Citizen Kane


1h 59m 1941
Citizen Kane

Brief Synopsis

The investigation of a publishing tycoon's dying words reveals conflicting stories about his scandalous life.

Photos & Videos

Citizen Kane - Make-Up Photos
Citizen Kane - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Citizen Kane - Xanadu Pre-Production Designs

Film Details

Also Known As
John Citizen, U. S. A.
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 5, 1941
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 1 May 1941
Production Company
Mercury Productions, Inc.; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Busch Gardens, Florida, USA; San Diego, California, USA; Point Mugu, California, USA; Busch Gardens, Florida, United States; Point Magu, California, United States; San Diego--Balboa Park, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,734ft (13 reels)

Synopsis

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word "Rosebud." While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane built a dying newspaper into a major empire, married and divorced twice, ran unsuccessfully for governor and saw the collapse of his newspaper empire during the Depression, an editor decides they have not captured the essence of the controversial newspaperman and assigns reporter Jerry Thompson to discover the meaning of Kane's last word.

Thompson first approaches Kane's second wife, singer Susan Alexander, in the Atlantic City nightclub where she now performs. After the drunken Susan orders Thompson to leave, the accommodating bartender reports her claim that she had never heard of Rosebud. Next, Thompson reads the unpublished memoirs of Wall Street financier Walter Parks Thatcher, Kane's guardian and trustee of the mining fortune left to Kane by his mother: Thatcher first meets young Kane in 1871 at his mother's Colorado boardinghouse. Learning that she has become wealthy from mining shares left her by a former boarder, she is determined that her son will be reared and educated in the East. As young Charlie plays outside with his sled, Mrs. Kane hands over management of the mine's returns to Thatcher, against her husband's wishes, then grants the financier guardianship over her son. Despite the boy's protests, he is sent away to live with Thatcher. When Kane turns twenty-five, he assumes control of the world's sixth largest private fortune, and while professing disinterest in most of his holdings, writes Thatcher that he intends to run The Inquirer , a small, New York newspaper acquired through a foreclosure. He moves into the paper's offices and with the help of his best friend, Jedidiah Leland, who acts as the drama critic, turns it into a lively, muckraking publication, which attacks slum landlords, swindlers and big business. In 1898, The Inquirer attempts to draw the United States into war with Spain. After the 1929 stock market crash, Kane relinquishes control of his empire to Thatcher's syndicate. Thompson finishes his reading of Thatcher's memoir without learning anything about Rosebud.

Thompson next questions Bernstein, formerly Kane's general editor and now chairman of the board. Bernstein describes the early days of Kane's tenure at The Inquirer : After Kane and Leland take over the publication in 1892, Kane prints a declaration of principles--that he will report the news honestly and will make the paper a champion of his readers' rights as citizens and as human beings. Leland senses the document's importance and keeps the handwritten declaration as a memorial. Six years later, when Kane acquires the top reporters from the rival paper, whose circulation The Inquirer has surpassed, Leland worries that Kane's approach to the news will also resemble his rival's. During this period, Kane begins to collect the European statues and furniture that will later crowd the rooms of Xanadu. On one European trip, Kane meets and becomes engaged to Emily Monroe Norton, the President's niece, whom he marries in 1900. After relating these events, Bernstein suggests that Rosebud was probably something that Kane lost, perhaps a woman.

Taking Bernstein's advice, Thompson visits Leland, a self-described "disagreeable old man," in the hospital where he is living out his old age. Leland claims Kane believed in nothing except himself, but suggests that Kane's story is about how he lost love because he had none to give: As Kane's empire expands, his marriage to Emily deteriorates. One night in 1915, Kane encounters Susan as she is leaving a pharmacy after purchasing a toothache remedy. Susan innocently offers to let Kane, who has been spattered by mud from a passing carriage, use her apartment to clean up. Kane is at ease with Susan, who has no idea of his importance, and when he learns that her mother wanted her to become an opera singer, requests that she sing for him. In 1916, Kane runs for governor against corrupt political boss Jim Gettys. After a successful campaign speech, Emily sends their son home alone and asks Kane to accompany her to Susan's boardinghouse, where they find Gettys with Susan. Gettys admits that he forced Susan to contact Emily and tells Kane that he will reveal their relationship unless he withdraws from the campaign. Despite the hurt that scandal will bring to his family and Susan, Kane refuses, convinced that he has the love of the electorate. He is mistaken, however, and loses the race. Leland accuses Kane of treating "the people" as if he owned them and asks to be transferred to The Inquirer 's Chicago branch. After Emily divorces him, Kane marries Susan and in 1919, builds the Chicago Opera House for her. Susan's voice is very poor, however, and her debut is met with ridicule, except by The Inquirer critics. When Kane finds Leland slumped over his typewriter in a drunken stupor after beginning an unfavorable review of Susan's performance, he finishes the notice himself, retaining the negative viewpoint, but then fires his old friend.

Thompson now returns to Atlantic City to question Susan again. She insists that it was Kane's idea that she have an operatic career and describes their tempestuous life together: During a noisy quarrel with Susan, Kane receives a special delivery from Leland, returning the $25,000 check Kane sent after firing him and including the handwritten copy of the declaration of principles, which Kane burns. When Susan begs to quit, Kane insists that he will be humiliated if she leaves the stage, and forces her to continue singing until she attempts suicide. Later, they retire to Xanadu, where a bored Susan spends her days working jigsaw puzzles. Finally fed up with his overbearing attempts to orchestrate her life, Susan reproaches Kane for trying to buy her affections with jewels and other material things. He slaps her in anger, and she leaves him. Her story finished, Susan sends Thompson to talk to Raymond, the butler at Xanadu. Thompson confesses to Susan that he feels sorry for Kane, and Susan admits that she does, too.

At Xanadu, Raymond agrees to speak with Thompson for a price, then relates the events following Susan's departure: The furious Kane tears apart Susan's room, until he comes across a small glass snow globe with a tiny cabin inside. Kane picks it up, murmurs "Rosebud" and leaves the room, seemingly unaware of the servants who surround him. Still as ignorant of the significance of Kane's dying word as when he started, Thompson prepares to leave Xanadu with the other reporters and photographers. Passing through rooms where Kane's possessions are being inventoried and crated, Thompson is now convinced that even if he had learned the meaning of Rosebud, it would not have explained the man. Unnoticed among the boxes and crates is an old child's sled. As a workman throws the sled into a furnace, the word Rosebud, painted across the top, is consumed by the flames. .

Cast

Joseph Cotten

Jedediah Leland/Man in projection room

Dorothy Comingore

Susan Alexander Kane

Agnes Moorehead

Mary, Kane's mother

Ruth Warrick

Emily Monroe Norton Kane

Ray Collins

Jim W. Gettys

Erskine Sanford

Herbert Carter/Man in projection room

Everett Sloane

Mr. Bernstein

William Alland

Jerry Thompson/Narrator of "News on the March"

Paul Stewart

Raymond

George Coulouris

Walter Parks Thatcher

Fortunio Bonanova

Matiste

Gus Schilling

[John] The headwaiter [/Man in projection room]

Philip Van Zandt

Mr. Rawlston

Georgia Backus

Miss [Bertha] Anderson [Thatcher library attendant]

Harry Shannon

[Jim] Kane's father

Sonny Bupp

Kane III

Buddy Swan

Kane, age eight

Orson Welles

[Charles Foster] Kane

Landers Stevens

Senate investigator

Peter Allen

Man in Senate investigating committee scene

Norman Taylor

Man in Senate investigating committee scene

Art Yeoman

Speaker in Union Square

Thomas Curran

Theodore Roosevelt

E. G. Miller

Neville Chamberlain/Newpaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Captain Garcia

General in "News on the March"

Carl Ekberg

Adolf Hitler

Carl Faulkner

Hermann Goering

Bruce Sidney

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Cy Ring

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Milton Kibbee

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Lew Harvey

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Louis Natheaux

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Ed Dahlen

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Cliff Herd

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Harry Jones

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

George Rogers

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Ken Weaver

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Roland Winters

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Clyde Mcatee

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

George Denormand

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Bud Geary

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Albert Le Baron

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Sam Steele

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Jim Merritt

Newspaperman at Trenton Town Hall

Guy Repp

Interviewing reporter at boat deck

Buck Mack

Reporter at boat deck

Terrance Ray

Man at boat deck/Man at Madison Square Garden

Sam Ash

Man at boat deck

Buddy Messinger

Man at boat deck

Evelyn Mackert

Woman at boat deck

Sally Walker

Woman at boat deck

Bill Wilkins

Man on roof

Teddy Mangean

Man on roof

Baudena Alva

Extra in newsreel

James Brouht

Extra in newsreel

Gene Chervow

Extra in newsreel

Jack Jahries

Extra in newsreel

Dave Ledner

Extra in newsreel

Bob Terry

Extra in newsreel

Jack Robins

Extra in newsreel

Demetrious Alexis

Extra in newsreel

Victor Romito

Extra in newsreel

Lou Young

Extra in newsreel

Art Dupuis

Extra in newsreel

Rudolph Germaine

Extra in newsreel

Robert Samven

Extra in newsreel

T. Lockwood Arbright

Extra in newsreel

Walter Lawrence

Extra in newsreel

Guy Smith

Extra in newsreel

Brent Shugar

Extra in newsreel

Dimas Sutteno

Extra in newsreel

Gene Coogan

Extra in newsreel

Lee Mccluskey

Extra in newsreel

John Northpole

Extra in newsreel

Jack Taylor

Extra in newsreel

Tim Wallace

Extra in newsreel

Vince Speaker

Extra in newsreel

Major Sam Harris

Extra in newsreel

Mike Lally

Extra in newsreel

Dick Elmore

Extra in newsreel

Richard Baer

Man in projection room/Hillman, man at Madison Square Garden

Perc Launders

Man in projection room

Eddie Dew

Man in projection room

Michael Audley

Man in projection room

Vera Winters

Woman in projection room

Gino Corrado

Gino, waiter at El Rancho

Joe Manz

Jennings, guard at Thatcher library

Myrtle Rischell

Kane's governess at Christmas

Donna Dax

Housemaid at Christmas

William O'brien

Thatcher's male secretary

Joe North

Thatcher's male secretary

John Dilson

Man in Thatcher montage

Walter James

Man in Thatcher montage

Walter Bacon

City room employee

Ray Flynn

City room employee

Frank Haney

City room employee

Bob Lawson

City room employee

Verne Richards

City room employee

George Sperry

City room employee

Olin Francis

Expressman

Ed Ryan

Man in "Inquirer" city room

Jesse Graves

Joseph

Al Eben

Solly

Mickey Martin

Newsboy

Lillian O'malley

Person in front of "Chronicle"

Dot Cleveland

Person in front of "Chronicle"

E. Kerrigan

Person in front of "Chronicle"

John Eckert

Driver of car

Ivy Keene

Driver of car/Woman in loggia scene

Bob Dudley

Photographer at "Inquirer" party

Pauline Easterday

Dancer

Edna Mae Jones

Dancer

Suzanne Ridgeway

Dancer

Joleen Reynolds

Dancer

Ruth Seeley

Dancer

Jerry Gordon

Dancer

Gloria Gale

Dancer

Leda Nicova

Dancer

Vivian Wilson

Dancer

Frances Deets

Dancer

Juanita Field

Dancer

Loretta Marsh

Dancer

Margaret Davis

Dancer

Laura Knight

Dancer

Irene Crosby

Dancer

Mary Lorraine

Dancer

Joan Blair

Dancer

Dan Borzage

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Robert Brent

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Jack Egan

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Guy Gada

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Bob Gladman

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Harlan Hoagland

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

J. D. Lockhart

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

John Mccormack

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Roy Smith

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Monty Ford

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

B. B. Tobin

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Larry Wheat

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Bobby Haines

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

William Reed

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Don Roberts

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Fred Trowbridge

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Harry Bailey

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

William Calkins

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

J. J. Clark

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Harry Harris

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Paddy O'flynn

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

J. R. Ralston

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Sam Rice

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Larry Williams

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Porter Chase

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Tom Coleman

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Gayle De Camp

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Clayton Jones

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Alexander Julian

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Jack Manolas

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Carl De Loro

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Hercules Mendez

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

Ludwig Lowry

Man singing at "Inquirer" party

George Jiminez

Waiter at "Inquirer" party

Ellen Lowe

Miss Townsend, "Inquirer" society editor

George Noisom

Copy boy

Tim Davis

Copy boy

Bill Kane

Man on hospital roof

Ernest Gruney

Man on hospital roof

Jack Wynn

Man on hospital roof

A. Linke

Druggist

Slim Hightower

Fish driver

Major George C. Mcbride

Shadowgraph man in Susan's apartment/Man at "Inquirer" office

Ed Peil

Civic leader at Madison Square Garden

Charles Meakin

Civic leader at Madison Square Garden

Mitchell Ingraham

Politician at Madison Square Garden

Philip Morris

Politician at Madison Square Garden

Francis Sayles

Politician at Madison Square Garden

Frank O'connor

Man at Madison Square Garden

Jack Ryan

Man at Madison Square Garden

Bert Stevens

Man at Madison Square Garden

James Itay

Man at Madison Square Garden

Louise Franklin

Susan's maid

Gohr Van Vleck

Stagehand on catwalk at opera

Jack Raymond

Stagehand on catwalk at opera

Arthur Kay

Conductor

Tudor Williams

Chorus master

Charles West

Stage manager

Lillian Nicholson

Woman at opera

Charles Cross

Man at opera

Lou Duello

Man at opera

Herbert Corthell

City editor, "Chicago Inquirer"

