Showing posts with the label Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane

What can be said about Citizen Kane , topper of Best Of lists for half a century, staple in college film courses, and buster of conventions and assumptions about film-making? No less an intellect than Welles, the boy wonder with a career on the stage before his 18th birthday and omnivore of all things artistic and intellectual, could’ve produced such a towering monument. The story centers around a gaggle of reporters chasing the meaning of the last word, “Rosebud,” of Charles Foster Kane, an iconic and enigmatic newspaper publisher. Their journey takes the viewer through a tour of Kane’s life and rise to fame and power. We see that when Kane his father and then his mother die, and the boy is sent to live with the tycoon Walter Thatcher, whose memoirs become one of the clues used by Jerry Thompson, one of the reporters investigating the origin of “Rosebud.” Kane’s relations with Thatcher were thorny, but that can probably be said of his relations with many of the people in his

Citizen Kane Production

Welles entered his tumultuous but illustrious teenage years before talking pictures were made. He cut his teeth in live theatre and then got into broadcasting via radio. For him, film was a frontier. It’s only fair to note, though, that his original motivation for exploring this virgin territory was to raise money for Broadway productions of such upcoming plays as Five Kings and Playboys of the Western World. He flew to Hollywood, rented a house between the residences of Shirley Temple and Greta Garbo, and signed a luxurious two-movie contract with RKO. His plan was to shoot, for his first film, an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s controversial classic Heart of Darkness . But work on this project ran aground, producing nothing. Welles also forayed briefly into an attempt at producing an adaptation of Nicholas Blake’s The Smiler With a Knife. This, too would be aborted, and according to the tired adage, the third time would be the charm, yielding the classic Citizen Kane . Bef

Citizen Kane Reaction

Citizen Kane not only went on to status a classic, essentially the pinnacle of American filmmaking, but it was also very well received upon its release. Here’s a sampling of the remarks of various newspaper and magazine film reviews: Orson Welles removes his Citizen Kane make up 1940 John O’Hara, Newsweek: “your faithful bystander reports that he has just seen a picture which he thinks must be the best picture he ever saw.” Bosley Crowther, The New York Times: “Far and away the most surprising and cinematically exciting motion picture to be seen here in many a moon.”: Howard Barnes, The New York Herald Tribune: “The motion picture stretched its muscles at the Palace Theater last night, to remind one that it is a sleeping giant of the arts.” Life: “Few movies have ever come from Hollywood with such powerful narrative, such original technique, such exciting photography.” Cecilia Ager, PM: “Seeing it, it’s as if you never really saw a movie before.” William Boehnel, The

Citizen Kane – 70th Anniversary

May 2011 is the 70th anniversary of ther release of Citizen Kane, widely considered the greatest motion picture ever made. Orson Welles’ artistic genius cannot be denied, and it should be considered this genius is both a product and ahead of its time. The film originally raised controversy for its less than favorable portrayal of media mogul William Randolph Hearst. However the greatness of the film has outlasted Hearst’s own influence. The character of Charles Foster Kane as a mirror of Hearst is well known. What is less apparent are the parallels between Kane and Welles’ life. Kane was born into poverty in his parent’s boarding house in Colorado. When a piece of worthless land belonging to his mother yields “the world’s third largest gold mine,” she has young Kane sent to the East for his education as a ward of Mr. Bernstein, a banker. When Kane gains full control of his inheritance at the relatively young age of 25 he dedicates his fortune to building a newspaper empire based on

Orson Welles Best Films

Citizen Kane By the accounts of nearly all the experts Kane is one of the very best movies ever made. It was ahead of its time stylistically, bold in structure, and compelling in its narrative. Citizen Kane was not only Orson Welles’ best film, but his first. With it, he went from being a big--though still relatively new--figure in the New York drama scene, as well as a radio star, to being hailed as a film director of prodigious talent and boundless potential. For Citizen Kane, Welles cast many of his Mercury Theatre veterans. Joseph Cotten played Jedediah Leland; Dorothy Comingore played Susan Alexander Kane; Agnes Moorehead was Mary Kane, Ruth Warrick, Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Everett Sloane, Mr. Bernstein. Welles starred as the man himself, Charles Foster Kane. The story centers around a gaggle of reporters chasing the meaning of the last word, “Rosebud,” of Charles Foster Kane, an iconic and enigmatic newspaper publisher. Their journey takes the viewer through

Orson Welles Film Noir

Film noir is usually thought of as a style marked by a thematic focus on gritty crime, with crooked detectives and colorful criminals, and black and white compositions with harsh shadows and streetlights falling across the characters at sharp angles. Welles’ film noir moments came in a few of his projects, particularly those early and midway through his career. One familiar with Citizen Kane can see that the classic does embody some of the stylistic traits noted above, and because of this, it can be said to have influenced the genre. Lady From Shanghai would mark Welles’ directorial foray into elements of noir. One noir trait it embodies is the fall guy and femme fatale paradigm, with Michael O’Hara (Welles) as the former and Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth) as the latter. The film also has an air of hopelessness, of the main characters stepping into webs from which they won’t be able to escape, that is a trait of the noir. However, what links Welles most to film noir here