ” on The Mercury Theater on the Air , Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Unusually for an untried director, he was given the freedom to develop his own story, to use his own cast and crew, and to have final cut privilege . He wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane , collaborating with Herman Mankiewicz. Main photography took place in 1940 and the film received its American release in 1941.

While a critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The movie faded from view after-icts release purpose Was subsequently returned to the public’s attention to When It Was Praised by Such French critics as Andre Bazin and Given an American revival in 1956. The movie Was released one Blu-ray on September 13, 2011 for a special 70th anniversary edition.


Favored to win election as governor, Kane makes a campaign speech at Madison Square Garden
The affair between Kane and Susan Alexander ( Dorothy Comingore ) is exposed by his political opponent, Boss Jim W. Gettys ( Ray Collins )

In a mansion in Xanadu , a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Kane Foster is on his deathbed. Holding a globe , he utters a word, “Rosebud”, and dies; the globe slips from his hand and smashes on the floor. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of Kane, an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher. Kane’s death becomes sensational news about the world, and the newsreel’s producer reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of “Rosebud”.

Thompson sets out to interview Kane’s friends and associates. He approaches Kane’s second wife, Susan Alexander Kane, now an alcoholic who runs her own nightclub, but she refuses to talk to him. Thompson goes to the private bank Walter Parks Thatcher. Through Thatcher’s Written Memoirs, Thompson learns that Kane’s childhood began in poverty in Colorado.

In 1871, Kane’s mother Mary Kane sends Charles away to live with Thatcher that he would be properly educated. It is also implied that Kane’s father could be violent towards her son. While Thatcher and Charles ‘parents discuss arrangements inside, the young Kane plays happily with a sled in the snow outside his parents’ boarding house and protests being felt to live with Thatcher. Furious at the prospect of exile from his own family to a man who does not know, the boy strikes Thatcher with his sled and attempts to run away.

Kane enters the newspaper business and embarks on a career of yellow journalism . He takes control of the New York Inquirer and starts publishing scandals Thatcher’s business interests. After the stock market crash in 1929, Kane is forced to sell controlling interest in his newspaper empire to Thatcher.

Back in the present, Thompson interviews Kane’s personal business manager, Mr. Bernstein. Bernstein Recalls how Kane hired the best journalists available to build the Inquirer ‘ s traffic. Kane rose to power by successfully Manipulating public opinion Regarding the Spanish-American War and marrying Emily Norton, the niece of a President of the United States.

Thompson interviews Kane’s estranged best friend, Leland Jedediah, in a retirement home . Leland recalls how Kane’s marriage to Emily disintegrates more and more over the years, and he begins an affair with amateur singer Susan Alexander while he is running for Governor of New York . Both his wife and his political opponent discover the affair and the public scandalends his political career. Kane Susan marries and forces her into a humiliating operatic career for which she has neither talent nor ambition.

Back in the present, Susan now consents to an interview with Thompson, and recalls her failed opera career. Kane finally allows suicide attempts. After years spent dominated by Kane and living in isolation at Xanadu, Susan leaves Kane. Kane’s butler Raymond recounts that, after Susan leaves him, Kane begins violently destroying the contents of her bedroom. He suddenly calms down when he sees a snow globe and says, “Rosebud”.

Back at Xanadu, Kane’s belongings are being cataloged or discarded. Thompson concludes that he is unable to solve the mystery and that the meaning of Kane’s last word will forever remain an enigma. As the movie ends, the camera reveals that “Rosebud” is the trade name of the sled on which the eight-year-old Kane was playing on the day that he was taken from his home in Colorado. Thought to be junk by Xanadu’s staff, the sled is burned in a furnace.


The beginning of the film’s ending credits “Most of the main actors in the Kane are new to motion pictures.” The Mercury Theater is proud to introduce them. [4] The cast is listed in the following order:

  • Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland , Kane’s best friend and a delay for The Inquirer . Cotten also appears in the News on the March screening room. [5]
  • Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane , Kane’s mistress and second wife. [5]
  • Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Kane’s mother. [5]
  • Ruth Warrick and Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Kane’s first wife. [5]
  • Ray Collins as Jim W. Gettys , Kane’s political rival and the incumbent governor of New York. [5]
  • Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter, editor of The Inquirer . Sanford also appears in the News on the March screening room. [5]
  • Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein, Kane’s friend and employee at The Inquirer . [5]
  • William Alland as Jerry Thompson, reporter for News on the March . Alland also voices the narrator of the News on the March newsreel. [5]
  • Paul Stewart as Raymond, Kane’s Butler. [5]
  • George Coulouris and Walter Parks Thatcher, a banker who becomes Kane’s legal guardian. [5]
  • Fortunio Bonanova as Signor Matiste, vocal coach of Susan Alexander Kane. [5]
  • Gus Schilling as John, headwaiter at the El Rancho nightclub. Schilling also appears in the News on the March Screening Room. [5]
  • Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston, News on the March Producer. [5]
  • Georgia Backus as Bertha Anderson, waiting at the library of Walter Thatcher Parks. [5]
  • Harry Shannon and Jim Kane, Kane’s father. [5]
  • Sonny Bupp and Charles Foster Kane III, Kane’s sound. [5]
  • Buddy Swan as Charles Foster Kane , age eight. [5]
  • Orson Welles and Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper publisher. [5]

Additionally, Charles Bennett Appears as the entertainer at the head of the chorus line in the Inquirer party sequence, [6] : 40-41 and cinematographer Gregg Toland Makes a cameo appearance as an interview Depicted in-part of the News on the March newsreel. Actor Alan Ladd makes a pipe to the end of the film. [7]



Hollywood had shown interest in Welles as early as 1936. [8] : 40 He turned down three scripts sentenced by Warner Bros. In 1937, he came across David O. Selznick , William Wyler and William Wyler , who wanted him for a supporting role in Wuthering Heights . “Although the possibility of making huge amounts of money in Hollywood,” wrote biographer Frank Brady, “he was still totally, hopelessly, insanely in love with the theater, and it is there that he had every intention of remaining to make his mark. ” [9] : 118-119, 130

Following ” The War of the Worlds ” broadcast of his CBS radio series The Mercury Theater on the Air , Welles was lured to Hollywood with a remarkable contract. [10] : 1-2, 153 RKO Pictures head studio George J. Schaefer wanted to work with Welles after the notorious broadcast, believing that Welles had a gift for attracting mass attention. [11] : 170 RKO was also uncharacteristically profitable and was entering into a series of independent production contracts that would add more artistically prestigious films to its roster. [10] : 1-2, 153Throughout the spring and early summer of 1939, Schaefer constantly tried to lure the reluctant Welles to Hollywood. [11] : 170 Welles Was in financial trouble after-failure de son plays Five Kings and The Green Goddess . At first he just wanted to spend three months in Hollywood and earn enough money to pay his debts and fund his next theatrical season. [11] : 170 Welles first arrived on July 20, 1939 [11] : 168 and on his first tour, he called the movie studio “the greatest electric train set a boy ever had”. [11] : 174

Welles signed this contract with RKO on August 21. This legendary contract stipulated that Welles would act in direct, produce and write two films. Mercury would get $ 100,000 for the first film by January 1, 1940, plus 20% of profits after RKO recouped $ 500,000, and $ 125,000 for a second film by January 1, 1941, plus 20% of profits after RKO recouped $ 500,000. The most controversial aspect of the contract was granting the two films so long as RKO approved both project’s stories [11] : 169 and so long as the budget did not exceed $ 500,000. [10] : 1-2, 153RKO executives would not be allowed to film without Welles’ approval. [11] : 169 Welles was allowed to develop the story without interference, select his own cast and crew, and have the right of final cut . Granting final cut off privilege has been taken into account by the financial statements over financial investment. The contract was deeply resented in the film industry, and the Hollywood press took every opportunity to mock RKO and Welles. Schaefer remained a great supporter [10] : 1-2, 153 and saw the unprecedented contract as good publicity. [11] : 170Movie scholar Robert L. Carringer wrote: “The simple fact seems to be that Schaefer believed Welles was going to pull off something really great as Welles did himself.” [10] : 1-2, 153

Welles spent the first five months of his RKO contract trying to get his first project going, without success. “They are laying bets over on the RKO lot that the Orson Welles deal will end up without Orson ever doing a picture there,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter.[10]:15 It was agreed that Welles would film Heart of Darkness, previously adapted for The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which would be presented entirely through a first-person camera. After elaborate pre-production and a day of test shooting with a hand-held camera—unheard of at the time—the project never reached production because Welles was unable to trim $50,000 from its budget.[a][b][12]:30–31 Schaefer told Welles that the $500,000 budget could not be exceeded; as war loomed, revenue was declining sharply in Europe by the fall of 1939.[9]:215–216

He then started work on the idea that became Citizen Kane . Knowing the script would be prepared, Welles suggests that while it was done – “so the year would not be lost” – make a humorous political thriller. Welles proposed The Smiler with a Knife , from a novel by Cecil Day-Lewis . [12] : 33-34 When that project stalled in December 1939, Welles started brainstorming other story ideas with screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz , who had been writing Mercury radio scripts. “Arguing, inventing, discarding, these two powerful, headstrong, dazzlingly articulate personalities thrashed toward Kane “, wrote biographer Richard Meryman. [13] : 245-246


One of the long-standing controversies about Citizen Kane has been the authorship of the screenplay. [13] : 237 Welles conceived the project with screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, who was writing radio plays for Welles’ CBS Radio series, The Campbell Playhouse . [10] : 16 Mankiewicz based on the original outline on the life of William Randolph Hearst , whom he knew socially and came to be exiled from Hearst’s circle. [13] : 231

In February 1940 Welles supplied Mankiewicz with 300 pages of notes and under the supervision of John Houseman , Welles’s former partner in the Mercury Theater . Welles later explained, “I left him on his own finally, because we had started with so much time.” So, after mutual agreements on storyline and character, Mank went off with Houseman and did his version, while I stayed in Hollywood and wrote mine. ” [12] : 54Taking these drafts, Welles drastically condensed and rearranged them, then added scenes of his own. The industry accused Welles of underplaying Mankiewicz’s contribution to the script, but Welles countered the attacks by saying, “At the end, naturally, I was the one making the picture, after all-who had to make the decisions. of Mank’s and, rightly or wrongly, kept what I liked of my own. ” [12] : 54

The terms of the contract stated that Mankiewicz was to receive no credit for his work, as he was hired as a doctoral script . [14] : 487 Before he signed the contract, the Welles and the Mercury Theater, the “author and creator”. [9] : 236-237 As Mankiewicz Begins the film, but Mankiewicz begins to take a closer look at Ben Hecht to write an expose for The Saturday Evening Post . Mankiewicz also reported to the Screen Writers Guildand claim full credit for writing the entire script by himself. [11] : 204

After a protest with the Screen Writers Guild, Mankiewicz withdrew it, then vacillated. The question was resolved in January 1941 when the studio, RKO Pictures , awarded Mankiewicz credit. Welles first, Mankiewicz second. Welles’s assistant Richard Wilson said that the person who circled Mankiewicz’s name in pencil, then drew an arrow that was in first place, was Welles. The official credit reads, “Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles”. [13] : 264-265 Mankiewicz’s rancor towards Welles grew over the remaining 12 years of his life. [15] : 498