Shimen Ruskin

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

Eddie Cobb

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

Ernie Daniels

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

George Sherwood

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

Ralph Stein

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

Jack Floyd

Hireling, "Chicago Inquirer"

Edith Evanson

Nurse on hospital roof

Coy Danz

Nurse on hospital roof

Gerald Pierce

Copy boy delivering message in Chicago hotel room

Jack Morton

Butler in Susan's bedroom

Crew

Rita Alexander

Secretary

William Alland

Welles's staff

Vicki Anderson

Stand-in for Dorothy Comingore

Arthur Appel

Dance Director

Richard Baer

Welles's staff

Charles Barrett

Composer

Mel Berns

Makeup Supervisor

Elmore Draper Blake

Layout man for newspaper stories

Layne Britton

Makeup Assistant

P. Campbell

Stand-in

Claire Cramer

Wardrobe Department

J. R. Crone

Production Manager

Bob Crosby

Double for Orson Welles in dance

Russell A. Cully

Photographer of addl scenes and Special Effects

Alex Davidoff

Russian translations of newspaper

Sid Davis

Stand-in and photographic double for Orson Welles

Roger Denny

Contract Writer

Eddie Donahue

Assistant Director

Herbert Drake

Pub

Dave Dreyer

Music Department

Lynn Dunn

Special Effects

Perry Ferguson

Art Director Associate

Bailey Fesler

Recording

Al Fields

Set Dresser

Fred Fleck

Assistant

Jean Forward

Voice dubbing for operatic seq

John C. Grubb

Sound for tests

Pepe Guizar

Composer

George Havens

Stand-in

Charles Hayes

Stand-in for Orson Welles

Molly Herman

Welles's staff for pre-production

Bernard Herrmann

Music Composition and Conducting

Bernard Herrmann

Composer

Ralph Hoge

Grip

John Houseman

Contract Writer

John Huettner

Stand-in for Orson Welles

Haven Johnson

Composer

Roberta Johnson

Stand-in

Alex Kahle

Stills

Ivy Keene

Stand-in

Molly Kent

Contract Writer

T. Kilburn

Sound for tests

William Knutson

Stand-in

Perc Launders

Stand-in

Earl Leas

Wardrobe man

Herman J. Mankiewicz

Original Screenplay

C. Margotis

Greek translations of newspaper

William Mcclellan

Gaffer

Barret Mccormick

General press rep

Hugh Mcdowell

Recording

Russell Metty

Photographer of early tests

Earl B. Mounce

Sound for tests

Marie Osborne

Stand-in

Louis I. Page

Sound Department

Tom Peer

Drapery Department

Van Nest Polglase

Art Director

G. Portman

Sound for re-rec

Earl Hays Press

Creation of newspaper pages

Fleta Preston

Secretary

Mark Robson

Editor Assistant

Sid Rogell

Prod Executive

Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

Composer

Jack Rubens

Supplier of automobiles for Everglades picnic

Herman Ruby

Composer

Ed Ryan

Stand-in

Charles Sayers

Props

H. Schilling

Auditing Department

Maurice Seiderman

Makeup

Ed Sejin Jr.

Chinese translations of newspaper

Bert Shipman

Camera Operator

Darrell Silvera

Set Decoration

Catherine Stanley

Stand-in

Ralph Stein

Stand-in

Cesare Sterbini

Composer

Edward Stevenson

Costumes

James G. Stewart

Recording

Johnny Swain

Lab tech

Gregg Toland

Photography

Douglas Travers

Montage

J. Tribby

Sound for tests

Katherine Trosper

Secretary

Margaret Van Horn

Wardrobe woman

Mischa Violin

Completion of Music scoring

Vernon L. Walker

Special Effects

Blanche Walters

Secretary for pre-prod

Orson Welles

Producer

Orson Welles

Original Screenplay

Orson Welles

Company

Harry Wild

Photographer of addl scenes, inserts and retakes

Robert Wise

Film Editor

Photo Collections

Citizen Kane - Make-Up Photos
These are photos covering some of the production of the make-up effects, principally Orson Welles, for Citizen Kane (1941).
Citizen Kane - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941).
Citizen Kane - Xanadu Pre-Production Designs
Here are several pre-production set designs for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941). These are designs of Xanadu for shots that would require special effects.
Orson Welles - 'Kane' Premiere Press Photo
Here is a wire-service photo of Orson Welles arriving for the New York premiere of Citizen Kane on May 1, 1941.
Citizen Kane - Orson Welles Publicity Stills
Here are several photos taken of Orson Welles to publicize RKO's Citizen Kane (1941). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Citizen Kane - Movie Posters
The following are publicity poster materials from the film Citizen Kane (1941).

Videos

Movie Clip

Citizen Kane (1941) - I'll Provide The War Resuming the account by Thatcher (George Couloris) of early years overseeing the title character, who then appears (writer, producer and director Orson Welles) for the first time as an adult, sidekicks Leland and Bernstein (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane) in support, in Citizen Kane, 1941.
Citizen Kane (1941) - Like Any Other Marriage Now-retired Leland (Joseph Cotten) leads his interviewer into another famous flourish by writer, producer, director and title character Orson Welles, covering his first marriage to Emily (Ruth Warrick) in Citizen Kane, 1941.
Citizen Kane (1941) - Declaration Of Principles Plotting the future of his mushrooming newspaper, the title character (writer, producer and director Orson Welles) brings aides Leland and Bernstein (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane) along toward victory, in Citizen Kane, 1941.
Citizen Kane (1941) - Rosebud From the top, the spooky introduction of the estate called Xanadu, the snow-globe, and one very tight shot of the director, writer and star Orson Welles, from Citizen Kane, 1941.
Citizen Kane (1941) - With One Purpose Only Almost without preamble, into the campaign, first Leland (Joseph Cotten) making a speech for his boss, then the man himself (writer, director, producer and star Orson Welles) taking the stage, Gettys (Ray Collins) and Mrs. Kane (Ruth Warrick) observing, in Citizen Kane 1941.
Citizen Kane (1941) - I First Encountered Mr. Kane Second stop in his investigation, newsman Thompson (William Alland) studies the memoirs of Thatcher (George Couloris), covering his first meeting with young Kane (Buddy Swan) who hits him with a sled, and parents (Agnes Moorehead, Harry Shannon), in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, 1941.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Promo

Film Details

Also Known As
John Citizen, U. S. A.
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 5, 1941
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 1 May 1941
Production Company
Mercury Productions, Inc.; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Busch Gardens, Florida, USA; San Diego, California, USA; Point Mugu, California, USA; Busch Gardens, Florida, United States; Point Magu, California, United States; San Diego--Balboa Park, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,734ft (13 reels)

Award Wins

Best Original Screenplay

1941

Best Writing, Screenplay

1942
Orson Welles

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1941
Orson Welles

Best Art Direction

1941

Best Cinematography

1941

Best Director

1941
Orson Welles

Best Editing

1941
Robert Wise

Best Music Original Dramatic Score

1942

Best Picture

1941

Best Sound Editing

1942

Articles

The Essentials - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


Synopsis

Following the death of a once powerful millionaire, a reporter begins to research his life, looking for clues to the dying man's last remark, 'Rosebud.' As the reporter begins tracing the life of Charles Foster Kane from his early years as the ward of Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris), a wealthy banker, to his monumental career as a newspaper publisher, he interviews several of Kane's former friends and colleagues. Among them are Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotton), the paper's drama critic, Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane), Kane's devoted assistant, and Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), Kane's second wife. Their memories of the famous tycoon paint an, often contradictory, portrait of an arrogant, intelligent, sometimes generous, and impulsive individual who ended up alone and unhappy in his palatial mansion known as Xanadu. The identity of "Rosebud" is revealed in the final moments of the film, but it's importance to Kane remains a mystery.

Producer/Director: Orson Welles
Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiwiecz, Orson Welles, John Houseman (uncredited)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Perry Ferguson (associate)
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Costume Design: Edward Stevenson
Editing: Robert Wise
Original Music: Bernard Herrmann
Cast: Orson Welles (Charles Foster Kane), Joseph Cotton (Jedediah Leland), Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mary Kane), Ruth Warrick (Emily Norton Kane), Ray Collins (Boss James "Jim" W. Gettys), Herbert Carter (Everett Sloane).
BW-120m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.

Why Citizen Kane is Essential

Controversy has long swirled around the authorship of the screenplay for RKO's Citizen Kane (1941), which brought Oscars® to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. As the film was being prepared for release, Welles attempted to claim sole credit and acknowledged the contributions of Mankiewicz only after being forced to do so by the Writers Guild. Critic Pauline Kael, in her 1971 The Citizen Kane Book, revived the debate with her carefully detailed argument that it was Mankiewicz who was primarily responsible for the screenplay, from inception of the idea through the shooting script. And just what was the extent of the uncredited contribution of frequent Welles associate John Houseman? Whatever the balance of the collaboration, this much is known: When Mankiewicz and Welles began work on the script, it was titled American, and its central figure was an even more thinly veiled caricature of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst than appears in the completed film.

Welles' imaginative storytelling skills as a director were reinforced by magnificent performances, beginning with his own in the title role, and groundbreaking techniques in photography, editing and sound. But when the film's highly guarded subject matter was at last revealed at previews in February 1941, Hearst reacted with outrage, forcing repeated postponements of Citizen Kane's premiere with threats of libel and blocking the mention of the film in any of his newspapers. The movie finally opened on May 1, 1941, to brilliant notices. However, pressure from Hearst and his friends in the film industry kept it out of many theaters, and it proved too sophisticated for small-town audiences. The film closed its first run with a loss of some $150,000. It was only after World War II, when it resurfaced in Europe and then on American television, that Citizen Kane took its rightful place as a cinematic masterpiece.

In addition to a Best Original Screenplay Oscar® nomination, Citizen Kane won Academy Award® nominations in eight other categories: Best Picture, Actor (Welles), Director (Welles), Black and White Cinematography, Interior Decoration, Sound Recording, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Film Editing. In what now seems an irony, since the film is considered by many the greatest ever made, the screenplay award was its only Oscar® - and some audience members at that year's Academy Awards® ceremonies, allegedly influenced by Hearst columnist Louella Parsons, booed the announcement of that victory.

by Roger Fristoe
The Essentials - Citizen Kane (1941)

The Essentials - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

Synopsis Following the death of a once powerful millionaire, a reporter begins to research his life, looking for clues to the dying man's last remark, 'Rosebud.' As the reporter begins tracing the life of Charles Foster Kane from his early years as the ward of Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris), a wealthy banker, to his monumental career as a newspaper publisher, he interviews several of Kane's former friends and colleagues. Among them are Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotton), the paper's drama critic, Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane), Kane's devoted assistant, and Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), Kane's second wife. Their memories of the famous tycoon paint an, often contradictory, portrait of an arrogant, intelligent, sometimes generous, and impulsive individual who ended up alone and unhappy in his palatial mansion known as Xanadu. The identity of "Rosebud" is revealed in the final moments of the film, but it's importance to Kane remains a mystery. Producer/Director: Orson Welles Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiwiecz, Orson Welles, John Houseman (uncredited) Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Perry Ferguson (associate) Cinematography: Gregg Toland Costume Design: Edward Stevenson Editing: Robert Wise Original Music: Bernard Herrmann Cast: Orson Welles (Charles Foster Kane), Joseph Cotton (Jedediah Leland), Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mary Kane), Ruth Warrick (Emily Norton Kane), Ray Collins (Boss James "Jim" W. Gettys), Herbert Carter (Everett Sloane). BW-120m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video. Why Citizen Kane is Essential Controversy has long swirled around the authorship of the screenplay for RKO's Citizen Kane (1941), which brought Oscars® to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. As the film was being prepared for release, Welles attempted to claim sole credit and acknowledged the contributions of Mankiewicz only after being forced to do so by the Writers Guild. Critic Pauline Kael, in her 1971 The Citizen Kane Book, revived the debate with her carefully detailed argument that it was Mankiewicz who was primarily responsible for the screenplay, from inception of the idea through the shooting script. And just what was the extent of the uncredited contribution of frequent Welles associate John Houseman? Whatever the balance of the collaboration, this much is known: When Mankiewicz and Welles began work on the script, it was titled American, and its central figure was an even more thinly veiled caricature of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst than appears in the completed film. Welles' imaginative storytelling skills as a director were reinforced by magnificent performances, beginning with his own in the title role, and groundbreaking techniques in photography, editing and sound. But when the film's highly guarded subject matter was at last revealed at previews in February 1941, Hearst reacted with outrage, forcing repeated postponements of Citizen Kane's premiere with threats of libel and blocking the mention of the film in any of his newspapers. The movie finally opened on May 1, 1941, to brilliant notices. However, pressure from Hearst and his friends in the film industry kept it out of many theaters, and it proved too sophisticated for small-town audiences. The film closed its first run with a loss of some $150,000. It was only after World War II, when it resurfaced in Europe and then on American television, that Citizen Kane took its rightful place as a cinematic masterpiece. In addition to a Best Original Screenplay Oscar® nomination, Citizen Kane won Academy Award® nominations in eight other categories: Best Picture, Actor (Welles), Director (Welles), Black and White Cinematography, Interior Decoration, Sound Recording, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Film Editing. In what now seems an irony, since the film is considered by many the greatest ever made, the screenplay award was its only Oscar® - and some audience members at that year's Academy Awards® ceremonies, allegedly influenced by Hearst columnist Louella Parsons, booed the announcement of that victory. by Roger Fristoe

Pop Culture - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


Pop Culture 101 - CITIZEN KANE

When Pauline Kael annotated the similarities between Citizen Kane and Mad Love (1935) in a 1971 New Yorker article on the Welles classic, curious moviegoers made a point to seek out the Peter Lorre horror film. Welles' deployment of certain visual elements (whether intended or not) from Mad Love cannot be denied, from the makeup to the use of a white cockatoo. It's also more than a coincidence that cinematographer Gregg Toland worked on both films.