Questions about the authorship of the Citizen Kane screenplay were revived in 1971 by Pauline Kael , whose controversial 50,000-word essay ” Raising Kane ” was commissioned as an introduction to the shooting script in The Citizen Kane Book , [12] : 494 published in October 1971. [16] The book-length essay first appeared in February 1971, in two consecutive issues of The New Yorker magazine. [12] : 494 [17] In the ensuing controversy Welles was defended by colleagues, critics, biographers and scholars, but its reputation was damaged by its charges.[15] : 394 The essay was later discredited and Kael’s own scholarship was called into question. [18] [19] [20]

Any question of authorship was resolved with Carringer’s 1978 essay, “The Scripts of Citizen Kane”. [21] [c] Carringer studied the collection of script records- “almost a day-to-day record of the history of the scripting” -that was still intact at RKO. He reviewed all seven drafts and concluded that “the full evidence reveals that Welles’ contribution to the Citizen Kane was not only substantial but final.” [21] : 80


Welles never confirmed a principal source for the character of Charles Foster Kane . Houseman wrote that Kane is a synthesis of different personalities, with Hearst’s life used as the main source. Some of the events were invented, [23] : 444 and Houseman wrote that he and Mankiewicz also “grafted anecdotes from other giants of journalism, including Pulitzer , Northcliffe and Mank’s first boss, Herbert Bayard Swope .” [23] : 444 Welles said, “Mr. Hearst was quite a bit like Kane, although Kane is not really founded on Hearst in particular, many people sat for it to speak”. [24] :78 He specifically acknowledged that aspects of Kane were drawn from the lives of two business tycoons familiar from his youth in Chicago- Samuel Insull and Harold Fowler McCormick . [d] [12] : 49

The character of Jedediah Leland was based on drama critic Ashton Stevens , George Stevens ‘uncle and Welles’ close boyhood friend. [12] : 66 Some detail came from Mankiewicz’s own experience as a drama critic in New York. [13] : 77-78

The assumption that the character of Susan Alexander Kane was based on Marion Davies was a major reason Hearst tried to destroy Citizen Kane . [25] [e] Wels denied that the character was based on Davies, [27] whom he called “an extraordinary woman-nothing like the character of Dorothy Comingore played in the movie.” [12] : 49 He cited the Chicago Opera House , and McCormick’s lavish promotion of the opera career of his second wife, Ganna Walska , as direct influences on the screenplay. [12] : 49

The character of political boss Jim W. Gettys is based is Charles F. Murphy , a leader in New York City’s infamous Tammany Hall political machine. [17] : 61

Welles credited “Rosebud” to Mankiewicz. [12] : 53 Biographer Richard Meryman wrote that the symbol of Mankiewicz ‘s own history of childhood was a treasure trove, stolen while visiting the public library. He is regarded as the prototype of Charles Foster Kane’s sled. [13] : 300 In his 2015 Welles biography, Patrick McGilligan reported that Mankiewicz himself stated that the word “Rosebud” was taken from the name of a famous racehorse, Old Rosebud . Mankiewicz had a bet on the horse in the 1914 Kentucky Derby, which he won, and McGilligan wrote that “Old Rosebud symbolized his lost youth, and the break with his family”. In testimony for the following Lundberg, Mankiewicz Said, “I Had Undergone psycho-analysis, and Rosebud, under Circumstances Slightly Resembling the Circumstances in [ Citizen Kane ] played a prominent part.” [28] Hearst used for Davies’ clitoris were rejected by Houseman [29] and dismissed by Brady. [9] : 287

The News on the March that the film was written in the movie The Times of the Day , the news documentary and dramatization series presented in movie theaters by Time Inc. [30] [31] From 1935 to 1938 [32] : 47 Welles was a member of the uncredited company of actors who presented the original radio version . [33] : 77

Houseman claimed that Walter P. Thatcher was loosely based on JP Morgan . [34] : 55 Bernstein was named for Dr. Maurice Bernstein, appointed Welles’s guardian; [12] : 65-66 Sloane’s portrayal was said to be based on Bernard Herrmann. [35] Herbert Carter, editor of The Inquirer , was named for Jack Carter . [36] : 155



Citizen Kane was a rare film in that its principal roles were played by actors new to motion pictures. Ten were billed as Mercury Actors, members of the skilled repertory company assembled by Welles for the stage and radio performances of the Mercury Theatre, an independent theater company he founded with Houseman in 1937.[9]:119–120[37] “He loved to use the Mercury players,” wrote biographer Charles Higham, “and consequently he launched several of them on movie careers.”[36]:155

The film represents the feature film debuts of William Alland, Ray Collins, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane, Paul Stewart, and Welles himself.[5] Despite never having appeared in feature films, some of the cast members were already well known to the public. Cotten had recently become a Broadway star in the hit play The Philadelphia Storywith Katharine Hepburn[11]:187 and Sloane was well known for his role on the radio show The Goldbergs.[11]:187 [f] Mercury actor George Coulouris was a star of the stage in New York and London.[37]

Not all of the cast came from the Mercury Players. Welles cast Dorothy Comingore, an actress who played supporting parts in films since 1934 using the name “Linda Winters”,[38] as Susan Alexander Kane. A discovery of Charlie Chaplin, Comingore was recommended to Welles by Chaplin,[39]:170 who then met Comingore at a party in Los Angeles and immediately cast her.[40]:44

Welles had met stage actress Ruth Warrick while visiting New York on a break from Hollywood and remembered her as a good fit for Emily Norton Kane,[11]:188 later saying that she looked the part.[39]:169 Warrick told Carringer that she was struck by the extraordinary resemblance between herself and Welles’s mother when she saw a photograph of Beatrice Ives Welles. She characterized her own personal relationship with Welles as motherly.[41]:14

“He trained us for films at the same time that he was training himself,” recalled Agnes Moorehead. “Orson believed in good acting, and he realized that rehearsals were needed to get the most from his actors. That was something new in Hollywood: nobody seemed interested in bringing in a group to rehearse before scenes were shot. But Orson knew it was necessary, and we rehearsed every sequence before it was shot.”[42]:9

When The March of Time narrator Westbrook Van Voorhis asked for $25,000 to narrate the News on the March sequence, Alland demonstrated his ability to imitate Van Voorhis and Welles cast him.[43]

Welles later said that casting character actor Gino Corrado in the small part of the waiter at the El Rancho broke his heart. Corrado had appeared in many Hollywood movies, often as a waiter, and Welles wanted all of the actors to be new to movies. [39] : 171

Other unedited roles went to Thomas A. Curran as Teddy Roosevelt in the fake newsreel; Richard Baer as Hillman, a man at Madison Square Garden, and a man in the News ; and Alan Ladd , Arthur O’Connell and Louise Currieas reporters at Xanadu. [5]

When Kathryn Trosper Popper died on March 6, 2016, at the age of 100 she was reported to be in the actor to appear in Citizen Kane . [44] Jean Forward, a soprano who dubbed the singing voice of Susan Alexander, was the last survivor of the film before her death in 2016. [45] Warrick was the last surviving member of the main cast at the time of her death in 2005. Sonny Bupp , who played Kane’s young, was the last surviving credited cast member of Citizen Kane when he died in 2007. [46]


Production advisor Miriam Geiger quickly compiled a handmade film textbook for Welles, a practical reference book of film techniques that he studied carefully. He then taught himself filmmaking by matching its visual vocabulary to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari , which he ordered from the Museum of Modern Art, [11] : 173 and films by Frank Capra , René Clair , Fritz Lang , King Vidor [47] : 1172 : 1171 and Jean Renoir . [9] : 209 The one movie he Genuinely Studied Was John Ford ‘s Stagecoach[12] : 29 which he watched 40 times. [48] “As it turned out, the first day I’ve been walked on a business as a director,” Welles said. “I’ve learned whatever I knew in the projection room-from Ford.” After dinner every night for a month, I’d run Stagecoach , sometimes with some different technician or department head from the studio, and ask questions. this done? ‘ ‘Why was this done?’ It was like going to school. ” [12] : 29

Welles’s cinematographer for the film was Gregg Toland , described by Welles as “just then, the number one cameraman in the world.” To Welles’ s astonishment, Toland, his work, said, “I want you to use me on your picture. He had seen some of the Mercury internship productions (including Caesar [15] : 66 ) and said he wanted to work with someone who had never made a movie. [12] : 59 RKO hired Toland on loan from Samuel Goldwyn Productions [34] : 10 in the first week of June 1940. [10] : 40

“And he never tried to impress us that he was doing any miracles,” Welles recalled. “I was calling for things only to be ignorant enough to think about anything, and there he was, doingthem.” [12] : 60 Toland later explained that he wanted to work with him because of his experience of cinema and cinema. him to do. [11] : 186Unaware of filmmaking protocol, which has been developed in the theater; Toland quietly re-balanced them, and was angry when one of the crew informed that it was infringing on Toland’s responsibilities. [49] : 5: 33-6: 06 During the first few weeks of June, Welles had lengthy discussions about the film with Toland and art director Perry Ferguson in the morning, and in the afternoon script. [10] : 69

On June 29, 1940—a Saturday morning when few inquisitive studio executives would be around—Welles began filming Citizen Kane.[10]:69[15]:107 After the disappointment of having Heart of Darkness cancelled,[12]:30–31 Welles followed Ferguson’s suggestion[g][12]:57 and deceived RKO into believing that he was simply shooting camera tests. “But we were shooting the picture,” Welles said, “because we wanted to get started and be already into it before anybody knew about it.”[12]:57

At the time RKO executives were pressuring him to agree to a film called The Men from Mars , to capitalize on “The War of the Worlds” broadcast radio. Welles said that he would consider making the project a different film. At this time he did not inform them that he had already started filming Citizen Kane. [11] : 186

The early footage was called “Orson Welles Tests” on all paperwork. [10] : 69 The first “test” shot on the screen of a movie theater. [10] : 69 [12] : 77-78 [h] “At $ 809 Orson did run substantially beyond the test budget of $ 528-to one of the most famous scenes in history movie,” wrote Barton Whaley. [15] : 107

The next scenes were the El Rancho nightclub scenes and the scene in which Susan attempts suicide. [i] [10] : 69 Welles later said that the nightclub set was available after another film had wrapped up and that filming took 10 to 12 days to complete. For these scenes Welles had Comingore’s throat sprayed with chemicals to give her voice a harsh, raspy tone. [39] : 170-171 Other scenes shot in secret included those in which Thompson interviews Leland and Bernstein, who were also shot on sets built for other films. [43]

During production, the film was referred to as RKO 281 . Most of the filming took place in Stage 19 on the Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. [51] There was some filming rental at Balboa Park in San Diego and the San Diego Zoo . [52]

In the end of July, RKO approved the film and Welles was allowed to start shooting, despite having already been filming “tests” for several weeks. Welles leaked stories to newspaper reporters that the tests had been so good that there was no need to re-shoot them. The first official Kane and his first wife Emily. To strategically save money and the RKO executives, which is the most important part of the film. [11] : 193 Welles never shot master shots for any scene after Toland told him that Ford never shot them. [39] : 169To be more popular, Welles threw a cocktail party for selected reporters, promising that they could watch a scene being filmed. When the journalists arrived Welles told them they had “just finished” shooting for the day but still had the party. [11] : 193 Welles told the press that it was ahead of schedule (thus factoring in the month of “test shooting”), thus discrediting claims that a year in Hollywood without making a film was a failure in the film industry. [11] : 194