What set Mad Love apart from other Hollywood horror films of the thirties was the disturbing Expressionist style of director Karl W. Freund. A key German Expressionist cinematographer who had shot The Last Laugh (1924), Metropolis (1927), and Dracula (1931), Freund made his directorial debut with the classic chiller, The Mummy (1932).

As expected from a director who apprenticed at the feet of masters like F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, Freund applied many of Expressionism's stylistic trademarks, including chiaroscuro lighting, surreal set design, and extreme camera angles. The film's look was a remarkable achievement, given Freund's conflicts with his two different cinematographers, Chester A. Lyons and Gregg Toland. Film critic Pauline Kael attributed much of Toland's later brilliance in Citizen Kane (1941) to the influence of his earlier work on Mad Love.

A documentary about the battle between Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst over the production and release of Citizen Kane was the subject of The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1996), an Oscar®-nominated film for Best Documentary. And the fictionalized story of RKO 281 (the production number assigned to Citizen Kane), a 1999 cable television film, was at one time slated as a feature film that was to be directed by Ridley Scott. As it turned out, Ridley and brother Tony Scott's Free Productions produced the film for HBO. In February 2001, Turner Classic Movies premiered Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (2001). This original documentary sets the record straight about Ms. Davies' considerable talent and the vast differences separating her from the fictional Susan Alexander Kane.

Of course, Citizen Kane has not escaped the lampooning eye of prime-time television's longest-running satire, The Simpsons. In the March 18, 1993 episode (#1F01) entitled "Rosebud," misanthropic billionaire Montgomery Burns is severely depressed on his birthday and longs for his lost childhood teddy bear, Bobo, an allusion to Kane's Rosebud. The opening shot of Burns Manor parodies Citizen Kane's opening of the "no trespassing" sign by adding a few new signs: "Warning, Keep Out," "Danger, Electrified Fence," "Trespassers Will Be Shot," and "Free Kittens, Inquire Within." The scene in which Burns breaks snow globes riffs on Citizen Kane, as well.

Director Steven Spielberg paid homage to the famous ending of Citizen Kane with the epilogue to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). After a full two hours of watching Indiana Jones pursue the elusive Lost Ark of the Covenant, the priceless artifact is ignominiously and unceremoniously crated and buried in a vast warehouse, much like the fate of "Rosebud" at the end of Citizen Kane.

by Scott McGee

Pop Culture - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

Pop Culture 101 - CITIZEN KANE When Pauline Kael annotated the similarities between Citizen Kane and Mad Love (1935) in a 1971 New Yorker article on the Welles classic, curious moviegoers made a point to seek out the Peter Lorre horror film. Welles' deployment of certain visual elements (whether intended or not) from Mad Love cannot be denied, from the makeup to the use of a white cockatoo. It's also more than a coincidence that cinematographer Gregg Toland worked on both films. What set Mad Love apart from other Hollywood horror films of the thirties was the disturbing Expressionist style of director Karl W. Freund. A key German Expressionist cinematographer who had shot The Last Laugh (1924), Metropolis (1927), and Dracula (1931), Freund made his directorial debut with the classic chiller, The Mummy (1932). As expected from a director who apprenticed at the feet of masters like F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, Freund applied many of Expressionism's stylistic trademarks, including chiaroscuro lighting, surreal set design, and extreme camera angles. The film's look was a remarkable achievement, given Freund's conflicts with his two different cinematographers, Chester A. Lyons and Gregg Toland. Film critic Pauline Kael attributed much of Toland's later brilliance in Citizen Kane (1941) to the influence of his earlier work on Mad Love. A documentary about the battle between Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst over the production and release of Citizen Kane was the subject of The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1996), an Oscar®-nominated film for Best Documentary. And the fictionalized story of RKO 281 (the production number assigned to Citizen Kane), a 1999 cable television film, was at one time slated as a feature film that was to be directed by Ridley Scott. As it turned out, Ridley and brother Tony Scott's Free Productions produced the film for HBO. In February 2001, Turner Classic Movies premiered Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (2001). This original documentary sets the record straight about Ms. Davies' considerable talent and the vast differences separating her from the fictional Susan Alexander Kane. Of course, Citizen Kane has not escaped the lampooning eye of prime-time television's longest-running satire, The Simpsons. In the March 18, 1993 episode (#1F01) entitled "Rosebud," misanthropic billionaire Montgomery Burns is severely depressed on his birthday and longs for his lost childhood teddy bear, Bobo, an allusion to Kane's Rosebud. The opening shot of Burns Manor parodies Citizen Kane's opening of the "no trespassing" sign by adding a few new signs: "Warning, Keep Out," "Danger, Electrified Fence," "Trespassers Will Be Shot," and "Free Kittens, Inquire Within." The scene in which Burns breaks snow globes riffs on Citizen Kane, as well. Director Steven Spielberg paid homage to the famous ending of Citizen Kane with the epilogue to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). After a full two hours of watching Indiana Jones pursue the elusive Lost Ark of the Covenant, the priceless artifact is ignominiously and unceremoniously crated and buried in a vast warehouse, much like the fate of "Rosebud" at the end of Citizen Kane. by Scott McGee

Trivia - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


CITIZEN KANE - Trivia and Other Fun Stuff

Citizen Kane was withdrawn from general release after a year, eventually reflecting a loss of $150,000. But TV revived the film's fortunes, after it became one of the first films to be sold to television. With numerous airings, the film found a newer, wider audience and earned the praise once denied it because of the influence welded by the Hearst empire.

Joseph Cotten made his screen debut as Kane's life-long friend, Jedediah Leland. The part was modeled on two well-known show biz personalities: Cotten's own agent, Leland Hayward, and producer Jed Harris. Cotten later showed a propensity (or maybe it was just blind luck) for starring or co-starring in some of the cinema's landmark films. He appeared in several more Orson Welles projects, including The Magnificent Ambersons (1943), Touch of Evil (1958), and he co-starred with Welles in director Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). Alfred Hitchcock used him with chilling effect in Shadow of a Doubt (1943). In addition to the pivotal role in Citizen Kane, Cotten also shows up as one of the reporters watching the newsreel at the beginning of the flick. Look closely or you'll miss him.

Other actors making their screen debuts in Citizen Kane: Agnes Moorhead, Everett Sloane, Dorothy Comingore, Ruth Warrick, George Couloris, Paul Stewart, Ray Collins, and Orson Welles. Future movie star Alan Ladd made his debut as well, playing one of the shadowy reporters glimpsed at the beginning of the flick. He can also be seen more prominently at the end of the picture when chief reporter William Alland sums up his findings. Ladd holds a pipe and his hat is slightly cocked on his head. Ladd would hit the big time the very next year as Raven the hitman in This Gun For Hire (1942).

William Alland plays Thompson, the chief reporter investigating the mystery of "Rosebud." Alland was an actor and former stage manager for Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and assistant director of that company's radio series. He also served as dialogue director for Citizen Kane. After appearing for Welles in The Lady From Shanghai (1948) and Macbeth (1948), Alland turned to producing in 1952. Among his credits are such science fiction classics, as It Came From Outer Space (1953), The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), This Island Earth (1955), The Mole People (1956), and The Deadly Mantis (1957).

Gossip columnist Louella Parsons believed that Charles Foster Kane was a thinly veiled, slanderous portrait of her boss, William Randolph Hearst. As a consequence, Parsons successfully motivated her boss to declare war on RKO, Orson Welles, and Citizen Kane with a total boycott of the film's advertisement in all Hearst-owned and operated newspapers and media outlets. This move severely disrupted the film's release and damaged its box office potential, despite generally glowing critical reviews. Oddly enough, Hearst strangely enjoyed the film as a treatise on him and his empire, but he could not tolerate how his mistress, Marion Davies, was reflected in the Susan Alexander Kane character.

Further opposition was mobilized against Welles by a coalition of Hollywood studio moguls that were whipped into a frenzy by Louella Parsons. Personally, bigwigs like Jack Warner, David O. Selznick, or Harry Cohn were not threatened by the film, but they did feel heat from Parsons and her boss, W.R. Hearst. Apparently, they were not sure what incriminating evidence, if any, Parsons had on them and any of their contracted stars. The ringleader of this coalition was MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, who went a long way back with Hearst, all the way to when Marion Davies was a box office draw at MGM. Mayer and other studio heads pooled their resources and approached RKO president George Schaefer with a bid of upwards of $800,000 to buy and then burn the negative and all the prints. This was a tempting offer since the near-million would have provided RKO with a tidy profit on their initial investment and would have looked much more attractive to the stockholders than the black-eye the studio was receiving in Hollywood and in Hearst's newspapers. However, backed by RKO's benefactor in New York, Nelson Rockefeller, Schaefer turned the offer down, and countered the offer by threatening a lawsuit. The coalition, fearful of reprisals the studios couldn't afford, backed down. Parsons and company kept the heat turned up on Welles, even going so far as to get the federal government involved when allegations of Welles' political leanings were called into question.

Welles denied that Kane was wholly drawn from Hearst: "It is not based upon the life of Mr. Hearst or anyone else. On the other hand, had Mr. Hearst and similar financial barons not lived during the period we discuss, Citizen Kane could not have been made." Welles' partial portrait of Hearst was close enough to the mark to draw a 1948 lawsuit against the boy wonder director from Ferdinand Lundberg, author of Imperial Hearst, A Social Biography, published in 1936. The suit was settled out of court.

On the same night Citizen Kane opened in San Francisco, Orson Welles found himself sharing a hotel elevator with none other than William Randolph Hearst. Welles introduced himself and asked Hearst if he would like to come to the opening of the picture. Hearst maintained an icy silence. As Hearst got off the elevator, Welles said, "Charles Foster Kane would have accepted."

In 1971, film critic Pauline Kael argued that it was Herman Mankiewicz's script that pushed the film into the pantheon of great American movies. She implied that Welles' own credit as screenwriter was inaccurate. Filmmaker and critic Peter Bogdanovich answered in favor of Welles. The two writers traded barbed comments and well-documented arguments in print, essentially duking it out as surrogates for their heroes. The debate over who was right continues today.

Louella Parsons wrote in her autobiography Tell It to Louella, twenty years after the release of Citizen Kane, "I believe I have carried only one grudge for any length of time and that was against Orson Welles...I am still horrified by the picture...The boy genius certainly used all his talents just to do a hatchet job." Part of the reason Parsons was so incensed by Welles and his movie is that she considered herself a friend of his family in Grande Tour, Illinois. When she caught wind that Welles' first picture at RKO was going to be about her boss, W.R. Hearst, she dialed him up. He assured her that the picture was "about a completely fictional publisher." But then he surprised Parsons by showing her chief rival, Hedda Hopper, a personal screening of the unfinished picture. According to Parsons, Hopper couldn't wait to tell Hearst that his own gossip watchdog failed him. Because of Welles' perceived double cross and the embarrassing situation she fell into, Parsons and a flood of black ink fell upon Citizen Kane, damaging its box office take severely. Meanwhile, Hopper became Welles' biggest Hollywood booster with a six-part radio program glorifying Welles' life and accomplishments.

Steven Spielberg paid $55,000 for one of the three original Rosebuds in 1982. Spielberg made the purchase by telephone during an auction at Sotheby's in New York City. While one of the duplicate sleds had been burned as part of the movie's ending, some sources say that two sleds were destroyed for the cameras, leaving only one sled left. But according to others, one of the remaining Rosebuds was given to Tom Mankiewicz, the son of Herman Mankiewicz, who had co-written the film with Welles.

Although their union was a well-known fact, Hearst's long extra-marital relationship with Marion Davies was never mentioned in Hollywood papers, even in Hearst's rival scandal sheets.

Legend has it that Herman Mankiewicz used "Rosebud" as an inside joke, because as a friend of Marion Davies, he knew "rosebud" was William Randolph Hearst's pet name for the most intimate part of her anatomy. This possibility was given some credence in an essay written for the New York Review of Books by Gore Vidal, a close friend of Hearst.

In the famous dinner table montage, Emily refers to an unidentified, "ghastly" or "dreadful" gift given to Kane's infant son by Mr. Bernstein. Although the object is never identified or referred to again, some film scholars think that Emily is referring to a Jewish symbol, such as a Menorah or a Star of David. Given Emily's blue-blood background and the prejudices of the era, it is likely that the script is hinting at a deep-rooted anti-Semitism.

When Welles was asked by friends how Kane's last words could have been heard when he died alone, Welles reportedly stared for a long time before saying, "Don't you ever tell anyone of this."

While their past histories were extremely rocky, Orson Welles wrote a glowing foreword in 1975 for Marion Davies' memoir, The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst. Welles maintained in the three-page introduction that the fictional character of Susan Alexander "bears no resemblance at all" to Marion Davies. Welles admits that he contributed to the misinterpretation of Davies' career but that he reveled in the ability to set the record straight. He proclaimed: "Marion Davies was one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen. She would have been a star if Hearst had never happened. She was a delightful and very considerable person. The proof is in this book, and I commend it to you."

William Randolph Hearst III said in 1985 that he enjoyed Citizen Kane and that Welles could visit his grandfather's San Simeon estate anytime he pleased - "on my tab."

One of Hollywood's greatest screenwriters commenting on one of Hollywood's greatest directors: "There but for the grace of God, goes God." - Herman Mankiewicz on Orson Welles.

Many scenes in Citizen Kane were shot during arduous, all night shoots. Many times after pulling a difficult all-nighter, Welles and the rest of the cast and crew would sit on the curb at RKO and drink cocktails at 6:30 a.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. when every other "normal" Hollywood actor or crew member would break for refreshment.

Welles ran the film across cheesecloth to make the newsreel on Kane's death look as rough as the real thing.

There is a sparing use of facial close-ups in the film. The Mercury Theater Players' style of theatrical gestures and mannerisms were unsuited to studio intercutting of close ups.

Dorothy Comingore was pregnant at the time of filming. This required much preparation and camera trickery from cinematographer Gregg Toland.

The scene of the reporters watching the newsreel was filmed in an RKO projection room. Susan's nightclub was a set normally used for Westerns.

It has been estimated that up to 80% of the shots in Citizen Kane employ some degree of trickery or special effects.

The use of the subjective camera, where the camera lens takes on an omniscient movement, is seen in the opening segments of the film and in the camera pan into Susan's nightclub. Welles was planning to use the first person point of view camera throughout his initial RKO project, an aborted attempt at adapting Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. However, once the budget bloomed beyond the confines of RKO's bank account, Welles abandoned the project but still used the subjective camera method in parts of Citizen Kane. Hollywood actor Robert Montgomery later used this device in his directorial debut, an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake (1946).

Gregg Toland's greatest contribution to the production was his use of deep focus photography. The term refers to a strategy of lighting, composition, and lens choice that allows everything in the frame, from front to back, to be in focus simultaneously. With the lighting and lenses available in 1941, this was just becoming possible, and Toland had experimented with deep focus in John Ford's The Long Voyage Hom (1940). Toland had been particularly devoted to the deep focus lensing pioneered by James Wong Howe's work in Transatlantic (1930) and developed his craft with such classics as Les Miserables (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and Wuthering Heights (1939).

The interiors of Kane's Xanadu are based on magazine photos of San Simeon, where Welles and Mankiewicz had both been guests. The exteriors are said to be based on the castle in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

Famous Quotes from CITIZEN KANE

Charles Foster Kane: As Charles Foster Kane who owns eighty-two thousand, six hundred and thirty-four shares of public transit - you see, I do have a general idea of my holdings - I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars.

Susan: Forty-nine acres of nothing but scenery and statues. I'm lonesome.

Thompson: Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost. Anyway, I don't think it would have explained everything. I don't think any word can explain a man's life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle... a missing piece.

Charles Foster Kane: You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man.
Thatcher: Don't you think you are?
Charles Foster Kane: I think I did pretty well under the circumstances.
Thatcher: What would you like to have been?
Charles Foster Kane: Everything you hate.

Charles Foster Kane: Hello Jedediah.
Leland: Hello, Charlie. I didn't know we were speaking...
Charles Foster Kane: Sure, we're speaking, Jedediah - you're fired.

Emily: Really Charles, people will think-...
Charles Foster Kane: ---what I tell them to think.

Bernstein: President's niece, huh? Before Mr. Kane's through with her, she'll be a president's wife.

Emily: He happens to be the President, Charles, not you.
Charles Foster Kane: That's a mistake that will be corrected one of these days.

Bernstein: There's a lot of statues in Europe you haven't bought yet.
Charles Foster Kane: You can't blame me. They've been making statues for some two thousand years, and I've only been collecting for five.

Charles Foster Kane: You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in... 60 years.

Compiled by Scott McGee

Trivia - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

CITIZEN KANE - Trivia and Other Fun Stuff Citizen Kane was withdrawn from general release after a year, eventually reflecting a loss of $150,000. But TV revived the film's fortunes, after it became one of the first films to be sold to television. With numerous airings, the film found a newer, wider audience and earned the praise once denied it because of the influence welded by the Hearst empire. Joseph Cotten made his screen debut as Kane's life-long friend, Jedediah Leland. The part was modeled on two well-known show biz personalities: Cotten's own agent, Leland Hayward, and producer Jed Harris. Cotten later showed a propensity (or maybe it was just blind luck) for starring or co-starring in some of the cinema's landmark films. He appeared in several more Orson Welles projects, including The Magnificent Ambersons (1943), Touch of Evil (1958), and he co-starred with Welles in director Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). Alfred Hitchcock used him with chilling effect in Shadow of a Doubt (1943). In addition to the pivotal role in Citizen Kane, Cotten also shows up as one of the reporters watching the newsreel at the beginning of the flick. Look closely or you'll miss him. Other actors making their screen debuts in Citizen Kane: Agnes Moorhead, Everett Sloane, Dorothy Comingore, Ruth Warrick, George Couloris, Paul Stewart, Ray Collins, and Orson Welles. Future movie star Alan Ladd made his debut as well, playing one of the shadowy reporters glimpsed at the beginning of the flick. He can also be seen more prominently at the end of the picture when chief reporter William Alland sums up his findings. Ladd holds a pipe and his hat is slightly cocked on his head. Ladd would hit the big time the very next year as Raven the hitman in This Gun For Hire (1942). William Alland plays Thompson, the chief reporter investigating the mystery of "Rosebud." Alland was an actor and former stage manager for Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and assistant director of that company's radio series. He also served as dialogue director for Citizen Kane. After appearing for Welles in The Lady From Shanghai (1948) and Macbeth (1948), Alland turned to producing in 1952. Among his credits are such science fiction classics, as It Came From Outer Space (1953), The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), This Island Earth (1955), The Mole People (1956), and The Deadly Mantis (1957). Gossip columnist Louella Parsons believed that Charles Foster Kane was a thinly veiled, slanderous portrait of her boss, William Randolph Hearst. As a consequence, Parsons successfully motivated her boss to declare war on RKO, Orson Welles, and Citizen Kane with a total boycott of the film's advertisement in all Hearst-owned and operated newspapers and media outlets. This move severely disrupted the film's release and damaged its box office potential, despite generally glowing critical reviews. Oddly enough, Hearst strangely enjoyed the film as a treatise on him and his empire, but he could not tolerate how his mistress, Marion Davies, was reflected in the Susan Alexander Kane character. Further opposition was mobilized against Welles by a coalition of Hollywood studio moguls that were whipped into a frenzy by Louella Parsons. Personally, bigwigs like Jack Warner, David O. Selznick, or Harry Cohn were not threatened by the film, but they did feel heat from Parsons and her boss, W.R. Hearst. Apparently, they were not sure what incriminating evidence, if any, Parsons had on them and any of their contracted stars. The ringleader of this coalition was MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, who went a long way back with Hearst, all the way to when Marion Davies was a box office draw at MGM. Mayer and other studio heads pooled their resources and approached RKO president George Schaefer with a bid of upwards of $800,000 to buy and then burn the negative and all the prints. This was a tempting offer since the near-million would have provided RKO with a tidy profit on their initial investment and would have looked much more attractive to the stockholders than the black-eye the studio was receiving in Hollywood and in Hearst's newspapers. However, backed by RKO's benefactor in New York, Nelson Rockefeller, Schaefer turned the offer down, and countered the offer by threatening a lawsuit. The coalition, fearful of reprisals the studios couldn't afford, backed down. Parsons and company kept the heat turned up on Welles, even going so far as to get the federal government involved when allegations of Welles' political leanings were called into question. Welles denied that Kane was wholly drawn from Hearst: "It is not based upon the life of Mr. Hearst or anyone else. On the other hand, had Mr. Hearst and similar financial barons not lived during the period we discuss, Citizen Kane could not have been made." Welles' partial portrait of Hearst was close enough to the mark to draw a 1948 lawsuit against the boy wonder director from Ferdinand Lundberg, author of Imperial Hearst, A Social Biography, published in 1936. The suit was settled out of court. On the same night Citizen Kane opened in San Francisco, Orson Welles found himself sharing a hotel elevator with none other than William Randolph Hearst. Welles introduced himself and asked Hearst if he would like to come to the opening of the picture. Hearst maintained an icy silence. As Hearst got off the elevator, Welles said, "Charles Foster Kane would have accepted." In 1971, film critic Pauline Kael argued that it was Herman Mankiewicz's script that pushed the film into the pantheon of great American movies. She implied that Welles' own credit as screenwriter was inaccurate. Filmmaker and critic Peter Bogdanovich answered in favor of Welles. The two writers traded barbed comments and well-documented arguments in print, essentially duking it out as surrogates for their heroes. The debate over who was right continues today. Louella Parsons wrote in her autobiography Tell It to Louella, twenty years after the release of Citizen Kane, "I believe I have carried only one grudge for any length of time and that was against Orson Welles...I am still horrified by the picture...The boy genius certainly used all his talents just to do a hatchet job." Part of the reason Parsons was so incensed by Welles and his movie is that she considered herself a friend of his family in Grande Tour, Illinois. When she caught wind that Welles' first picture at RKO was going to be about her boss, W.R. Hearst, she dialed him up. He assured her that the picture was "about a completely fictional publisher." But then he surprised Parsons by showing her chief rival, Hedda Hopper, a personal screening of the unfinished picture. According to Parsons, Hopper couldn't wait to tell Hearst that his own gossip watchdog failed him. Because of Welles' perceived double cross and the embarrassing situation she fell into, Parsons and a flood of black ink fell upon Citizen Kane, damaging its box office take severely. Meanwhile, Hopper became Welles' biggest Hollywood booster with a six-part radio program glorifying Welles' life and accomplishments. Steven Spielberg paid $55,000 for one of the three original Rosebuds in 1982. Spielberg made the purchase by telephone during an auction at Sotheby's in New York City. While one of the duplicate sleds had been burned as part of the movie's ending, some sources say that two sleds were destroyed for the cameras, leaving only one sled left. But according to others, one of the remaining Rosebuds was given to Tom Mankiewicz, the son of Herman Mankiewicz, who had co-written the film with Welles. Although their union was a well-known fact, Hearst's long extra-marital relationship with Marion Davies was never mentioned in Hollywood papers, even in Hearst's rival scandal sheets. Legend has it that Herman Mankiewicz used "Rosebud" as an inside joke, because as a friend of Marion Davies, he knew "rosebud" was William Randolph Hearst's pet name for the most intimate part of her anatomy. This possibility was given some credence in an essay written for the New York Review of Books by Gore Vidal, a close friend of Hearst. In the famous dinner table montage, Emily refers to an unidentified, "ghastly" or "dreadful" gift given to Kane's infant son by Mr. Bernstein. Although the object is never identified or referred to again, some film scholars think that Emily is referring to a Jewish symbol, such as a Menorah or a Star of David. Given Emily's blue-blood background and the prejudices of the era, it is likely that the script is hinting at a deep-rooted anti-Semitism. When Welles was asked by friends how Kane's last words could have been heard when he died alone, Welles reportedly stared for a long time before saying, "Don't you ever tell anyone of this." While their past histories were extremely rocky, Orson Welles wrote a glowing foreword in 1975 for Marion Davies' memoir, The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst. Welles maintained in the three-page introduction that the fictional character of Susan Alexander "bears no resemblance at all" to Marion Davies. Welles admits that he contributed to the misinterpretation of Davies' career but that he reveled in the ability to set the record straight. He proclaimed: "Marion Davies was one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen. She would have been a star if Hearst had never happened. She was a delightful and very considerable person. The proof is in this book, and I commend it to you." William Randolph Hearst III said in 1985 that he enjoyed Citizen Kane and that Welles could visit his grandfather's San Simeon estate anytime he pleased - "on my tab." One of Hollywood's greatest screenwriters commenting on one of Hollywood's greatest directors: "There but for the grace of God, goes God." - Herman Mankiewicz on Orson Welles. Many scenes in Citizen Kane were shot during arduous, all night shoots. Many times after pulling a difficult all-nighter, Welles and the rest of the cast and crew would sit on the curb at RKO and drink cocktails at 6:30 a.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. when every other "normal" Hollywood actor or crew member would break for refreshment. Welles ran the film across cheesecloth to make the newsreel on Kane's death look as rough as the real thing. There is a sparing use of facial close-ups in the film. The Mercury Theater Players' style of theatrical gestures and mannerisms were unsuited to studio intercutting of close ups. Dorothy Comingore was pregnant at the time of filming. This required much preparation and camera trickery from cinematographer Gregg Toland. The scene of the reporters watching the newsreel was filmed in an RKO projection room. Susan's nightclub was a set normally used for Westerns. It has been estimated that up to 80% of the shots in Citizen Kane employ some degree of trickery or special effects. The use of the subjective camera, where the camera lens takes on an omniscient movement, is seen in the opening segments of the film and in the camera pan into Susan's nightclub. Welles was planning to use the first person point of view camera throughout his initial RKO project, an aborted attempt at adapting Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. However, once the budget bloomed beyond the confines of RKO's bank account, Welles abandoned the project but still used the subjective camera method in parts of Citizen Kane. Hollywood actor Robert Montgomery later used this device in his directorial debut, an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake (1946). Gregg Toland's greatest contribution to the production was his use of deep focus photography. The term refers to a strategy of lighting, composition, and lens choice that allows everything in the frame, from front to back, to be in focus simultaneously. With the lighting and lenses available in 1941, this was just becoming possible, and Toland had experimented with deep focus in John Ford's The Long Voyage Hom (1940). Toland had been particularly devoted to the deep focus lensing pioneered by James Wong Howe's work in Transatlantic (1930) and developed his craft with such classics as Les Miserables (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and Wuthering Heights (1939). The interiors of Kane's Xanadu are based on magazine photos of San Simeon, where Welles and Mankiewicz had both been guests. The exteriors are said to be based on the castle in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Famous Quotes from CITIZEN KANE Charles Foster Kane: As Charles Foster Kane who owns eighty-two thousand, six hundred and thirty-four shares of public transit - you see, I do have a general idea of my holdings - I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars. Susan: Forty-nine acres of nothing but scenery and statues. I'm lonesome. Thompson: Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost. Anyway, I don't think it would have explained everything. I don't think any word can explain a man's life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle... a missing piece. Charles Foster Kane: You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man. Thatcher: Don't you think you are? Charles Foster Kane: I think I did pretty well under the circumstances. Thatcher: What would you like to have been? Charles Foster Kane: Everything you hate. Charles Foster Kane: Hello Jedediah. Leland: Hello, Charlie. I didn't know we were speaking... Charles Foster Kane: Sure, we're speaking, Jedediah - you're fired. Emily: Really Charles, people will think-... Charles Foster Kane: ---what I tell them to think. Bernstein: President's niece, huh? Before Mr. Kane's through with her, she'll be a president's wife. Emily: He happens to be the President, Charles, not you. Charles Foster Kane: That's a mistake that will be corrected one of these days. Bernstein: There's a lot of statues in Europe you haven't bought yet. Charles Foster Kane: You can't blame me. They've been making statues for some two thousand years, and I've only been collecting for five. Charles Foster Kane: You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in... 60 years. Compiled by Scott McGee