Welles usually worked 16 to 18 hours a day on the movie. He often began work at a time when he did not work at home. Welles used this day to talk to Toland and other crew members. The special contact lenses used to make Welles look aged proved very painful, and a doctor was employed by Welles’s eyes. Welles had difficulty seeing them while wearing them, which caused him to be badly cut when shooting in the living room. While shooting the scene in which Kane shouts at Gettys on the stairs of Susan Alexander’s apartment building, Welles fell ten feet; An X-ray revealed two bone chips in his ankle. [11] : 194The injury requires a film from a wheelchair for two weeks. [11] : 194-195 He eventually wore a steel brace to resume performing on camera; It is visible in the low-angle scene between Kane and Leland after Kane loses the election. [j] [12] : 61 For the final scene, a stage at the Selznick studio was equipped with a working furnace, and many times took the place of being in the fire and the word “Rosebud” consumed. Paul Stewart recalled that the Culver City Fire Department had arrived in full gear because of the furnace. “Orson was delighted with the concussion,” he said. [42] : 8-9

When “Rosebud” was burned, Welles choreographed the scene while he had composer Bernard Herrmann’s playing on the set. [53]

Unlike Schaefer, many members of RKO’s board of governors did not like it. [11] : 186 HOWEVER Such board members as Nelson Rockefeller and NBC chief David Sarnoff [47] : 1170 Were sympathetic to Welles. [54]Throughout production Welles had problems with these executives not respecting his contract stipulation of non-interference and several spies arrived at the report. When the executives would sometimes arrive we would be happy to start playing softball until they left. Before official shooting, the executives intercepted all copies of the script and their delivery to Welles. They had one copy sent to their office in New York, resulting in it being leaked to press. [11] : 195

Main shooting wrapped on October 24. Welles then took several weeks off the film for a reading tour, which he also scouted additional locations with Toland and Ferguson. Filming resumed November 15 [10] : 87 with some re-shoots. Howard Hughes’ The Outlaw, but Toland’s camera crew continued working on the film and Toland was replaced by RKO cinematographer Harry J. Wild. The final day of shooting on November 30 was Kane’s death scene.[10]:85 Welles boasted that he only went 21 days over his official shooting schedule, without factoring in the month of “camera tests.”[11]:195 According to RKO records, the film cost $839,727. Its estimated budget had been $723,800.[5]


Citizen Kane was edited by Robert Wise and assistant editor Mark Robson . [34] : 85 Both would become successful film directors. Wise was hired after Welles finished shooting the “camera tests” and began officially making the film. Wise said that Welles “had an older editor and was not too happy and asked for somebody else. Wise and Robson began editing the film while they were still shooting and said that they “could tell that we were getting something very special.” [47] : 1210Welles gave instructions and was usually not present during the film’s editing. [10] : 109 The film was very well planned and intentionally shot for such post-production techniques as slow dissolves . [43] The lack of coverage made easy editing Welles and Toland edited the film “in camera” by leaving few options of how it could be put together. [10] : 110 Wise said the breakfast table sequence and the timing and rhythm for the whip and over-lapping dialogue. [43] The News on the MarchRKO’s newsreel division to give it authenticity. [10] : 110 They used stock footage from Pathé News and the General Film Library. [5]

During post-production Welles and special effects artist Linwood G. Dunn experimented with an optical printer to improve certain scenes that Welles found unsatisfactory from the footage. [43] Welles’ work, he would require Dunn and post-production audio engineer James G. Stewart to re-do their work several times until he was satisfied. [10] : 109

Welles hired Bernard Herrmann to compose the film’s score. Where most Hollywood film scores were written quickly, in a few minutes after filming was completed, Herrmann was given 12 weeks to write the music. He had enough time to do his own orchestrations and conducting, and worked on the film reel by him. He wrote complete musical pieces for some of the montages, and Welles edited many of the scenes to match their length. [55]


Main article: Citizen Kane trailer

Written and directed by Welles at Toland’s suggestion, the theatrical trailer for Citizen Kane is not a feature of the film itself, but acts as an original wholly, tongue-in-cheek , pseudo -documentary piece on the movie’s production. [39] : 230 Filmed at the same time as Citizen Kane itself, it offers the only existing behind-the-scenes footage of the film. The trailer, shot by Wild instead of Toland, follows an unseen Welles as it provides a narrative for a tour around the film set, introductions to the film’s core cast members, and a brief overview of Kane’s character. [12]: 360 The trailer also contains a number of trick shots, including one of Everett’s Sloane appearing at first to be running into the camera, which turns out to be the reflection of the camera in a mirror. [56]

At the time, it was almost unprecedented for a film trailer to not actually feature anything of the movie itself; and while Citizen Kane is often cited as a ground-breaking, influential film, Simon Callow argues its original in its approach. Callow writes that it has “great playful charm … it is a miniature documentary , almost an introduction to the cinema … Teasing, charming, completely original, it is a lot of conjuring trick: , Welles entirely dominates its five [sic] minutes’ duration. ” [14] : 558-9


Film scholars and historians view Kane as Welles’ filmmaking by filmmaking by studying various forms of film making, and combining them all into one. However, Welles stated that his love for cinema began when he started the work on the film. When asked where he got the secret as a first-time director to a film so radically different from contemporary cinema, he responded, “Ignorance, ignorance, sheer ignorance-you know there’s no confidence in it. about profession, I think, that you’re shy or careful. ” [24] : 80

David Bordwell wrote that “The best way to understand Citizen Kane is to stop worshiping it as a triumph of technique.” Bordwell argues that the film did not invent any of its famous techniques such as deep focus cinematography, shots of the ceilings, chiaroscuro lighting and temporal jump-cuts, and many of these stylistics had been used in German Expressionist films of the 1920s, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari . But Bordwell asserts that the film did not work for the first time and perfected the medium in one single film. [47] : 1171 In a 1948 interview with DW Griffith said “I loved the Kane and particularly loved the ideas he took from me.”[57]

Arguments against the movie’s cinematic innovations were made as early as 1946 when French historian Georges Sadoul wrote that “the film is an encyclopedia of old techniques.” Sadoul pointed out such examples as compositions that used both the foreground and the background in the films of Auguste and Louis Lumière , special effects used in the films of Georges Méliès , shots of the ceiling in Erich von Stroheim ‘s Greed and newsreel montages in the movies of Dziga Vertov . [58]

French film critic André Bazin defended the film and wrote that “In this respect, the accusation of plagiarism could be extended to the film’s use of panchromatic film or its exploitation of the properties of gelatinous silver halide.” Bazin disagreed with Sadoul ‘s comparison to Light’ s cinematography since Citizen Kane used more sophisticated lenses, [59] : 232 but admits that the film had similarities to such previous works as The 49th Parallel and The Power and the Glory . Bazin stated that “even if they did not invent the cinematic devices employed in the Kane , they should be able to recognize the invention of their meaning .[59] : 233 Bazin championed the techniques in the film for its depiction of heightened reality, but Bordwell believes that the film uses special effects of some of Bazin’s theories. [60] : 75

Storytelling techniques

Citizen Kane eschews the traditional linear, chronological narrative, and tells Kane’s story entirely in flashback using different points of view, many of them from Kane’s aged and forgiving associates, the cinematic equivalent of the unreliable narrator in literature. [61] : 83 Welles also dispenses with the idea of ​​a single storyteller and uses multiple narrators to recount Kane’s life. The use of multiple narrators was unheard of in Hollywood movies. [61] : 81 Each narrator recounts a different part of Kane’s life, with each story overlapping. [62]The film depicts Kane as an enigma, a complicated man who, in the end, leaves the viewer with more questions than answers to his character, such as the newsreel footage where he is attacked for being both a communist and a fascist. [61] : 82-84

The technique of using flashbacks had been used most recently in The Power and the Glory (1933) [63] -but no film was as immersed in this technique as Citizen Kane . Thompson acts as a surrogate for the audience, questioning Kane ‘s associates and piecing together his life. [62]

At that time films typically had an “omniscient perspective”, which Marilyn Fabe says gives the audience the “illusion that we are looking at impunity into a world of gas, Hollywood movies give us a feeling of power.” The film begins in this fashion up to the news on the march sequence, after which we see the film through the perspectives of others. [61] : 81 The News on the Marchsequence gives an overview of Kane’s entire life at the beginning of the film, leaving the audience with the typical suspense of wondering how it will end. Kane’s life happened the way it did, under the pretext of finding out what “Rosebud” means. The film then returns to the omniscient perspective in the final scene, when only the audience discovers what “Rosebud” is. [61] : 82-83


The most innovative technical aspect of Citizen Kane is the extended use of deep focus . [64] In nearly every scene in the film, the foreground, background and everything in between focus. Cinematographer Toland did this through his experiments with lenses and lighting. Toland described the achievement, made possible by the sensitivity of modern speed film, in an article for Theater Arts magazine:

New developments in the field of photography are not enough at this advanced stage of the game but periodically one is made to make this a greater art. Of these I am in an excellent position to discuss what is termed “Pan-focus”, as I was active for two years in its development and used it for the first time in Citizen Kane. Through its use, it is possible to photograph an image of a camera with a camera in the background. Hitherto, the camera had to be focused on a distant shot, all efforts to be encompassed at the same time by one of the other being out of focus. This handicap necessitated the breaking up of a scene with long angles, with much consequent loss of realism. With pan-focus, the camera, like the eye of the eye, with everything clear and lifelike. [65]

Both this article and a May 1941 Life magazine article with illustrated examples [66] helped popularize deep focus cinematography and Toland’s achievements on the film. [60] : 73

Another unorthodox method used in the film was the way low-angle shots were used to display a viewpoint of upwards, thus permitting them to be shown in the background of several scenes. Breaking with studio convention, every set is built with a ceiling [65] -many constructed of fabric that ingeniously concealed microphones. [67]Welles felt that the camera should show what the eyes see, and that it was a bad theatrical convention to pretend there was no ceiling, “he said. He became fascinated with the look of low angles, which made even dull interiors look interesting. One extremely low angle is used to photograph the Kane and Leland after Kane loses the election. A hole was dug for the camera, which requires drilling into the concrete floor. [12] : 61-62

Welles credited Toland on the same title and it said “It’s impossible to say how much I owe to Gregg He was superb.” [12] : 59 [k] [l] He called Toland “the best director of photography ever existed.” [69]


Citizen Kane ‘ s sound was recorded by Bailey Fesler and re – recorded in post – production by James G. Stewart , [34] : 85 both of whom had worked in radio. [10] : 102 Stewart said that Hollywood movies never get used to a basic pattern of how to be recorded or used, but with Welles “deviation from the pattern was possible because he asked it.” [43] Although the film is known for its complex soundtrack, much of the audio is heard by Fesler and without manipulation. [10] : 102