The Big Idea - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


The Big Idea Behind CITIZEN KANE

Orson Welles' patented recipe for creating the character, Charles Foster Kane, included these ingredients:

- one gallon of William Randolph Hearst, the billionaire newspaper baron whose waning power and influence left him vulnerable to young upstarts like the 25 year old Orson Welles.

- two quarts of Orson Welles himself according to John Houseman, the Mercury Theater co founder and a producer on Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane was based largely on Welles. Houseman points out the scene where Kane demolishes Susan's dressing room. He maintains that the scene "was definitely inspired by the great final scene of separation between Orson and me when he threw four flaming dish warmers at me. The same kind of insane destruction at the loss of something that he really felt very strongly about was used there..." Furthermore, Kane's early life, his appetite, and his ascendancy to power resembles Welles more more than it does Hearst.

- 2/3 cup of munitions magnate Basil Zaharoff.

- 1/2 cup of millionaire stock swindler Ivar Kreuger.

- 4 tablespoons of Jules Brulatour, the Kodak chief who tried to turn his wife into a respected opera singer.

- 2 tablespoons of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine. Although Citizen Kane was seen as an attack on W.R. Hearst, it also took aim at Luce's concept of faceless group journalism, as then practiced in Tim and the March of Time newsreels, which the "News on the March" deliberately parodies. The reason you do not see any of the reporters is that Welles and Mankiewicz were ribbing the anonymity of Luce's writers and editors.

- 10 ounces of Chicago newspaper czar Harold McCormick (of the Chicago Tribune family), who left his wife, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, after being seduced by a Polish prima donna named Ganna Walska. McCormick was the chief sponsor of the Chicago Opera Company and used his influence to have Walska cast in the opera Zaza. Frances Alda, one of the most expensive voice coaches in the world, was hired to make a singer out of Walska, a task that was in vain because Walska had an awful voice, and Zaza went down as one of the bigger disasters of 1920. Eventually, Walska walked out on McCormick, but he chased her to Europe where she convinced him that the only way to cure his impotence problem was to have thyroid glands from monkeys transplanted into his own body by a European quack. Word has it that Welles was fascinated with this story in his youth.

- Add a pinch of plot similarity to I Loved a Woman (1933), a story about a millionaire merchant who collects artwork and sponsors a struggling opera singer, and profits from selling $50 million dollars' worth of spoiled meat to soldiers in the Spanish American War.

- Sprinkle a dash of flashback technique which was used in both A Man to Remember (1938), the story of a country doctor and his career, and The Power and the Glor (1933), starring Spencer Tracy as a railroad employee who rises to become the wealthy president of the company.

- Set the patented RKO brand production oven to bake. Cook for several months. Serve to public on May 1, 1941.

by Scott McGee

The Big Idea - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

The Big Idea Behind CITIZEN KANE Orson Welles' patented recipe for creating the character, Charles Foster Kane, included these ingredients: - one gallon of William Randolph Hearst, the billionaire newspaper baron whose waning power and influence left him vulnerable to young upstarts like the 25 year old Orson Welles. - two quarts of Orson Welles himself according to John Houseman, the Mercury Theater co founder and a producer on Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane was based largely on Welles. Houseman points out the scene where Kane demolishes Susan's dressing room. He maintains that the scene "was definitely inspired by the great final scene of separation between Orson and me when he threw four flaming dish warmers at me. The same kind of insane destruction at the loss of something that he really felt very strongly about was used there..." Furthermore, Kane's early life, his appetite, and his ascendancy to power resembles Welles more more than it does Hearst. - 2/3 cup of munitions magnate Basil Zaharoff. - 1/2 cup of millionaire stock swindler Ivar Kreuger. - 4 tablespoons of Jules Brulatour, the Kodak chief who tried to turn his wife into a respected opera singer. - 2 tablespoons of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine. Although Citizen Kane was seen as an attack on W.R. Hearst, it also took aim at Luce's concept of faceless group journalism, as then practiced in Tim and the March of Time newsreels, which the "News on the March" deliberately parodies. The reason you do not see any of the reporters is that Welles and Mankiewicz were ribbing the anonymity of Luce's writers and editors. - 10 ounces of Chicago newspaper czar Harold McCormick (of the Chicago Tribune family), who left his wife, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, after being seduced by a Polish prima donna named Ganna Walska. McCormick was the chief sponsor of the Chicago Opera Company and used his influence to have Walska cast in the opera Zaza. Frances Alda, one of the most expensive voice coaches in the world, was hired to make a singer out of Walska, a task that was in vain because Walska had an awful voice, and Zaza went down as one of the bigger disasters of 1920. Eventually, Walska walked out on McCormick, but he chased her to Europe where she convinced him that the only way to cure his impotence problem was to have thyroid glands from monkeys transplanted into his own body by a European quack. Word has it that Welles was fascinated with this story in his youth. - Add a pinch of plot similarity to I Loved a Woman (1933), a story about a millionaire merchant who collects artwork and sponsors a struggling opera singer, and profits from selling $50 million dollars' worth of spoiled meat to soldiers in the Spanish American War. - Sprinkle a dash of flashback technique which was used in both A Man to Remember (1938), the story of a country doctor and his career, and The Power and the Glor (1933), starring Spencer Tracy as a railroad employee who rises to become the wealthy president of the company. - Set the patented RKO brand production oven to bake. Cook for several months. Serve to public on May 1, 1941. by Scott McGee

Behind the Camera - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


Behind the Camera on CITIZEN KANE

Orson Welles brought New York actress Ruth Warrick out to Hollywood to test for the part of Emily Norton Kane. He tempted her by telling her that he was looking for a real lady, a woman of charm and good upbringing, to play the part. He was not looking for someone who could act like a lady, but an actual lady. After several tests of Hollywood actresses, Welles came to the conclusion that "there are no ladies in Hollywood." Warrick flew out for a screen test and was awarded the part.

The excesses that Welles exhibited during production offer a glimpse of the madness behind his method. According to Ruth Warrick, the actress who portrays Emily Norton Kane, Welles was not in good shape at the beginning of production. When principal photography began, Welles was suffering from the effects of caffeine poisoning as the result of consuming thirty to forty cups of coffee a day. Welles then switched to tea, figuring that the hassle of having to brew the beverage would naturally limit his intake. But Welles had someone on call to brew the tea for him, and within two weeks, Welles was the color of tannic acid. It was also reported that he would go for long periods without eating, then put away two or three large steaks with side items at one sitting.

During the violent rampage through Susan Alexander's bedroom, Welles badly gashed his left hand. Luckily, the camera did not capture his injury or else expensive retakes would have been in order. Welles also spent some time in a wheelchair, due to an injured ankle sustained when he fell down the staircase in the scene between Kane and Boss Gettys (Ray Collins). This untimely accident forced Joseph Cotten to jump feet first into his first and most important scene, the interview between the aged Jed Leland and the reporter. Poor Joe had to start shooting without a finished script or any idea when he would have to report to the set in order to have the old age makeup applied: 4:00 a.m. Cotten shot the scene in one day, but had to return a few days later to re-shoot the scene, due to an unconvincing wig. While the makeup artists were making a new wig for the scene, Cotten went to Tex's Tennis Shop and bought a tennis sun visor that his character eventually wore throughout the scene.

The cast of Citizen Kane enjoyed a close camaraderie with director Orson Welles and with each other, with the exception of Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander Kane). Welles treated her with contempt on the set, while showing only courtesy to Ruth Warrick, who played the first Mrs. Kane. Warrick objected to the shabby treatment that was obvious to everyone on the set. But Welles explained, "I treat her that way because she's got to hate my guts when we get to the later scenes. When she yells and screams and finally walks out on me, I want her to feel every bit of it in her bones." Warrick argued that an actress does not have to suffer real abuse in order to show those emotions. But Welles said, "That's just the point. She is not an actress. She is Susan Alexander, and she'll probably end up just like the woman she's playing. I'm not mistreating her. I treat her exactly as she expects to be treated. She wouldn't respect anything else." Comingore's subsequent life played out like a bad melodrama. Her film career after Citizen Kane came to a grinding halt when she was blacklisted in 1951 for her affiliation with known Communist Party members. Her final film was The Big Night (1951), directed by Joseph Losey (also blacklisted). Her personal life was also rocky. A few years after the release of Citizen Kane, her marriage failed. Once her ex-husband won custody of their children, Comingore became an alcoholic and frequented nightspots, telling willing patrons her tales of woe. It was later reported that she was arrested for solicitation on Hollywood Boulevard. Her sad life came to an end in 1971.

Many scenes in Citizen Kane were shot during arduous, all night shoots. Many times after pulling a difficult all-nighter, Welles and the rest of the cast and crew would sit on the curb at RKO and drink cocktails at 6:30 a.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. when every other "normal" Hollywood actor or crew member would break for refreshment.

Gregg Toland used faster film and much more powerful lighting that made it possible to get deep focus shots. Toland also used a self-blimped (self-muffling) camera, which meant that Welles had the freedom of greater camera movement. Some historical and critical accounts credit Welles for being the first to place ceilings prominently in shots. While Welles certainly used these extreme low-angle shots to great effect, going so far as to dig a hole in the soundstage floor to get a low enough angle, he most likely got the idea from John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). Welles has admitted that he learned filmmaking from Ford and Stagecoach in particular. He claimed to have watched the film 40 times during the production of Citizen Kane. Once asked whom he considered his influences, Welles remarked, "The old masters, by who I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford."

In the scene where Kane and his entourage set off for the beach from Xanadu, large birds are seen flying across the background. In fact, the background was lifted from a science fiction film to reduce costs, and the birds are, in fact, pterodactyls. The prehistoric beasties were probably lifted from either King Kong (1933) or Son of Kon (1933).

Despite the enormous controversy surrounding Citizen Kane, the film actually passed the review of the Hays Office, the self-regulatory censorship office that set production codes in Hollywood. It's actually surprising that the film passed without incident, given the power that someone like William Randolph Hearst could have brought to bear on such an organization.