Welles used techniques from radio like overlapping dialogue. The scene in which characters sing “Oh, Mr. Kane” was so complicated and required mixing several soundtracks together. [10] : 104 He also used different “sound perspectives” to create the illusion of distances, [10] : 101 such as in scenes at Xanadu where characters speak to each other at far distances. [43] Welles experimented with sound in post-production, creating audio montages, [70] : 94 and thing to create all of the sound effects for the movie instead of using RKO’s library of sound effects. [10] : 100

Welles used aural technique from radio called the “lightning-mix”. Welles used this technique to link complex editing sequences via a series of related sounds or phrases. For example, Kane grows from a child to a young man in just two shots. As Thatcher hands eighty-year-old Kane has slipped and wishes him a Merry Christmas, the sequence suddenly jumps to a shot of Thatcher fifteen years later, completing the sentence he began the previous shot and the chronological past. Other radio techniques comprise a number of voices, each saying a sentence or a phrase, and splicing the dialogue together in quick succession, such as the projection room scene. [71]:413–412 The film’s sound cost $16,996, but was originally budgeted at $7,288.[10]:105

Film critic and director Francois Truffaut Wrote That “Before Kane , nobody in Hollywood Knew how to set Properly music in movies. Kane Was the first, in fact the only, great movie That uses radio technology. … A lot of filmmakers know enough to follow Auguste Renoir ‘s advice to fill the eyes with images, but only to hear Orson Welles’ understanding that the sound track had to be filled in the same way. [72] Cedric Belfrage of The Clipper wrote “of all the delectable flavors that linger on the palate after seeing Kane , the use of sound is the strongest.” [47] : 1171


The make-up for Citizen Kane was created and applied by Maurice Seiderman (1907-1989), a junior member of the RKO make-up department. [73] : 19 Seiderman’s family came to the United States from Russia in 1920, escaping persecution. [73] : 18 As a child Seiderman had won a drawing competition and received an apprenticeship at the Moscow Art Theater , [36] : 157 where his father was a wigmaker and make-up artist. [74] : 42 In New York his uncle was a theatrical scenic painter, and he helped Seiderman get into the union. [73] : 18 He worked onMax Reinhardt’s 1924 production of The Miracle and the Yiddish Art Theater , [36] : 157 and he studied the human figure at the Art Students League of New York . [74] : 42 After he moved to Los Angeles he was hired first by Max Factor and then by RKO. [73] : 19 Seiderman had not been accepted into the union, but it was recognized that it was an apprentice, but RKO still used it to make up the main actors. [73] : 19

“Apprentices were not supposed to make up any princess, only extras, and an apprentice could not be a present day,” wrote make-up artist Dick Smith , who became friends with Seiderman in 1979. “During his years at RKO I suspect these rules were probably overlooked often. ” [73] : 19 By 1940 Seiderman’s uncredited film work included Winterset , Gunga Din , The Hunchback of Our Lady , Swiss Family Robinson and Abe Lincoln in Illinois . [74] : 48“Seiderman had gained a reputation as one of the most inventive and creatively accurate up-and-coming makeup men in Hollywood,” wrote biographer Frank Brady. [9] : 253

On an early tour of RKO, Welles puts Seiderman in the small make-up lab he created for himself in an unused dressing room. [73] : 19 “Welles fastened on to him at once,” wrote biographer Charles Higham. “With his great knowledge of makeup-indeed, his obsession with it, for he hated his flat nose-Welles was fascinated … Seiderman had an intimate knowledge of anatomy and the process of aging and was acquainted with every line, wrinkle and accretion of fat in aging men and women. “” It is a case in point of fact that it is more likely that it will be used as a method of achieving fullness of expression-a naturalness unrivaled in Hollywood. ” [36] : 157

“When Kane came out in script form, Orson told me about the most important aspect of the makeup,” Seiderman recalled. “I felt that I was being given an assignment that was so-and-so, and that I was working in a lot of different ways. my personal work; nobody else ever touched them. [74] : 46

Seiderman developed a principal plan for aging the principal characters, except for Joseph Cotten who was unavailable at that time. He made a plaster mold of Welles’ body down to the hips. [74] : 46

“My sculptural techniques for the characters” were handled by adding pieces of white modeling clay, which matched the plaster, on the surface of each bust, “Seiderman told visual arts historian Norman Gambill. When he made the desired effect he cast the clay in a soft plastic material [74] : 46 that he formulated himself. [73] : 20 These appliances were then placed on the plaster bust and a four-piece mold was made for each phase of aging. The castings were then fully painted and matched with the appropriate wig for evaluation. [74] : 46-47

Before the actors went to the cameras each day, the collapsible pieces were directly applied to their faces to Seiderman’s sculptural image. Wels was allergic to Max Factor’s gum, so Seiderman invented an alternative that also photographed more realistically. [74] : 46 The facial surface has been underwired in a flexible red plastic compound; [74] : 43 Cotten being instructed to puff out his cheeks during this process. Later, see the results in the mirror, Cotten told Seiderman, “I’m acting out of a nice old gentleman, not a relief map of the Rocky Mountains.” Seiderman replied, “How about some more coffee?”: 43

The red ground resulted in a warmth of tone that was picked up by the sensitive panchromatic film . Over that was applied liquid greasepaint, and then finally a colorless translucent talcum. [74] : 42-43 Seiderman created the effect of skin pores on Kane’s face by stippling the surface with a negative cast he made from an orange peel. [74] : 42, 47

Kane, and he often arrived on the set at 2:30 am [12] : 69 Applying the sculptural make-up for the oldest incarnation of the character -and-a-half hours. Welles’ shoulders, breast and stomach. [73] : 19-20 “In the film and production photographs, you can see that Kane had a belly that overhung,” Seiderman said. “That was not a suit, it was the rubber sculpture that created the image.” “Kane’s silk shirt clung wetly to the character’s body.” [74] : 46

Seiderman worked with Charles Wright on the wigs. These went on a flexible skull that Seiderman created and sewed into place with elastic thread. When he found the wigs too full he untied one hair at a time to alter their shape. Kane’s mustache has been introduced into the makeup of a few hairs at a time, to realistically vary the color and texture. [74] : 43, 47

Seiderman made scleral lenses for Welles, Dorothy Comingore, George Coulouris and Everett Sloane, to dull the brightness of their young eyes. The lens took a long time to fit properly, and Seiderman began to work on the face of the other makeup. “I painted them to age in phases, ending with the blood vessels and the Aurora Senilis of old age.” [74] : 47 [m]

“Cotten was the only one for whom I had not made any sculptural casts, wigs or lenses,” Seiderman said. When Cotten’s old-age scenes were made to be shot by Welles’s injured ankle, Seiderman improvised with appliances made for Kane’s make-up. A sun visor was chosen to conceal Cotten’s low hairline [74] : 47-48 and the lenses he wore-hastily supplied by a Beverly Hills ophthalmologist-were uncomfortable. [75] : 44-45

Seiderman’s tour de force, the breakfast montage, was shot all in one day. “Twelve years, two years shot at each scene,” he said. “Please realize, by the way, that a two-year jump in age is a bit better than one of 20 years.” [74] : 47

As they did with art direction, the major studios gave the credit to make up the head department. When RKO makeup department head Mel Berns refused to share credit with Seiderman, Who Was only an apprentice, Welles Berns Told That There Would Be No make-up credit. Welles signed a large advertisement in the Los Angeles newspaper: [73] : 22 [74] : 48


“To put this event in context, remember that I was a very low man,” Seiderman recalled. “I was not even called a make-up man I had started their laboratory and developed their plastic appliances for make-up.” But my salary was $ 25 a week and I had no union card. [74] : 48

Seiderman told Gambill that after Citizen Kane was released, Welles was invited to a White House dinner where Frances Perkins was among the guests. Welles told her about the Russian immigrant who did the make-up for his film but could not join the union. Seiderman said the head of the union received a call from the Labor Department the following day, and in November 1941 he was a full union member. [73] : 22 [74] : 48 [n]


Although credited as an assistant, the film’s art direction was done by Perry Ferguson . [34] : 85 Welles and Ferguson got along during their collaboration. [10] : 37 Welles, Toland and Ferguson are in the film and shot every shot, set design and prop. Ferguson would take notes during these discussions and create rough designs of the sets and storyboards for individual shots. After Welles approved the rough sketches, Ferguson made miniature models for Welles and Toland to experiment with a periscopein order to rehearse and perfect each shot. Ferguson then had detailed drawings for the design, including the film’s lighting design. The set design was an integral part of the movie’s overall look and Toland’s cinematography. [10] : 42

In the original script the Great Hall at Xanadu was modeled after the Great Hall in Hearst Castle and its design included a mixture of Renaissance and Gothic styles. [10] : 50-51 “The Hearstian element is brought out in the almost perverse juxtaposition of architectural incongruous styles and motifs,” wrote Carringer. [10] : 54 Before RKO cut the film’s budget, Ferguson’s designs were more elaborate and resembled the early production designs of Cecil B. DeMille films and Intolerance . [10] : 55 The budget cuts cuts Ferguson’s budget by 33 percent and his work cost $ 58,775 total,[10] : 65 which was below average at that time. [70] : 93 To save costs Ferguson and Welles re-wrote scenes in Xanadu’s living room and transported them to the Great Hall. A large staircase from another film was found and used at no additional cost. [10] : 56-57 When asked about the limited budget, Ferguson said, “Very often-as in that much-discussed ‘Xanadu’ set in Citizen Kane -we can make a foreground piece, a background piece, and imaginative lighting suggest great deal more on the screen than actually exists on the stage. ” [10] : 65-66According to the film’s official budget there were 81 sets built, but Ferguson said there were between 106 and 116. [10] : 64

Still photographs of Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York , were used in the opening editing, representing Kane’s Xanadu estate. [78] [79] Ferguson also designed statues from Kane’s collection of styles from Greek to German Gothic . [10] : 61 The sets were built to accommodate Toland’s camera movements. Walls were quickly and easily moved. The film’s famous ceilings were made of muslin fabric and camera boxes were built into the floors for low angle shots. [10] : 64-65Welles later said that he was proud that the film production value was much more expensive than the film’s budget. Although neither worked with Welles again, Toland and Ferguson collaborated in several films in the 1940s. [10] : 65

Special effects

The film’s special effects were supervised by Vernon L. Walker’s RKO department head . [34] : 85 Welles pioneered several visual effects to cheaply shoot things like crowd scenes and large interior spaces. For example, the scene in which the camera in the opera house rises dramatically to the rafters, to show the workmen showing a lack of appreciation for Susan Alexander Kane’s performance, was shot by a camera craning upwards over the performance stage, then a curtain wipeto a miniature of the upper regions of the house, and then another curtain wipe matching it with the scene of the workmen. Xanadu’s other scenes of Xanadu. [80]

Some shots included rear screen projection in the background, such as Thompson’s interview of Leland and some of the ocean backgrounds at Xanadu. [10] : 88 Bordwell claims that the scene where Thatcher agrees to be Kane’s guardian in the rear of the screen, but despite this scene being cited as a prime example of Toland’s deep focus cinematography. [60] : 74 A special camera effects crew from Walker’s department Was required for the extreme close-up shots Such As Kane’s lips When He says “Rosebud” and the shot of the typewriter typing Susan’s bad review. [10] : 88