Susan Alexander Kane's disastrous debut in the opera world is accompanied by a libretto written not by the film's composer, Bernard Herrmann, but by producer John Houseman. According to Houseman, Herrmann had decided not to use a scene from a standard opera but to create one on his own. He decided that it should be a French opera and asked Houseman to write it. Houseman hurriedly assembled a mixed bag from Racine's "Athalie", "Ph¿e," and others. It did not make any sense. As lip-synched by Dorothy Comingore, the opera is barely intelligible, but Welles built one of the film's most visually striking sequences.

Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote the balance of the screenplay for this film from a hospital bed recovering from an illness. But his poor health was the least of his worries. Welles eventually tried to claim sole credit for the screenplay, an action that Mankiewicz was determined to prevent. He countered with arbitration with the Screen Writers Guild, the organization that settles disputes over screenwriting credit. The Guild ruled in favor of Mankiewicz and he won top billing over Welles' name on the title card.

The true unsung hero behind the production of Citizen Kane is an artist named Perry Ferguson, the primary creator of the ornate sets and the film's dazzling art direction. While Van Nest Polglase was RKO's administrative head of the art department, it was Ferguson who Welles hired to create sets that looked expensive, but were wholly reflective of the film's severely limited budget. Ferguson ended up doing his job so well that Citizen Kane remains a textbook example to this day of how to function creatively under severe budgetary constraints. Indeed, when Welles reported to RKO studio chief George Schaefer, he proudly stated that the film is deceptively much less expensive than it looked on the screen. And speaking of Schaefer, he too deserves plenty of accolades for standing up courageously for Welles and the film in front of his fellow studio chiefs and the RKO board of directors.

by Scott McGee

Behind the Camera - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

Behind the Camera on CITIZEN KANE Orson Welles brought New York actress Ruth Warrick out to Hollywood to test for the part of Emily Norton Kane. He tempted her by telling her that he was looking for a real lady, a woman of charm and good upbringing, to play the part. He was not looking for someone who could act like a lady, but an actual lady. After several tests of Hollywood actresses, Welles came to the conclusion that "there are no ladies in Hollywood." Warrick flew out for a screen test and was awarded the part. The excesses that Welles exhibited during production offer a glimpse of the madness behind his method. According to Ruth Warrick, the actress who portrays Emily Norton Kane, Welles was not in good shape at the beginning of production. When principal photography began, Welles was suffering from the effects of caffeine poisoning as the result of consuming thirty to forty cups of coffee a day. Welles then switched to tea, figuring that the hassle of having to brew the beverage would naturally limit his intake. But Welles had someone on call to brew the tea for him, and within two weeks, Welles was the color of tannic acid. It was also reported that he would go for long periods without eating, then put away two or three large steaks with side items at one sitting. During the violent rampage through Susan Alexander's bedroom, Welles badly gashed his left hand. Luckily, the camera did not capture his injury or else expensive retakes would have been in order. Welles also spent some time in a wheelchair, due to an injured ankle sustained when he fell down the staircase in the scene between Kane and Boss Gettys (Ray Collins). This untimely accident forced Joseph Cotten to jump feet first into his first and most important scene, the interview between the aged Jed Leland and the reporter. Poor Joe had to start shooting without a finished script or any idea when he would have to report to the set in order to have the old age makeup applied: 4:00 a.m. Cotten shot the scene in one day, but had to return a few days later to re-shoot the scene, due to an unconvincing wig. While the makeup artists were making a new wig for the scene, Cotten went to Tex's Tennis Shop and bought a tennis sun visor that his character eventually wore throughout the scene. The cast of Citizen Kane enjoyed a close camaraderie with director Orson Welles and with each other, with the exception of Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander Kane). Welles treated her with contempt on the set, while showing only courtesy to Ruth Warrick, who played the first Mrs. Kane. Warrick objected to the shabby treatment that was obvious to everyone on the set. But Welles explained, "I treat her that way because she's got to hate my guts when we get to the later scenes. When she yells and screams and finally walks out on me, I want her to feel every bit of it in her bones." Warrick argued that an actress does not have to suffer real abuse in order to show those emotions. But Welles said, "That's just the point. She is not an actress. She is Susan Alexander, and she'll probably end up just like the woman she's playing. I'm not mistreating her. I treat her exactly as she expects to be treated. She wouldn't respect anything else." Comingore's subsequent life played out like a bad melodrama. Her film career after Citizen Kane came to a grinding halt when she was blacklisted in 1951 for her affiliation with known Communist Party members. Her final film was The Big Night (1951), directed by Joseph Losey (also blacklisted). Her personal life was also rocky. A few years after the release of Citizen Kane, her marriage failed. Once her ex-husband won custody of their children, Comingore became an alcoholic and frequented nightspots, telling willing patrons her tales of woe. It was later reported that she was arrested for solicitation on Hollywood Boulevard. Her sad life came to an end in 1971. Many scenes in Citizen Kane were shot during arduous, all night shoots. Many times after pulling a difficult all-nighter, Welles and the rest of the cast and crew would sit on the curb at RKO and drink cocktails at 6:30 a.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. when every other "normal" Hollywood actor or crew member would break for refreshment. Gregg Toland used faster film and much more powerful lighting that made it possible to get deep focus shots. Toland also used a self-blimped (self-muffling) camera, which meant that Welles had the freedom of greater camera movement. Some historical and critical accounts credit Welles for being the first to place ceilings prominently in shots. While Welles certainly used these extreme low-angle shots to great effect, going so far as to dig a hole in the soundstage floor to get a low enough angle, he most likely got the idea from John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). Welles has admitted that he learned filmmaking from Ford and Stagecoach in particular. He claimed to have watched the film 40 times during the production of Citizen Kane. Once asked whom he considered his influences, Welles remarked, "The old masters, by who I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford." In the scene where Kane and his entourage set off for the beach from Xanadu, large birds are seen flying across the background. In fact, the background was lifted from a science fiction film to reduce costs, and the birds are, in fact, pterodactyls. The prehistoric beasties were probably lifted from either King Kong (1933) or Son of Kon (1933). Despite the enormous controversy surrounding Citizen Kane, the film actually passed the review of the Hays Office, the self-regulatory censorship office that set production codes in Hollywood. It's actually surprising that the film passed without incident, given the power that someone like William Randolph Hearst could have brought to bear on such an organization. Susan Alexander Kane's disastrous debut in the opera world is accompanied by a libretto written not by the film's composer, Bernard Herrmann, but by producer John Houseman. According to Houseman, Herrmann had decided not to use a scene from a standard opera but to create one on his own. He decided that it should be a French opera and asked Houseman to write it. Houseman hurriedly assembled a mixed bag from Racine's "Athalie", "Ph¿e," and others. It did not make any sense. As lip-synched by Dorothy Comingore, the opera is barely intelligible, but Welles built one of the film's most visually striking sequences. Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote the balance of the screenplay for this film from a hospital bed recovering from an illness. But his poor health was the least of his worries. Welles eventually tried to claim sole credit for the screenplay, an action that Mankiewicz was determined to prevent. He countered with arbitration with the Screen Writers Guild, the organization that settles disputes over screenwriting credit. The Guild ruled in favor of Mankiewicz and he won top billing over Welles' name on the title card. The true unsung hero behind the production of Citizen Kane is an artist named Perry Ferguson, the primary creator of the ornate sets and the film's dazzling art direction. While Van Nest Polglase was RKO's administrative head of the art department, it was Ferguson who Welles hired to create sets that looked expensive, but were wholly reflective of the film's severely limited budget. Ferguson ended up doing his job so well that Citizen Kane remains a textbook example to this day of how to function creatively under severe budgetary constraints. Indeed, when Welles reported to RKO studio chief George Schaefer, he proudly stated that the film is deceptively much less expensive than it looked on the screen. And speaking of Schaefer, he too deserves plenty of accolades for standing up courageously for Welles and the film in front of his fellow studio chiefs and the RKO board of directors. by Scott McGee

The Critics Corner - CITIZEN KANE (1941)


The Critics' Corner on CITIZEN KANE

The major newsweeklies had glowing remarks for Citizen Kane. Time (March 17, 1941) called the film "the most sensational product of the U.S. movie industry. It has found important new techniques in picture making and story-telling. Artful and artfully artless¿it is a work of art created by grown people for grown people." Not to be undone, The Nation hailed the picture in its April 26, 1941 issue as "probably the most original, exciting, and entertaining picture that has yet been produced in this country." John O'Hara's review in Newsweek (March 17, 1941) commented on the Hearst empire blackout that would prohibit many viewers from seeing the picture: "It is with exceeding regret that your faithful bystander reports that he has just seen a picture which he thinks must be the best picture he ever saw... It lacks nothing." Of course, not everyone thought so highly of the film. A review for The New Republic (June 2, 1941) found the film unexceptional and felt it held "no great place" in the annuals of cinema.

"..no one will dispute that Kane is still regarded as Welles's most important film. In technical virtuosity and dramatic structure it is the most influential work of the sound era, the picture to which not only Welles films but all films must, inevitably, be compared. Kane is a cinematic reference point which should be seen over and over again to learn the language of film, to learn its potential as a storytelling medium and as an outlet for personal and artistic expression." - Danny Peary, Cult Movies.

Citizen Kane has the dimensions of a tragedy, but the tragedy is expressed in a dazzling cluster of cinematic metaphors and devices. Quite suddenly, in 1941, the cinema comes of age, with a film that - triumphantly, vividly - proclaims its independence and its mesmeric fascination." - Peter Cowie, Eighty Years of Cinema.

"The essence of the film lies in its story, comparable to a great modern novel, and in its often expressionistic style. It studies Kane from every aspect, accentuating his egotism and his loneliness. Welles (who himself had some of Kane's characterics incarnated Kane and, despite some misuse of make-up, is an imposing presence who pushes all the other actors...into the background." - Georges sadoul, Dictionary of Films.

Awards & Honors

In 1998, Citizen Kane is voted the #1 film of all time by the American Film Institute.

In a poll of 250 of the world's film critics' "Ten Best Lists" conducted every ten years, Sight and Sound, a reputable film magazine published by the British Film Institute, Citizen Kane placed first in the 1992 poll. It held that top spot in the 1982, 1972, and 1962 poll. Ironically, it did not place at all in 1952's poll.

The other films on the 1992 list:

2. The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
3. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
4. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
6. (tie) L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934), The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1928), Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955), and Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925).
10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968).

While Citizen Kane is now routinely considered the benchmark of excellence in American filmmaking, the Academy Awards® didn't think so highly of the film in 1941. Nominated for nine Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Actor (Orson Welles), Director, Score (of a Dramatic Picture), Cinematography (Black-and-White), Art Direction/Interior Decoration (Black-and-White), Sound Recording, and Film Editing, the film walked off with only one Oscar® - for Best Original Screenplay. The film even earned a chorus of "boos" when the nominations were first announced. Welles himself was granted an honorary Academy Award® in 1970, for "superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures."

Perhaps the film's most unique superlative can be found in film reviews for other films. When a film is praised as being the best in its class, some critics reference the Orson Welles masterpiece, as in one review for Bab (1995) that hailed the sweet fantasy as "the Citizen Kane of pig movies."

Celebrated writer-director Preston Sturges presented the Academy Awardreg; for Best Original Screenplay to Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles on February 26, 1942 in Los Angeles. The victorious duo was not present though, so RKO chief George Schaefer accepted on its behalf. Mankiewicz stayed home that night because, as his wife explained, "He did not want to be humiliated. He thought he'd get mad and do something drastic when he didn't win." Had the Hollywood veteran been there, he would have been glad to hear a chorus of people screaming, "Mank! Mank! Mank! Mank!" Still, many people booed the winners. But according to Louella Parson's biographer George Eells, "Privately, many of the same people who booed conceded that it was a superb film but the popular stance was to pretend disapproval."