Optical effects artist Dunn “that is up to 80 percent of some reels was optically printed.” These shots were traditionally attributed to Toland for years. [81] : 110 The optical printer improved some of the deep focus shots. [10] : 92 One problem with the optical printer is that it sometimes created excessive graininess , such as the optical zoom out of the snow globe. Welles decided to superimpose snowfall to mask the graininess in these shots. [10] : 94 Toland said that he disliked the results of the optical printer, [10] : 92RKO special effects expert Vernon Walker, ASC, and his staff handled their part of the production-by no means inconsiderable assignment-with ability and fine understanding. ” [60] : 74-75

Any time deep focus not-As Was in the szene in qui Kane finishes a negative review of Susan’s opera while at the Saami time firing the person Who Began writing the review-an optical printer Was used to make the whole screen APPEAR in focus, visually layering one piece of film onto another. [10] : 92 HOWEVER, some Apparently deep-focus shots Were the result of in-camera effects , as in the famous szene in qui Kane breaks into Susan’s room after-her suicide attempt. In the background, Kane and another man in the room, while simultaneously the medicine bottle and a glass in the foreground. The shot was an in-camera matteshot. The foreground was shot first, with the dark background. Then the background was read, the foreground darkened, the film rewound, and the scene re-shot with the background action. [10] : 82


The film’s music is composed by Bernard Herrmann . [82] : 72 Herrmann had composed for Welles for his Mercury Theater radio broadcasts. [82] : 63 Because it was Herrmann’s first motion picture score, RKO wanted to pay him only for a small fee, but Welles insisted he be paid at the same rate as Max Steiner . [82] : 72

The score established Herrmann has an important new composer of film soundtracks [35] and eschewed the typical Hollywood practice of scoring a film with virtually non-stop music. Instead Herrmann used what he later described as “radio scoring”, a musical cue typically 5-15 seconds in length that bridge the action or suggest a different emotional response. [82] : 77-78 The breakfast montage sequence begins with a graceful waltz theme and gets darker with each variation on that theme as the passage of time leads to the hardening of Kane’s personality and the breakdown of his first marriage. [83] [84]

Herrmann realized that musicians have been hired for individual sessions; There was no need to write for existing sets. This means that it is free to score for combinations of instruments, even instruments that are not commonly heard. In the opening sequence, for example, the tour of Kane’s estate Xanadu, Herrmann introduces recurring leitmotiv played by low woodwinds, including a quartet of flute alto . [85]

For Susan Alexander Kane’s operatic sequence, Welles suggests that Herrmann composes a witty parody of a Mary Garden vehicle, an aria from Salammbo . [12] : 57 “This is a simple girl, having a charming but small voice, is suddenly thrown,” Herrmann said. [82] : 79 Writing in the style of a 19th-century French Oriental opera, [55] Herrmann put the aria in a key That Would Force the singer to strain to reach the high notes, culminating in a high D, well outside the range of Susan Alexander. [82] : 79-80Soprano Jean Forward dubbed the vocal part for Comingore. [35] Houseman claimed to have written the libretto, based on Jean Racine ‘s Athalieand Phedre , [23] : 460-461, but some confusion remains since Lucille Fletcher remembered preparing the lyrics. [82] : 80 Fletcher, then Herrmann’s wife, wrote the libretto for his opera Wuthering Heights . [82] : 11

Music enthusiasts consider the scene in which Susan Alexander Kane to the famous cavatina “Una voce poco fa” from Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini with vocal coach. Signor Matiste as especial memorable for depicting the horrors of learning music through mistakes. [86]

In 1972, Herrmann said, “I was fortunate to start my career with a movie like Citizen Kane , it’s been a downhill run ever since!” Welles loved Herrmann’s score and told Henry Jaglom that it was 50 percent responsible for the movie’s artistic success. [82] : 84

Some incidental music from other sources. Welles heard the tune used for the publisher’s theme, “Oh, Mr. Kane”, in Mexico. [12] : 57 Called “A Poco No”, the song was written by Pepe Guizar and special lyrics were written by Herman Ruby. [87]

“In a Mizz”, a 1939 jazz song by Charlie Barnet and Haven Johnson, Thompson’s bookends second interview of Susan Alexander Kane. [10] : 108 [87] “I kind of based on the whole scene around that song,” Welles said. “The music is by Nat Cole -it’s his trio.” [12] : 56 Later-beginning with the lyrics, “It Can not Be Love” – ​​”In a Mizz” was performed at the Picnic Everglades, framing the fight between Susan and Kane. [10] : 108 Musicians including bandleader Cee Pee Johnson (drums), Alton Redd (vocals), Raymond Tate (trumpet),Buddy Banks (tenor sax) are featured. [88]

All of the music used in the news from the RKO music library, edited by Welles’ request by the newsreel department to achieve what Herrmann called “their own crazy way of cutting”. The News on the March theme that accompanies the newsreel titles is “Belgian March” by Anthony Collins , from the film Nurse Edith Cavell . Other examples are an excerpt from Alfred Newman’s score for Gunga Din (the exploration of Xanadu), Roy Webb’s theme for the film Reno (the growth of Kane’s empire), and bits of Webb’s score for Five Came Back (introducing Walter Parks Thatcher). [82] :


One of the technologies used in editing Citizen Kane Was the use of montage to collapse time and space, using an episodic sequence on the Saami set while the characters changed costumes and makeup entre cuts so que la szene Following Each cut Would look as if it took place in the same location, but at a long time after the previous cut. In the breakfast montage, Welles chronicles the breakdown of Kane’s first marriage in five vignettes that condense 16 years of story time into two minutes of screen time. [89] Welles Said que la idea for the breakfast szene “was stolen from The Long Christmas Dinner of Thornton Wilder … a one-act play, which is a long Christmas dinner that takes you through something like 60 years of a family’s life. ” [12] : 51 The film often uses long dissolves to signify the passage of time and its psychological effect Kane is sent away with Thatcher. [61] : 90-91

Welles was influenced by the editing theories of Sergei Eisenstein by using jarring cuts that caused “sudden graphic or associative contrasts”, such as the cut from Kane’s deathbed to the beginning of the News on the March sequence and a sudden shot of a shrieking bird at the beginning of Raymond’s flashback. [61] : 88-89 Although the film typically favors mise-en-scène over editing, the scene in which Kane goes to Susan Alexander’s apartment after first meeting is the only one that is primarily cut as close-ups with shots and counter shots between Kane and Susan. [34] : 68Fabe says that “by using a standard Hollywood technique sparingly, [Welles] revitalizes its psychological expressiveness.” [61] : 88


Political themes

In her 1992 monograph for the British Film Institute , critic Laura Mulvey explored the anti-fascist themes of Citizen Kane . The News on the March newsreel presents Kane keeping company with Hitler and other dictators while he smugly assures the public there will be no war. [90] : 44 Mulvey wrote that the film reflects “the battle between intervention and isolationism” then being waged in the United States; the film was released six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, while President Franklin D. Rooseveltwas laboring to win public opinion for entering World War II. “Mulvey wrote,” it was of passionate personal importance to Orson Welles … In the rhetoric of Citizen Kane , the destiny of isolationism is realized in metaphor: Kane’s own fate, dying wealthy and lonely, surrounded by the detritus of European culture and history. [34] : 15

Journalist Ignacio Ramonet has cited the film as an early example of mass media manipulation of public opinion and the power that media conglomerates have on influencing the democratic process. Ramonet believes that this early example of a media mogul influencing policy is outdated and that “today would be a reality. their market. “There are media groups with the power of a thousand Citizen Kanes.” [91] [92] Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is sometimes labeled as a late-day Citizen Kane .[93] [94]


Pre-release controversy

To Ensure That Citizen Kane ‘ s influences from Hearst’s Life Was a secret Welles limited access to dailies and managed the movie’s publicity. A December 1940 feature story in Stage magazine compared the film’s narrative to Faust and made no mention of Hearst. [10] : 111

The film was scheduled to premiere at RKO’s flagship theater Radio City Music Hall on February 14, but in early January 1941 Welles was not finished with post-production work and told RKO that it still needed its musical score. [11] : 205 Writers for national magazines had early deadlines, and so was cut for preview on January 3, 1941 [10] : 111 for such magazines as Life , Look and Redbook . Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper(and Parsons’ arch rival) showed up to the screening uninvited. Most of the critics at the preview said that they liked the movie and gave it good advanced reviews. Hopper wrote negatively about it, calling the film a “vicious and irresponsible attack on a great man” and criticizing its corny writing and old fashioned photography. [11] : 205 Friday magazine ran an article drawing a point-by-point comparisons between Kane and Hearst and a documentary on Parsons, Hollywood correspond for Hearst papers. [10] : 111Up until this Welles had been friendly with Parsons. The magazine quoted Welles as saying that she could not understand why she was so nice to him and that she should “wait until the woman finds out that the picture is about her boss.” Welles readily denied making the statement and the editor of Friday admitted that it may be false. Welles apologized to Parsons and assured her that he had never made that remark. [11] : 205

Shortly after Friday ‘ s article, Hearst feels Parsons an angry letter complaining that he had learned about Kane Citizen from Hopper and not her. The incident made a fool of the Welles and the film. Parsons asked for a private screening of the film and was threatened by Schaefer on Hearst ‘s name, first with a lawsuit and then with a vague threat of consequences for everyone in Hollywood. On January 10 Parsons and two lawyers working for Hearst were given a private screening of the film. [11] : 206 James G. Stewart was present at the screening and said that it was out of the movie. [42] : 11Soon after, Parsons called Schaefer and threatened RKO with a lawsuit if they released Kane . [10] : 111 She also contacted the management of Radio City Music Hall and asked that they not screen it. [11] : 206 The next day, front page headline in Daily Variety read, “HEARST BANS RKO FROM PAPERS.” [95] Hearst Began this ban by suppressing advancement of RKO’s Kitty Foyle , [70] : 94 goal in two weeks the ban Was Lifted for everything except Kane. [10] : 111

When Schaefer did not submit to Parsons, it was called “Hearst to Exhibit the Private Lives of the Whole Film Industry”. [11] : 206 Welles has been exposed to his romance with the married actress Dolores del Rio , who wanted the affair kept secret until his divorce was finalized. [11] : 207 In a statement to reporters Welles denied that the film was about Hearst. For the purposes of the law, it is necessary for the law of libel and invasion of privacy, that it bewanted that it would be necessary to proceed in a negative way. [11] :209

The Hollywood Reporter ran to a front-page story on January 13th, 2011 | The goal was to put pressure on the other studios to force RKO to shelve Kane . [10] : 111 Many of those immigrants had fled Europe after the rise of fascism and feared the safe haven of the United States. [11] : 209 Soon afterwards, Schaefer was approached by Nicholas Schenck , Head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’sparent company, with an offer on the behalf of Louis B. Mayerand other Hollywood executives to RKO Pictures of $ 805,000. [10] : 111-112 [96] Once RKO’s legal team reassured Schaefer, the studio announced on January 21 that Kane would be released as scheduled, and with one of the largest campaigns in the studio’s history. Schaefer brought Welles to New York City for a private screening of the film with the New York corporate heads of the studios and their lawyers. [10] : 112 There were no objections to its release provided that certain changes, including the removal of specific references that may be offensive to Hearst, were made. [10] : 112-113Welles agreed and cut the running time from 122 minutes to 119 minutes. The cuts satisfied the corporate lawyers. [10] : 113

Hearst’s response

Hearing about Citizen Kane enraged Hearst so much that he banned any advertising, reviewing, or mentioning it in his papers, and had his journalist libel Welles. [96] Welles used Hearst’s opposition as a pretext for previewing the film in several opinion-making screenings in Los Angeles, lobbying for its artistic worth against the hostile campaign that Hearst was waging. [96] A special press screening took place in early March. Henry Luce was in attendance and reportedly wanted to buy the movie from RKO for $ 1 million to distribute it himself. The reviews for this screening were positive. In Hollywood Review headline read, “Mr. Genius Comes Through;” Kane ‘Astonishing Picture “. TeaMotion Picture Herald reported on the screening and Welles’ intention to sue RKO. Time magazine wrote that “The objection of Mr. Hearst, who founded a publishing empire on sensationalism, is ironic.” Citizen Kane is the most sensational product of the US movie industry. ” A second press screening occurred in April. [70] : 94

When Schaefer rejected Hearst’s offer to suppress the film, Hearst banned every newspaper and station in his media conglomerate of reviewing-or even mentioning-the movie. He also had many movie theaters, and many did not show his fear of being socially exposed by his massive newspaper empire. [97] The Oscar-nominated documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane lays the blame for the movie’s relative failure squarely at the feet of Hearst. The film did decent business at the box office; it went on to be the sixth highest grossing film in its year of release, a modest success its backers found acceptable. Nevertheless, the film’s commercial performance fell short of its creators’ expectations. [25]Hearst’s biographer David Nasaw points out that Hearst’s actions were not the only reason Kane failed, however: the innovations Welles made with narrative, the message of the film (that the pursuit of success is futile) a popular audience could not appreciate its merits. [98] : 572-573

Hearst’s attacks against Welles went beyond attempting to suppress the film. Welles said that while he was on his post-filming reading tour police detective approached him at a restaurant and advised him to go back to his hotel. A 14-year-old girl had been reported in the closet of his room, and two photographers were waiting for him to walk in. Knowing he would be jailed after the resulting publicity, Welles did not return to the hotel but waited until the following morning. “But that was not Hearst,” said Welles, “that was a hatchet man from the local Hearst paper who thought he would do it himself by doing it.” [12] : 85-86

In March 1941 Welles directed a Broadway Version of Richard Wright ‘s Native Son (and, for luck, used a “Rosebud” sled as a prop). Native Her received positive reviews, but Hearst-owned papers used the opportunity to attack Welles as a communist. [11] : 213 The Hearst papers vociferously attacked Welles after his April 1941 radio play, “His Honor, the Mayor”, [99] produced for The Free Company radio series on CBS. [33] : 113 [100]

Welles described his luck with Hearst in an elevator at the Fairmont Hotel on the night Kane Citizen opened in San Francisco. Hearst and Welles’ father were acquaintances, so Welles was introduced himself and asked Hearst if he would like to come to the opening. Hearst did not respond. “As he was getting off at his floor, I said, ‘Charles Foster Kane would have accepted.’ No reply “, Welles recalled. “And Kane would have you know, that was his style-just as he finished Jed Leland’s bad review of Susan as an opera singer.” [12] : 49-50

In 1945 Hearst journalist Robert Shaw wrote that the film got “a full tide of insensate fury” from Hearst papers, “then it ebbed suddenly. Orson Welles is on the official sound-of-a-bitch list of every Hearst newspaper. ” [101] : 102

Despite Hearst’s attempts to destroy the film, since 1941 references to his life and career have generally been referred to Citizen Kane , such as the headline of “Son of Citizen Kane Dies” for the obituary of Hearst’s son. [102] In the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Hearst’s ban on the movie. [103]


Radio City Music Hall ‘s management refused to screen Citizen Kane for its premiere. A possible factor was Parsons’ threat that The American Weekly would run a defamatory story on the grandfather of major RKO stockholder Nelson Rockefeller. [10] : 115 Other exhibitors feared by Hearst and refused to show the film. [11] : 216 In March Welles Threatened the RKO board of governors with a lawsuit if they did not release the movie. Schaefer stood by Welles and opposed the board of governors. [11] : 210When RKO is still in the film’s release Welles offered to buy the movie for $ 1 million and the studio finally agreed to release the movie on May 1. [11] : 215

Schaefer managed to book a few theaters willing to show the movie. Hearst papers refused to accept advertising. [10] : 115 RKO’s publicity advertisements for the film erroneously promoted it as a love story. [11] : 217

Kane opened at the RKO Palace Theater on Broadway in New York on May 1, 1941, [5] in Chicago on May 6, and in Los Angeles on May 8. [10] : 115 Welles said that at the Chicago premiere that he attended the theater was almost empty. [11] : 216 It was more important than that. RKO still having problems getting to the film. For example, one chain controlling more than 500 theaters got Welles’ s film as part of a package but refused to play it, reportedly out of fear of Hearst. [10] : 117Hearst’s disruption of the movie’s box office performance, $ 160,000 during its initial run. [104] : 164 [105] The movie earned $ 23.878 icts During first week in New York. By the ninth week it only made $ 7,279. Overall it lost money in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC, but made a profit in Seattle. [11] : 216

Contemporary responses

Citizen Kane received many reviews from several critics. New York Daily News critic Kate Cameron called it “one of the most interesting and technically superior movies that ever come out of a Hollywood studio”. [106] New York World-Telegram William Boehnel said that the film was “staggering and belongs to the greatest screen”. [107] Time magazine wrote that “it has found important new techniques in picture-making and story-telling.” [11] : 211 Lifemagazine’s review said that “few movies have ever come from Hollywood with such powerful narrative, such original technique, such exciting photography.”211 John C. Mosher of The New Yorker called the movie’s style “like fresh air” and raved “Something new to the movie world at last.” [101] : 68 Anthony Bower of the Nation called it “brilliant” and praised the cinematography and performances by Welles, Comingore and Cotten. [108] John O’Hara ‘sNewsweek, Welles was “the best actor in the history of acting.” [11] : 211 Welles called O’Hara’s review “the greatest review that anybody ever had.” [39] : 100

The day following the premiere of Citizen Kane, The New York Times criticism Crowly wrote that “… it comes close to being the most sensational film ever made in Hollywood.”

Count on Mr. Welles: he does not do things by halves. … Upon the screen he discovered an area large enough for his expansive whims to have free play. And the consequence is that it has made a picture of tremendous and overpowering scope, not in physical extent so much in its rapid and graphic rotation of thoughts. Mr. Welles has a very good image. [109]

In the UK CA Lejeune of The Observer called Expired it “The most exciting movie That has come out of Hollywood in twenty-five years” [110] and Dilys Powell of The Sunday Times Said the movie’s style Was Made “with the ease and boldness and resource of one who is not controlled by his medium. ” [111] : 63 Edward Tangye Lean of Horizon praised the film’s technical style, calling it “perhaps a decade ahead of its contemporaries.” [112] [o]

A few reviews were mixed. Otis Ferguson of The New Republic said it was “the boldest free-hand stroke in major screen production since Griffith and Bitzer were running wild to unshackle the camera”, but also criticized its style, calling it a “retrogression in technical film” and stating that “it holds no great place” in movie history. [114] Ferguson “just willful dabbling” and “the old shell game.” In a rare film review, filmmaker Erich von Stroheim criticized the film’s story and non-linear structure, but praised the technical style and performances, and wrote “Citizen Kane is a great picture and will go down in screen history. More power to Welles! ” [115]

Some prominent critics wrote negative reviews. In His 1941 review for Sur , Jorge Luis Borges famously called Expired the film “a labyrinth with no center” and Predicted That legacy icts Would Be a Movie “whose historical value is undeniable goal qui no one cares to see again.” [116] The Argus Weekend Magazine criticism Erle Cox called the film “amazing” but thought that Welles’ break with Hollywood traditions was “overdone.” [117] Tatler ‘ s James Agatecalled Expired it “the well-intentioned, muddled, amateurish one thing Expects from high-brows” [118]and “a very good movie which tries to run the psychological essay in harness with your detective thriller, and does not quite succeed.” [119] Eileen Creelman of the New York Sun called “a cold picture, unemotional, a puzzle rather than a drama”. [36] : 178 Other people who disliked the film were WH Auden [39] : 98 and James Agee . [39] : 


Citizen Kane received the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture. [120] The National Board of Review voted Best Film of 1941, [121] and recognized Welles and Coulouris for their performances. [122]

Citizen Kane received nine nominations at the 1941 Academy Awards : [123]

  • Outstanding Motion Picture – Mercury
  • Best Director – Orson Welles
  • Best Actor – Orson Welles
  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay) – Herman J. Mankiewicz , Orson Welles
  • Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) – Perry Ferguson , Polglase Van Nest , Al Fields , Darrell Silvera
  • Best Cinematography (Black and White) – Gregg Toland
  • Best Film Editing – Robert Wise
  • Best Music (Music Score of a Dramatic Picture) – Bernard Herrmann
  • Best Sound Recording – John Aalberg

It was widely believed the film would win most of its Oscar nominations, but it only won the award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), shared by Welles and Mankiewicz. Variety Reported That block voting by screen extras Deprived Citizen Kane of Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor (Welles), and similar prejudices Were Likely to-have-been responsible for the movie receiving send no technical awards. [10] : 117 [124]


Citizen Kane was the only movie made under Welles’s original contract with RKO Pictures, which gives him complete creative control. [11] : 223 Welles’ new business manager and attorney permitted the contract to lapse. In July 1941, [125] [126] Welles reluctantly signed a new deal with RKO [11] : 223 under which he produced and directed The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), produced Journey Into Fear (1943), and began It’s All True , a film he agreed to do without payment. In the new contract Welles was an employee of the studio [127]RKO to modify and re-cut The Magnificent Ambersons over his objections. [11] : 223 In June 1942 Schaefer resigned the presidency of RKO Pictures and Welles’ contract was terminated by his successor . [54]

Release in Europe

During World War II , Citizen Kane was not seen in most European countries. It was shown in France for the first time on July 10, 1946 at the Marbeuf theater in Paris. [128] : 34-35 [p] Initially most French film critics were influenced by the negative reviews of Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945 and Georges Sadoul in 1946. [10] : 118 At that time many French intellectuals and filmmakers shared Sartre’s negative opinion that Hollywood filmmakers were uncultured. [130] : 124Sartre criticized the film’s flashbacks for its nostalgic and romantic preoccupation with the past instead of the reality of the present and said that “the whole film is based on a misconception of what cinema is all about. all know that cinema has got to be in the present tense. ” [131] [132]