Compiled by Scott McGee

The Critics Corner - CITIZEN KANE (1941)

The Critics' Corner on CITIZEN KANE The major newsweeklies had glowing remarks for Citizen Kane. Time (March 17, 1941) called the film "the most sensational product of the U.S. movie industry. It has found important new techniques in picture making and story-telling. Artful and artfully artless¿it is a work of art created by grown people for grown people." Not to be undone, The Nation hailed the picture in its April 26, 1941 issue as "probably the most original, exciting, and entertaining picture that has yet been produced in this country." John O'Hara's review in Newsweek (March 17, 1941) commented on the Hearst empire blackout that would prohibit many viewers from seeing the picture: "It is with exceeding regret that your faithful bystander reports that he has just seen a picture which he thinks must be the best picture he ever saw... It lacks nothing." Of course, not everyone thought so highly of the film. A review for The New Republic (June 2, 1941) found the film unexceptional and felt it held "no great place" in the annuals of cinema. "..no one will dispute that Kane is still regarded as Welles's most important film. In technical virtuosity and dramatic structure it is the most influential work of the sound era, the picture to which not only Welles films but all films must, inevitably, be compared. Kane is a cinematic reference point which should be seen over and over again to learn the language of film, to learn its potential as a storytelling medium and as an outlet for personal and artistic expression." - Danny Peary, Cult Movies. Citizen Kane has the dimensions of a tragedy, but the tragedy is expressed in a dazzling cluster of cinematic metaphors and devices. Quite suddenly, in 1941, the cinema comes of age, with a film that - triumphantly, vividly - proclaims its independence and its mesmeric fascination." - Peter Cowie, Eighty Years of Cinema. "The essence of the film lies in its story, comparable to a great modern novel, and in its often expressionistic style. It studies Kane from every aspect, accentuating his egotism and his loneliness. Welles (who himself had some of Kane's characterics incarnated Kane and, despite some misuse of make-up, is an imposing presence who pushes all the other actors...into the background." - Georges sadoul, Dictionary of Films. Awards & Honors In 1998, Citizen Kane is voted the #1 film of all time by the American Film Institute. In a poll of 250 of the world's film critics' "Ten Best Lists" conducted every ten years, Sight and Sound, a reputable film magazine published by the British Film Institute, Citizen Kane placed first in the 1992 poll. It held that top spot in the 1982, 1972, and 1962 poll. Ironically, it did not place at all in 1952's poll. The other films on the 1992 list: 2. The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939) 3. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) 4. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) 5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) 6. (tie) L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934), The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1928), Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955), and Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925). 10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968). While Citizen Kane is now routinely considered the benchmark of excellence in American filmmaking, the Academy Awards® didn't think so highly of the film in 1941. Nominated for nine Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Actor (Orson Welles), Director, Score (of a Dramatic Picture), Cinematography (Black-and-White), Art Direction/Interior Decoration (Black-and-White), Sound Recording, and Film Editing, the film walked off with only one Oscar® - for Best Original Screenplay. The film even earned a chorus of "boos" when the nominations were first announced. Welles himself was granted an honorary Academy Award® in 1970, for "superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures." Perhaps the film's most unique superlative can be found in film reviews for other films. When a film is praised as being the best in its class, some critics reference the Orson Welles masterpiece, as in one review for Bab (1995) that hailed the sweet fantasy as "the Citizen Kane of pig movies." Celebrated writer-director Preston Sturges presented the Academy Awardreg; for Best Original Screenplay to Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles on February 26, 1942 in Los Angeles. The victorious duo was not present though, so RKO chief George Schaefer accepted on its behalf. Mankiewicz stayed home that night because, as his wife explained, "He did not want to be humiliated. He thought he'd get mad and do something drastic when he didn't win." Had the Hollywood veteran been there, he would have been glad to hear a chorus of people screaming, "Mank! Mank! Mank! Mank!" Still, many people booed the winners. But according to Louella Parson's biographer George Eells, "Privately, many of the same people who booed conceded that it was a superb film but the popular stance was to pretend disapproval." Compiled by Scott McGee

Citizen Kane


Controversy has long swirled around the authorship of the screenplay for RKO's Citizen Kane (1941), which brought Oscars to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. As the film was being prepared for release, Welles attempted to claim sole credit and acknowledged the contributions of Mankiewicz only after being forced to do so by the Writers Guild. Critic Pauline Kael, in her 1971 The Citizen Kane Book, revived the debate with her carefully detailed argument that it was Mankiewicz who was primarily responsible for the screenplay, from inception of the idea through the shooting script. And just what was the extent of the uncredited contribution of frequent Welles associate John Houseman? Whatever the balance of the collaboration, this much is known: When Mankiewicz and Welles began work on the script, it was titled American, and its central figure was an even more thinly veiled caricature of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst than appears in the completed film.

Welles' imaginative storytelling style as a director was reinforced by magnificent performances, beginning with his own in the title role, and groundbreaking techniques in photography, editing and sound. But when the film's highly guarded subject matter was at last revealed at previews in February 1941, Hearst reacted with outrage, forcing repeated postponements of Citizen Kane's premiere with threats of libel and refusing to have the film mentioned in any of his newspapers. The movie finally opened on May 1, 1941, to brilliant notices. However, pressure from Hearst and his friends in the film industry kept it out of many theaters, and it proved too sophisticated for small-town audiences. The film closed its first run with a loss of some $150,000. It was only after World War II, when it resurfaced in Europe and then on American television, that Citizen Kane took its rightful place as a cinematic masterpiece.

Citizen Kane won Oscar nominations in eight other categories: Best Picture, Actor (Welles), Director (Welles), Black and White Cinematography, Interior Decoration, Sound Recording, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Film Editing. In what now seems an irony, since the film is considered by many the greatest ever made, the screenplay award was its only Oscar;and some audience members at that year's Academy Awards ceremonies, allegedly influenced by Hearst columnist Louella Parsons, booed the announcement of that victory.

Producer/Director: Orson Welles
Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiwiecz, Orson Welles, John Houseman (uncredited)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Perry Ferguson (associate)
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Costume Design: Edward Stevenson
Editing: Robert Wise
Original Music: Bernard Herrmann
Principal Cast: Orson Welles (Charles Foster Kane), Joseph Cotton (Jedediah Leland), Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mary Kane), Ruth Warrick (Emily Norton Kane), Ray Collins (Boss James "Jim" W. Gettys), Herbert Carter (Everett Sloane)
BW-120m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.

By Roger Fristoe

Citizen Kane

Controversy has long swirled around the authorship of the screenplay for RKO's Citizen Kane (1941), which brought Oscars to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. As the film was being prepared for release, Welles attempted to claim sole credit and acknowledged the contributions of Mankiewicz only after being forced to do so by the Writers Guild. Critic Pauline Kael, in her 1971 The Citizen Kane Book, revived the debate with her carefully detailed argument that it was Mankiewicz who was primarily responsible for the screenplay, from inception of the idea through the shooting script. And just what was the extent of the uncredited contribution of frequent Welles associate John Houseman? Whatever the balance of the collaboration, this much is known: When Mankiewicz and Welles began work on the script, it was titled American, and its central figure was an even more thinly veiled caricature of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst than appears in the completed film. Welles' imaginative storytelling style as a director was reinforced by magnificent performances, beginning with his own in the title role, and groundbreaking techniques in photography, editing and sound. But when the film's highly guarded subject matter was at last revealed at previews in February 1941, Hearst reacted with outrage, forcing repeated postponements of Citizen Kane's premiere with threats of libel and refusing to have the film mentioned in any of his newspapers. The movie finally opened on May 1, 1941, to brilliant notices. However, pressure from Hearst and his friends in the film industry kept it out of many theaters, and it proved too sophisticated for small-town audiences. The film closed its first run with a loss of some $150,000. It was only after World War II, when it resurfaced in Europe and then on American television, that Citizen Kane took its rightful place as a cinematic masterpiece. Citizen Kane won Oscar nominations in eight other categories: Best Picture, Actor (Welles), Director (Welles), Black and White Cinematography, Interior Decoration, Sound Recording, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Film Editing. In what now seems an irony, since the film is considered by many the greatest ever made, the screenplay award was its only Oscar;and some audience members at that year's Academy Awards ceremonies, allegedly influenced by Hearst columnist Louella Parsons, booed the announcement of that victory. Producer/Director: Orson Welles Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiwiecz, Orson Welles, John Houseman (uncredited) Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Perry Ferguson (associate) Cinematography: Gregg Toland Costume Design: Edward Stevenson Editing: Robert Wise Original Music: Bernard Herrmann Principal Cast: Orson Welles (Charles Foster Kane), Joseph Cotton (Jedediah Leland), Dorothy Comingore (Susan Alexander), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mary Kane), Ruth Warrick (Emily Norton Kane), Ray Collins (Boss James "Jim" W. Gettys), Herbert Carter (Everett Sloane) BW-120m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video. By Roger Fristoe

News - Citizen Kane


CITIZEN KANE ON DVD

Like King Lear and Don Giovanni, Citizen Kane (1941) has the burden of being "the greatest" and "best ever." Who can really enjoy a film with that much pressure? But Citizen Kane withstands such agressive acclaim as a glance at the wonderful new DVD shows. It isn't the best film ever made simply because there's no such thing - how could it be "better" than Vertigo or Breathless or Sherlock Jr. or Shock Corridor? But there's no denying that Citizen Kane is a stunning, one-of-a-kind film as essential as, yes, Shakespeare or Mozart (both Welles favorites).

The DVD does the film justice; in fact it's like seeing it fresh. The image is crisp and detailed, especially important considering the amount of detail director/star/co-writer Orson Welles loved to pack in. The contrasts of light and dark also show Greg Toland's cinematography to best effect and there are almost no visible spots or imperfections. (One tiny flaw deserves mention: In the scene where the reporter interviews Bernstein, raindrops on the lower part of the window were apparently erased by software considering them image "noise." The drops are visible in the closing credits and on tapes of the film.) The audio is the original monophonic sound and hasn't been revised to create any kind of monstrous stereo effect, allowing Bernard Herrmann's score to shine.

Citizen Kane is a film that stands up to repeated viewings, something even more pleasurable in this clean presentation. You can notice, for instance, how Kane is first shown only in fragments - hand, lips, silhouette - that parallels how his story is presented. Or tucked away (barely noticable) on Susan's dresser the first time she meets Kane is the glass snowball that breaks in the opening. It's amazing how a 25-year-old Welles with very limited film experience so thoroughly grasped the essence of cinema that even today few directors can match him.

The Citizen Kane DVD is a two-disc set that includes numerous extras. The most important are two audio commentaries on the film. One is by Peter Bogdanovich, who did an essential book-length interview with Welles called This Is Orson Welles. Bogdanovich's commentary is good on many of the technical aspects, pointing out where something derived from Welles' vast experience in radio or how a particular shot was constructed by digging a hole in the floor for the camera. He also adds a personal touch (Welles lived with Bogdanovich for a while) by revealing Welles' personal sense of humor or which scenes weren't Welles' favorites. The other commentary is a warm, personable one by noted critic Roger Ebert. He provides more general information on the making of the film, adding some interesting observations of his own.

The second disc includes the documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane, presented just as it was originally shown on PBS complete with an introduction and a fertilizer commercial. The Battle Over Citizen Kane is really a dual biography of Welles and William Randolph Hearst (an inspiration for the character of Kane) that culminates in the Kane controversy. Actual details about Citizen Kane in documentary are fairly limited. Though The Battle Over Citizen Kane is certainly fascinating and fills in a lot of background detail, it's basically a routine mix of modern-day interviews laced with stock footage (some of the latter is clearly from the wrong time period). Unfortunately, it also dismisses the rest of Welles career even though he continued to make films in many ways the equal of Citizen Kane: The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, Othello, Chimes at Midnight.

Of the other extras, definitely don't miss the clever and funny trailer narrated by Orson Welles. There are also newsreels, production information and a few other odds and ends. Some views of the script and call sheets are included but these flip past with no control over the speed or ability to zoom for a readable image so there's not much point. Also here is an incomplete Welles filmography that lists only the well-known films. Oddly enough, it mentions the partly filmed and abandoned It's All True but ignores mostly completed but unreleased works like The Other Side of the Wind, The Deep and Don Quixote. By the way, for some inexplicable reason, interviews with Robert Wise and Ruth Warwick are hidden on the discs; you can find them by clicking on the sleds in the menus.

By Lang Thompson

News - Citizen Kane

CITIZEN KANE ON DVD Like King Lear and Don Giovanni, Citizen Kane (1941) has the burden of being "the greatest" and "best ever." Who can really enjoy a film with that much pressure? But Citizen Kane withstands such agressive acclaim as a glance at the wonderful new DVD shows. It isn't the best film ever made simply because there's no such thing - how could it be "better" than Vertigo or Breathless or Sherlock Jr. or Shock Corridor? But there's no denying that Citizen Kane is a stunning, one-of-a-kind film as essential as, yes, Shakespeare or Mozart (both Welles favorites). The DVD does the film justice; in fact it's like seeing it fresh. The image is crisp and detailed, especially important considering the amount of detail director/star/co-writer Orson Welles loved to pack in. The contrasts of light and dark also show Greg Toland's cinematography to best effect and there are almost no visible spots or imperfections. (One tiny flaw deserves mention: In the scene where the reporter interviews Bernstein, raindrops on the lower part of the window were apparently erased by software considering them image "noise." The drops are visible in the closing credits and on tapes of the film.) The audio is the original monophonic sound and hasn't been revised to create any kind of monstrous stereo effect, allowing Bernard Herrmann's score to shine. Citizen Kane is a film that stands up to repeated viewings, something even more pleasurable in this clean presentation. You can notice, for instance, how Kane is first shown only in fragments - hand, lips, silhouette - that parallels how his story is presented. Or tucked away (barely noticable) on Susan's dresser the first time she meets Kane is the glass snowball that breaks in the opening. It's amazing how a 25-year-old Welles with very limited film experience so thoroughly grasped the essence of cinema that even today few directors can match him. The Citizen Kane DVD is a two-disc set that includes numerous extras. The most important are two audio commentaries on the film. One is by Peter Bogdanovich, who did an essential book-length interview with Welles called This Is Orson Welles. Bogdanovich's commentary is good on many of the technical aspects, pointing out where something derived from Welles' vast experience in radio or how a particular shot was constructed by digging a hole in the floor for the camera. He also adds a personal touch (Welles lived with Bogdanovich for a while) by revealing Welles' personal sense of humor or which scenes weren't Welles' favorites. The other commentary is a warm, personable one by noted critic Roger Ebert. He provides more general information on the making of the film, adding some interesting observations of his own. The second disc includes the documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane, presented just as it was originally shown on PBS complete with an introduction and a fertilizer commercial. The Battle Over Citizen Kane is really a dual biography of Welles and William Randolph Hearst (an inspiration for the character of Kane) that culminates in the Kane controversy. Actual details about Citizen Kane in documentary are fairly limited. Though The Battle Over Citizen Kane is certainly fascinating and fills in a lot of background detail, it's basically a routine mix of modern-day interviews laced with stock footage (some of the latter is clearly from the wrong time period). Unfortunately, it also dismisses the rest of Welles career even though he continued to make films in many ways the equal of Citizen Kane: The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, Othello, Chimes at Midnight. Of the other extras, definitely don't miss the clever and funny trailer narrated by Orson Welles. There are also newsreels, production information and a few other odds and ends. Some views of the script and call sheets are included but these flip past with no control over the speed or ability to zoom for a readable image so there's not much point. Also here is an incomplete Welles filmography that lists only the well-known films. Oddly enough, it mentions the partly filmed and abandoned It's All True but ignores mostly completed but unreleased works like The Other Side of the Wind, The Deep and Don Quixote. By the way, for some inexplicable reason, interviews with Robert Wise and Ruth Warwick are hidden on the discs; you can find them by clicking on the sleds in the menus. By Lang Thompson

Ruth Warrick (1915-2005) - Ruth Warrick, (1915-2005)


Ruth Warrick, the actress who will forever be identified as the first Mrs. Kane in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) to film buffs; and Phoebe Wallingford, the meddlesome nosybody on the long-running soap opera All My Children, to modern television audiences, died at her Manhattan home on January 15 of complications from Pneumonia. She was 89.