André Bazin , a little-known film critic working for Sartre’s The Modern Times , was asked to give an impromptu speech about the film after a screening at the Coliseum Theater in the autumn of 1946 [128] : 36 and changed the opinion of much of the audience. This speech led to Bazin’s 1947 article “The Technique of Citizen Kane”, [130] : 125 which directly influenced public opinion about the film. [130] : 124 Carringer wrote that Bazin was “the one who did the most to enhance the film’s reputation.” [10] : 118 [q]Both Bazin’s criticism of the film and his theories about cinema is centered on his strong belief in staging . These theories were diametrically opposed to both of the popular Soviet montage theory [59] : xiii and the politically Marxist and anti-Hollywood beliefs of most French film critics at that time. [128] : 36 Bazin believed that a film should depict reality without the filmmaker imposing their “will” on the spectator, which the Soviet theory supported. [59] : xiii Bazin Wrote That Citizen Kane ‘ s staging created a “new conception of filmmaking” [59]: 233 and that the freedom given to the audience from the deep focus shots by the concept of the cinematic image. [130] : 128 Bazin wrote Extensively about the staging in the szene Where Susan Alexander Attempts Suicide, qui Was one long take while other movies Would Have used oven or five shots in the stage. [59] : 234 Bazin wrote that the film’s staging “forces the spectator to participate in the meaning of the film” and creates “a psychological realism that brings the spectator back to the real conditions of perception.” [60] : 72

In his 1950 essay “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema”, Bazin placed Citizen Kane center stage as a work in a new period in cinema. [133] : 37 One of the first critics to defend motion pictures as being on the same level of art or painting, Bazin often used the film as an example of cinema as an art form [130] : 129 and wrote that “Welles He has been enriched with his filmic repertory with new or forgotten effects, in today’s artistic context, we have not known they could have. [59] : 236 Bazin aussi Compared to the movie Roberto Rossellini ‘Paisà for having “the same aesthetic concept of realism”[130] : 117-118 and to the movies of William Wyler by Toland (such as The Little Foxes and The Best Years of Our Lives ), all of which used deep focus cinematography that Bazin called “a dialectical step forward in movie language.” [60] : 71

Bazin’s praise of the movie went beyond the film theory and reflected his own philosophy towards life itself. [130] : 125 His metaphysical interpretations about the film reflected humankind’s place in the universe. [130] : 128 Bazin believed that the film examined one person’s identity and search for meaning. It portrayed the world as ambiguous and full of contradictions, and then simply portrayed people’s actions and motivations. [130] : 130 Bazin’s biographer Dudley Andrew wrote that:

The world of Citizen Kane , that mysterious, dark, and infinitely deep world of space and voices. the sense of our lives. [130] : 129

Bazin went on to co-found Cahiers du cinéma , whose contributors (including future film directors François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard ) also praised the film. [133] : 37 The popularity of Truffaut’s author’s theory helped the film’s and Welles’s reputation. [134] : 263


By 1942 Citizen Kane had his theatrically and theatrically run away, from a few showings at the city’s big arthouse cinemas, it largely vanished and both the movie’s and Welles’s reputation fell among American critics. In 1949 critic Richard Griffith in his overview of cinema, The Film Till Now , dismissed Citizen Kane as “… tinpot if not crackpot Freud .” [10] : 117-118

In the United States, it was neglected and forgotten until its revival on television in the mid-1950s. Three key events in 1956 RKO was one of the first studios to sell its library to television, and early that year Citizen Kane started to appear on television; second, the film was re-released theatrically to coincide with Welles’s return to the New York stage, where he played King Lear ; Andrew Sarris wrote “Citizen Kane: The American Baroque” for Film Culture , and described it as “the great American movie” and “the work that influenced the cinema” more and more American film since Birth of a Nation . ” [135]Carringer considers Sarris to be the most important influence on the film’s reputation in the US. [10] : 119

During Expo 58 , a poll of over 100 movie historians named Kane one of the top ten greatest movies ever made (the group gave first-place honors to The Battleship Potemkin ). When they were featured in the film, they were booed for not including the film. [136] : 152

In the decades since, ict critical status as the greatest movie ever made HAS grown, with Numerous essays and books on it Including Peter Cowie’s The Cinema of Orson Welles , Ronald Gottesman’s Focus on Citizen Kane , a collection of significant reviews and background parts, and most notably Kael’s essay, “Raising Kane”, which promoted the value of the film to a much wider audience than it had reached before. [10] : 120 DESPITE icts criticism of Welles it further Top popularized the notion of Citizen Kane as the great American film. The rise of art house and film society tours also aided in the film’s rediscovery. [10] : 119David Thomson said that the film ‘grows with every year as America comes to resemble it.’ [47] : 1172

The British magazine Sight & Sound has produced a Top ten list surveying film critics every decade since 1952, and is regarded as one of the most respected barometers of critical taste. [137] Citizen Kane was a runner up to the top 10 in its 1952 poll, but it was voted as the greatest film ever made in its 1962 poll, [138] retaining the top spot in every subsequent poll [139] [140] [141 ] until 2012, when Vertigo displaced it. [142]

Julio Castedo’s The Best Movies of the Century , [143] Cinema Books ‘s 100 Movies for an Ideal Cinematheque, [144] Kinovedcheskie Zapiski , [145] Time out magazine’s Top 100 Movies (Centenary), [146] The Village Voice ‘ s 100 Greatest Movies, [147] and The Royal Belgian film Archive ‘s Most Important and Misappreciated American films. [148]

Roger Ebert called Citizen Kane The greatest movie ever made: “But people do not always ask about the greatest movie.” They ask, “What’s your favorite movie?” Again, I always answer with Citizen Kane . ” [149]

In 1989, the United States Library of Congress was considered culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry . Citizen Kane was one of the first 25 films inducted into the registry. [150]

On February 18, 1999, the United States Postal Service Honored Citizen Kane by Celebrate the Century . [151] The film was honored again February 25, 2003, in a series of US postage stamps marking the 75th anniversary of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Art director Perry Ferguson represents the behind-the-scenes craftsmans of filmmaking in the series; he is depicted completing a sketch for Citizen Kane . [152]

Citizen Kane was ranked number one in the American Film Institute’s polls of film industry artists and leaders in 1998 [153] and 2007 . [154] “Rosebud” was chosen as the most memorable movie in 2005 AFI poll . [155] The film’s score was one of 250 nominees for the top 25 film scores in American cinema in another 2005 AFI poll . [156]

In 2012, the Motion Picture Editors Guild published a list of the 75 best-edited films of all time based on a survey of its membership. Citizen Kane was listed second. [157]

The film currently has a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes , based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 9.4 / 10. The site’s consensus states: “Orson Welles’s epic tale of a publishing tycoon’s rise and fall is entertaining, poignant, and inventive in its storytelling, earning its reputation as a landmark achievement in film.” [158]


Citizen Kane has been called the most influential film of all time. [159] Richard Corliss has asserted that Jules Dassin’s 1941 film The Tell-Tale Heart was the first example of its influence [160] and the first pop culture reference to the film occurred later in 1941 when the spoof comedy Hellzapoppin ‘ featured a “Rosebud” sled. [161] [r] The film’s cinematography was almost immediately influential and in 1942 American Cinematographerwrote “without a doubt the most immediately noticeable trend in cinematography methods during the year was the trend towards crisper definition and increased depth of field.” [163] : 51

The cinematography Influenced John Huston ‘s The Maltese Falcon . Cinematographer Arthur Edeson used a wide-angle lens but Toland and the film includes many long shots, low angles and shots of the ceiling, but it did not use deep focus shots on broad sets to the extent that Citizen Kane did. Edeson and Toland are often credited together for revolutionizing cinematography in 1941. [163] : 48-50 Toland’s cinematography influenced his own work on The Best Years of Our Lives . Other films include Gaslight , Mildred Pierce and Jane Eyre . [10] :85-86 Cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa said that his work has been influenced by “the camera work of Gregg Toland in Citizen Kane” and not by traditional Japanese art. [164]

Its cinematography, lighting, and flashback structure influenced such film noir of the 1940s and 1950s as The Killers , Keeper of the Flame , Caught , The Great Man [71] : 425 and This Gun for Hire . [10] : 85-86 David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson have written that “For over a decade thereafter, American films have been exaggerated foregrounds and somber lighting, enhanced by long takes and exaggerated camera movements.” However, by the 1960s filmmakers such as those from the French New Wave and Cinema TruthFavored movements “flatter, more shallow images with softer focus” and Citizen Kane ‘ s style est devenu less fashionable. American filmmakers in the 1970s combined these two approaches by using long shots, rapid shots, deep focus shots and telephoto shots all at once. [134] : 798 Its use of long takes Influenced Movies Such As The Asphalt Jungle , and Its use of deep focus cinematography Influenced Gun Crazy , [134] : 389-390 The Whip Hand , The Devil’s General and Justice Is Done . [134] : 414The secca commare [134] : 533 and Man of Marble . [134] : 747

The movie’s structure Influenced the biographical film Lawrence of Arabia and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters -which begin with the subject’s death and show Their life in flashbacks-as well as Welles’s thriller Mr. Arkadin . [136] : 154 Rosenbaum sees similarities in the film ‘s plot to Mr. Arkadin , Welles’ s career, beginning with Citizen Kane and the Magnificent Ambersons , Mr. Arkadin and Chimes at Midnight . Rosenbaum aussi point out how the movie Influenced Warren Beatty ‘sReds . The film depicts the life of Jack Reed through the eyes of Louise Bryant, much as Kane’s life is seen through the eyes of Thompson and the people who he interviews. Rosenbaum also compared the romantic montage between Reed and Bryant with the breakfast table editing in Citizen Kane . [165] : 113-116, 300-302

Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon is often compared to the film due to both having complicated plot structures told by multiple characters in the film. Welles said his initial idea for the film was “Basically, the idea Rashomon used later on,”[12]:53 however Kurosawa had not yet seen the film before making Rashomon in 1950.[166]:78 Nigel Andrews has compared the film’s complex plot structure to RashomonLast Year at MarienbadMemento and Magnolia. Andrews also compares Charles Foster Kane to Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull and Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood for their portrayals of “haunted megalomaniac[s], presiding over the shards of [their] own [lives].”[167]

The films of Paul Thomas Anderson have been compared to it. Variety compared There Will Be Blood to the film[168] and called it “one that rivals Giant and Citizen Kane in our popular lore as origin stories about how we came to be the people we are.”[169] The Master has been called “movieland’s only spiritual sequel to Citizen Kane that doesn’t shrivel under the hefty comparison”[170] and the film’s loose depiction of L. Ron Hubbard has been compared to Citizen Kane‘s depiction of Hearst.[171] The Social Network has been compared to the film for its depiction of a media mogul and by the character Erica Albright being similar to “Rosebud”.[172] The controversy of the Sony hacking before the release of The Interview brought comparisons of Hearst’s attempt to suppress the film.[173] The film’s plot structure and some specific shots influenced Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine.[174] Abbas Kiarostami’s The Traveler has been called “the Citizen Kane of the Iranian children’s cinema.”[175] The film’s use of overlapping dialogue has influenced the films of Robert Altman and Carol Reed.[71]:412 Reed’s films Odd Man OutThe Third Man (in which Welles and Cotten appeared) and Outcast of the Islands were also influenced by the film’s cinematography.[71]:425

Many directors have listed it as one of the greatest films ever made, including Woody Allen, Michael Apted, Les Blank, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Greengrass, Michel Hazanavicius, Michael Mann, Sam Mendes, Jiri Menzel, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese,[176] Denys Arcand, Gillian Armstrong, John Boorman, Roger Corman, Alex Cox, Milos Forman, Norman Jewison, Richard Lester, Richard Linklater, Paul Mazursky, Ronald Neame, Sydney Pollack[177]and Stanley Kubrick.[178] Yasujirō Ozu said it was his favorite non-Japanese film and was impressed by its techniques.[179]:231 François Truffaut said that the film “has inspired more vocations to cinema throughout the world than any other” and recognized its influence in The Barefoot ContessaLes Mauvaises RencontresLola Montès, and 8 1/2.[180]:279–280 Truffaut’s Day for Night pays tribute to the film in a dream sequence depicting a childhood memory of the character played by Truffaut stealing publicity photos from the film.[181] Numerous film directors have cited the film as influential on their own films, including Theo Angelopoulos,[182] Luc Besson, the Coen brothers, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, John Frankenheimer, Stephen Frears, Sergio Leone, Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Bryan Singer and Steven Spielberg.[183] Ingmar Bergman disliked the film and called it “a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie has is absolutely unbelievable!”[184]

William Friedkin said that the film influenced him and called it “a veritable quarry for filmmakers, just as Joyce’s Ulysses is a quarry for writers.”[185]:210 The film has also influenced other art forms. Carlos Fuentes’s novel The Death of Artemio Cruz was partially inspired by the film[186] and the rock band The White Stripes paid unauthorized tribute to the film in the song “The Union Forever”.[187]

Film memorabilia

In 1982, film director Steven Spielberg bought a “Rosebud” sled for $60,500; it was one of three balsa sleds used in the closing scenes and the only one that was not burned.[188][189] After the Spielberg purchase, it was reported that retiree Arthur Bauer claimed to own another “Rosebud” sled.[190] In early 1942 when Bauer was 12 he won an RKO publicity contest and selected the hardwood sled as his prize.[191] In 1996, Bauer’s estate offered the painted pine sled at auction through Christie’s.[191] Bauer’s son told CBS News that his mother had once wanted to paint the sled and use it as a plant stand, but Bauer told her to “just save it and put it in the closet.”[192] The sled was sold to an anonymous bidder for $233,500.[193]

Welles’ Oscar for Best Original Screenplay was considered to be rediscovered in 1994. It was withdrawn from Sotheby’s when it failed to reach its estimate of $ 800,000 to $ 1.2 million. [194] Owned by the charitable Dax Foundation, [194] it was auctioned for $ 861,542 in 2011 to an anonymous buyer. [195] Mankiewicz’s Oscar was sold at least twice, in 1999 and again in 2012, the latest price being $ 588,455. [196]

In 1989, Mankiewicz’s personal copy of the Citizen Kane script was auctioned at Christie’s. The leather-bound volume included the final shooting script and a carbon copy of American That boron handwritten annotations, purportedly made by Hearst’s lawyers, Who Said Were Obtained to-have it in the Manner Described by Kael in ” Raising Kane “. [197] [198] Estimated to bring $ 70,000 to $ 90,000, [199] it sold for a record $ 231,000. [200]

In 2007, Welles’ personal copy of the last revised draft of Citizen Kane before the Sotheby’s shooting script was sold for $ 97,000. [194] A second draft of the American titled script , marked “Mr. Welles’ working copy”, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2014 for $ 164,692. [201] [s] A collection of 24 pages from a working script found in Welles’ personal possessions by his daughter Beatrice Welles was auctioned in 2014 for $ 15,000. [203]

In 2014, a collection of approximately 235 Citizen Kane stills and production photos that had belonged to Welles was sold for $ 7,812. [204] [205]

Rights and home media

The composited negative camera of Citizen Kane was destroyed in a New Jersey film laboratory fire in the 1970s. Subsequent prints were derived from a positive master (a fine grain preservation element) made in the 1940s and originally intended for use in overseas distribution. [206] Modern techniques were used to produce a pristine print for a 50th Anniversary theatrical reissue in 1991 which Paramount released for then-owner Turner Broadcasting System , [207] which earned $ 1.6 million in North America. [208]

In 1955, RKO sold the American television rights to its film library, including Citizen Kane , to C & C Television Corp. [209] In 1960, television rights to the pre-1956 RKO library were acquired by United Artists . RKO kept the non-broadcast television rights to its library. [210]

In 1976, when entrepreneur Snuff Garrett bought cassette rights to the RKO library for what United Press International termed “a pittance.” In 1978 The Nostalgia Merchant released the film through Media Home Entertainment . By 1980 the 800-title library of The Merchant Nostalgia was earning $ 2.3 million a year. “Nobody wanted cassettes four years ago,” Garrett told UPI. “It was a first time people called me crazy, it was a hobby with me which became big business.” [211] RKO Home Video released the film on VHS and Betamax in 1985. [212]

In 1984, The Criterion Collection released the film as its first LaserDisc . It was made from a fine grained master positive provided by the UCLA Film and Television Archive . [213] When told about the then-new concept of having an audio commentary on the disc, “Welles was skeptical but said” theoretically, that’s good for teaching movies, so long as they do not talk nonsense. ” [39] : 283 In 1992 Criterion released a new 50th Anniversary Edition LaserDisc. This version had been improved and more special features, including the documentary The Legacy of Citizen Kane and Welles’s early shortThe Hearts of Age . [214]

Turner Broadcasting System Acquired Broadcast Television Rights to the RKO Library in 1986 [215] and the full worldwide rights to the library in 1987. [216] The RKO Home Video Unit was reorganized into Turner Home Entertainment that year. [217] In 1991 Turner released a 50th Anniversary Edition on VHS and a collector’s edition that includes the film, the documentary Reflections On Citizen Kane , Harlan’s Lebo’s 50th anniversary album, a poster and a copy of the original script. [218] In 1996, Time Warner acquired Turner and Warner Video Home absorbed Turner Home Entertainment. [219] Today, Warner’s Time Warner Bros.unit has distribution rights for the film. [220]

In 2001, Warner Home Video released a 60th Anniversary Collectors DVD Edition . The two-disc DVD included feature-length commentaries by Roger Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich , as well as The Battle Over Citizen Kane . It was simultaneously released on VHS. [221] The DVD was criticized for being ” too bright, too clean” , but so had a good deal of texture, the depth, and the sense of film grain. [222]

In 2003, Welles’s daughter Beatrice Welles sued Turner Entertainment, claiming the Welles estate is the legal copyright holder of the film. It is claimed that it is terminated with RKO that Turner’s copyright of the film was null and void. She also claimed that the estate of Orson Welles was 20% of the movie’s profits if not copyrighted. In 2007 she was allowed to proceed with the lawsuit, overturning the 2004 decision in favor of Turner Entertainment on the issue of video rights. [223]

In 2011, it was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in a 70th anniversary box set. [224] The San Francisco Chronicle called “the Blu-ray release of the year.” [225] Supplements included everything available on the 2001 Warner Home Video release, and RKO 281 and packaging extras that include a hardcover booklet and a folio containing a reproduction of the original souvenir program, miniature lobby cards and other memorabilia. [226] The Blu-ray DVD was scanned as 4K resolution from three different 35mm prints and rectified the quality issues of the 2001 DVD. [222]

Colorization controversy

In the 1980s, Citizen Kane became a catalyst in the controversy over the colorization of black-and-white films. One proponent of film colorization was Ted Turner , [227] whose Turner Entertainment Company owned the RKO library. [228] A Turner Entertainment spokesperson initially stated that Citizen Kane would not be colorized, [229] but in July 1988 Turner said, ” Citizen Kane? I’m thinking of colorizing it.” [230]In early 1989 it was reported that two companies were producing color tests for Turner Entertainment. Criticism when moviemaker Henry Jaglom stated that shortly before his death Welles had implored him “do not let Ted Turner deface my movie with his pencils.” [231]

In February 1989, Turner Entertainment president Roger Mayer announced that the work was in the process of being filmed in Welles’ 1939 contract with RKO that “could be read to prohibit colorization without permission of the Welles estate.” [232] Mayer added that Welles’ contract was “quite unusual” and “other contracts we are not at all.” [233] Turner had only colorized the final reel of the film before abandoning the project. In 1991, one minute of the colorized test footage was included in the BBC Arena documentary The Complete Citizen Kane . [t] [234]

The colorization controversy was a factor in the passage of the National Film Preservation Act in 1988 which created the National Film Registry the following year. ABC News anchor Peter Jennings commented that Ted Turner, who’s been adding color to some movies and re-editing others for television, been altered “. [235]

See also

  • List of movies considered the best
  • List of movies with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes , a movie review aggregator website
  • RKO 281 , made-for-television film based on the making of Citizen Kane


  • Bazin, André. The Technique of Citizen Kane . Paris, France: The Modern Times 2, number 17, 1947. pages 943-949.
  • Biskind, Peter (ed.), Jaglom, Henry and Welles, Orson. My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles . New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013. ISBN  978-0-8050-9725-2 .
  • Bogdanovich, Peter and Welles, Orson. This is Orson Welles. HarperPerennial 1992. ISBN 0-06-092439-X
  • Bogdanovich, Peter and Welles, Orson (uncredited). “The Kane Mutiny”, in Esquire , October 1972. [u] [v]
  • Brady, Frank. Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles . New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989. ISBN  0-385-26759-2 .
  • Callow, Simon. Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu . London: Jonathan Cape, 1995. ISBN  0-224-03852-4
  • Carringer, Robert L. The Making of Citizen Kane . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985. ISBN  0-520-05367-2 hardcover; 1996 revised and updated edition ISBN  0-520-20567-7 paperback
  • Carringer, Robert L. “The Scripts of Citizen Kane “, in Critical Inquiry No. 5, 1978. [w] [x]
  • Cook, David A. A History of Narrative Film . WW Norton Company, 2004. ISBN  0-393-97868-0
  • Gottesman, Ronald (ed.). Focus on Citizen Kane . Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976. ISBN  0-13-949214-3
  • Gottesman, Ronald (ed.). Perspectives on Citizen Kane . New York: GK Hall & Co., 1996. ISBN  978-0-8161-1616-4
  • Heylin, Clinton. Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios , Chicago Review Press, 2005. ISBN  1-55652-547-8
  • Howard, James. The Complete Films of Orson Welles . New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1991. ISBN  0-8065-1241-5 .
  • Kael, Pauline, Welles, Orson and Mankiewicz, Herman J. The Citizen Kane Book . Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971. [y]
  • Leaming, Barbara. Orson Welles, A Biography . New York: Viking Press, 1985. ISBN  978-0-618-15446-3 .
  • Meryman, Richard. Mank: The Wit, World and Life of Herman Mankiewicz . New York: William Morrow and Company, 1978. ISBN  978-0-688-03356-9 .
  • Mulvey, Laura. Citizen Kane . London: British Film Institute, 1992. ISBN  0-85170-339-9
  • Naremore, James (ed.). Orson Welles’s Kane Citizen: A Casebook in Criticism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN  978-0-19-515892-2
  • Nasaw, David. The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. ISBN  978-0-618-15446-3
  • Rippy, Marguerite H. Orson Welles and the Unfinished RKO Projects: A Postmodern Perspective . Southern Illinois University Press, Illinois, 2009. ISBN  978-0-8093-2912-0
  • Rosenbaum, Jonathan. “I Missed It at the Movies: Objections to ‘Raising Kane'”, in Film Comment , Spring 1972. [z]

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