She was born on June 29, 1915 in St. Joseph, Missouri. After attaining a degree in theatre from the University of Kansas City, she left for New York, where in 1938, she joined the Mercury Theater troupe, headed by a young artist on the rise by the name of Orson Welles. When Welles prepared to film Citizen Kane (1941) he took several players from his Mercury Theater (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloan, Agnes Moorehead) and of course, Ruth Warrick. She made her film debut in Welles' cinematic epic as Emily Norton Kane. Indeed, to many film buffs, Warrick's icy charms are indispensable to the celebrated montage sequence opposite Welles at the breakfast table; particularly when he broaches the subject of her husband's infidelity:

Emily Kane: Charles, people will think...
Charles Kane: What I tell them to think!

Warrick received fine reviews for her performance, and she had good roles in her next two films The Corsican Brothers (1941), with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Journey Into Fear (1942), opposite Joseph Cotton. Sadly, Hollywood, not knowing what to do with a well-trained, mature actress like Warrick, began to cast her into routine, forgettable fare: Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944), China Sky (1945), and Swell Guy (1946). Disney's Song of the South (1947), was a box-office hit, and was her best film in a while, but overall, the material she received over the next few years, simply wasn't worthy of her talents.

Things turned around for her in the mid-50s, when Warrick discovered the medium of television. She had regular roles on The Guiding Light (1953-54), As the World Turns (1956-60), Father of the Bride (1960-61), and was unforgettable as the sinister housekeeper, Hannah Cord, in Peyton Place (1965-67). Yet it was her 35-year run in the role of Phoebe Wallingford in All My Children (1970-2005), that Warrick achieved her greatest triumph. As the rich, intrusive matriarch of the fictitious, affluent town known as Pine Valley, Warrick found a role that could be at once gloriously hammy and quietly conniving - qualities that highlighted her renown versatility as an actress. To honor her contribution to television, Warrick received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys last December. She is survived by three children, a grandson, and six great-grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Ruth Warrick (1915-2005) - Ruth Warrick, (1915-2005)

Ruth Warrick, the actress who will forever be identified as the first Mrs. Kane in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) to film buffs; and Phoebe Wallingford, the meddlesome nosybody on the long-running soap opera All My Children, to modern television audiences, died at her Manhattan home on January 15 of complications from Pneumonia. She was 89. She was born on June 29, 1915 in St. Joseph, Missouri. After attaining a degree in theatre from the University of Kansas City, she left for New York, where in 1938, she joined the Mercury Theater troupe, headed by a young artist on the rise by the name of Orson Welles. When Welles prepared to film Citizen Kane (1941) he took several players from his Mercury Theater (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloan, Agnes Moorehead) and of course, Ruth Warrick. She made her film debut in Welles' cinematic epic as Emily Norton Kane. Indeed, to many film buffs, Warrick's icy charms are indispensable to the celebrated montage sequence opposite Welles at the breakfast table; particularly when he broaches the subject of her husband's infidelity: Emily Kane: Charles, people will think... Charles Kane: What I tell them to think! Warrick received fine reviews for her performance, and she had good roles in her next two films The Corsican Brothers (1941), with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Journey Into Fear (1942), opposite Joseph Cotton. Sadly, Hollywood, not knowing what to do with a well-trained, mature actress like Warrick, began to cast her into routine, forgettable fare: Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944), China Sky (1945), and Swell Guy (1946). Disney's Song of the South (1947), was a box-office hit, and was her best film in a while, but overall, the material she received over the next few years, simply wasn't worthy of her talents. Things turned around for her in the mid-50s, when Warrick discovered the medium of television. She had regular roles on The Guiding Light (1953-54), As the World Turns (1956-60), Father of the Bride (1960-61), and was unforgettable as the sinister housekeeper, Hannah Cord, in Peyton Place (1965-67). Yet it was her 35-year run in the role of Phoebe Wallingford in All My Children (1970-2005), that Warrick achieved her greatest triumph. As the rich, intrusive matriarch of the fictitious, affluent town known as Pine Valley, Warrick found a role that could be at once gloriously hammy and quietly conniving - qualities that highlighted her renown versatility as an actress. To honor her contribution to television, Warrick received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys last December. She is survived by three children, a grandson, and six great-grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Rosebud...
- Charles Foster Kane
Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost. Anyway, I don't think it would have explained everything. I don't think any word can explain a man's life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle... a missing piece.
- Thompson
You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man.
- Charles Foster Kane
Don't you think you are?
- Thatcher
I think I did pretty well under the circumstances.
- Charles Foster Kane
What would you like to have been?
- Thatcher
Everything you hate.
- Charles Foster Kane
Hello Jedediah.
- Charles Foster Kane
Hello, Charlie. I didn't know we were speaking...
- Leland
Sure, we're speaking, Jedediah: you're fired.
- Charles Foster Kane
I always gagged on the silver spoon.
- Charles Foster Kane

Trivia

Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote the balance of the screenplay for this film from a hospital bed recovering from illness.

The scene where Kane destroys Susan's room after she's left him was done on the first take. Director/star Orson Welles' hands were bleeding, and he is quoted as saying "I really felt it".

Welles privately watched Stagecoach (1939) about 40 times while making this film.

When asked by friends how Kane's last words would be known when he died alone, Welles reportedly stared for a long time before saying "Don't you ever tell anyone of this". See also the goofs entry.

The producers ran the film across concrete to make the newsreel on Kane's death seem more authentic.

Notes

This film's end credits begin with the statement, "Most of the principal actors in Citizen Kane are new to motion pictures. The Mercury Theatre is proud to introduce them." Organized by Orson Welles and John Houseman in November 1937, The Mercury Theatre won critical acclaim for its productions, including Julius Caesar, The Shoemaker's Holiday, Heartbreak House and Danton's Death. However, it was The War of the Worlds, Welles's convincing radio portrayal of an invasion by Martians, broadcast on Halloween night, 1938, that brought him instant celebrity. According to a 1940 Saturday Evening Post series on Welles, Hollywood studios had offered the director a contract for $300 a week as early as 1936. Published accounts of Hollywood's interest did not appear until July 1939, when news items and RKO publicity announced that Welles, at age twenty-four and with no professional film experience, had signed a carte-blanche contract with RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. to produce, write, direct and act in one film per year. Welles was to be paid $150,000 per film in addition to a percentage of the gross, but more important to him was the stipulation that no one, not even RKO's president or board of directors, could interfere with him or see his work until it was completed. (Life reported that when RKO executives came on the set of Citizen Kane unannounced, Welles told his company to start a baseball game and walked off.) According to the Saturday Evening Post series, Welles once described the RKO studio as "the greatest railroad train a boy ever had." In her Los Angeles Examiner column, Louella Parsons observed that Welles "rode into Hollyood [sic] with a contract that never has been equaled in the entire history of motion pictures" and noted that he signed with RKO after Warner Bros. and M-G-M "refused to give him all the privileges that he asked." The Hollywood community greeted Welles with hostility. Gossip columnists repeatedly referred to him as "Little Orson Annie" and "Arson" Welles, and called attention to his beard, which he grew for stage roles and kept for his planned first film role.
       Welles brought with him to Hollywood a number of staff members from the Mercury Theatre and established Mercury Productions, Inc. in partnership with Jack Moss. Early in August 1939, according to Hollywood Reporter, Welles began working with John Houseman and Herbert Drake on a script for his first film, an adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness. Welles planned to play both of the major roles, Kurtz and Marlow, and to use a subjective camera. Saturday Evening Post reported that he was also to be the chief scenic artist and propman. Heart of Darkness was to feature many actors from the Mercury Theatre and Welles's radio company, the Mercury Theatre of the Air, including Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Gus Schilling, Edgar Barrier and Erskine Sanford. Austrian actress Dita Parlo was wanted for the female lead. Production was set to begin on November 1, 1939, but according to Daily Variety, RKO pushed back the date to give the construction department more time to build the unusual sets. Fourteen actors were on salary in November 1939, but in December 1939, pre-production was halted. RKO announced that Welles would first make The Smiler with a Knife, variously called a comedy-mystery-drama and a thriller and based on a novel by Nicholas Blake, which the studio had recently purchased and for which Welles was writing the screenplay. The lead was to be a woman, and Welles was to play a supporting role. In a later interview, Welles stated that the studio would not let him cast Lucille Ball in the lead, so the project was shelved. According to RKO publicity, before Welles began work on Citizen Kane, he "indulged himself in the most concentrated course in movie making ever attempted, with the result that he has a working knowledge of every studio department."
       The initial rough draft script of Citizen Kane is dated April 16, 1940 and entitled "American." This draft, in which "Xanadu" was called the "Alhambra," includes many scenes similar to incidents in the life of William Randolph Hearst, which were subsequently dropped. Modern sources dispute whether Welles or his co-writer, Herman J. Mankiewicz, should be given credit for the various drafts. Some sources claim that Welles tried to keep Mankiewicz's name off the screen credits, while others argue that while Mankiewicz's contract stipulated that he would not necessarily get an onscreen credit, Welles, in correspondence with his attorney, stated that he wanted Mankiewicz to get credit. In a deposition taken for a 1949 lawsuit, Welles stated that Mankiewicz wrote the dialogue for the first two drafts, and that he (Welles) worked on the third draft and "participated all along in conversations concerning the structure of the scenes." RKO story files at UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library contain extensive notes dated April 30, 1940 by Welles concerning desired changes to the April 16, 1940 draft. Subsequently, a number of drafts and continuities were written, concluding with the third revised final script, dated July 16, 1940. According to modern sources, Mankiewicz claimed to the Screen Writers' Guild that he should be given sole writing credit. According to the RKO Billing Memorandum file for the film at UCLA, on January 11, 1941, Mankiewicz signed a statement giving his consent for advertising to omit a screenplay credit. On January 18, 1941, Dore Schary of the Screen Writers' Guild wrote to Mercury Productions stating that the proposed credit "screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles" seemed to be in violation of a clause in the Producer-Screen Writers' Guild Agreement which stated that "No production executives will be entitled to share in the screen play authorship screen credit unless he does the screen play writing entirely without the collaboration of any other writer." Subsequently, on January 22, 1941, Welles and Mankiewicz signed a joint statement that "having carefully considered their intentions relative to the contract dated June 19, 1940, and having carefully considered the contribution of each of them in the writing of the original screen story for Citizen Kane," they agreed to the screen credits as they appear on the film. On January 27, 1941, the Screen Writers' Guild met and decided that the Guild had no jurisdiction in the matter because of the particular contract Mankiewicz had signed. A memo in the RKO files, dated June 5, 1941, states that both Mankiewicz and Welles worked 111 days on the screenplay: 7 December-December 23, 1939; 19 February-May 11, 1940; and 18 June-July 27, 1940. The memo also indicates that Houseman worked 87 days: 21 February-April 27, 1940; and 29 April-1 June 1940.
       In an undated statement included in the RKO files at UCLA, Welles described his intent in making the film: "I wished to make a motion picture which was not a narrative of action so much as an examination of character. For this, I desired a man of many sides and many aspects. It was my idea to show that six or more people could have as many widely divergent opinions concerning the nature of a single personality." After discussing how he came to choose a newspaper publisher as his main character, Welles continued, "There have been many motion pictures and novels rigorously obeying the formula of the 'success story.' I wished to do something quite different. I wished to make a picture which might be called a 'failure story.'" Welles noted that his character "had never made what is known as 'transference' from his mother. Hence his failure with his wives." Welles concluded, "The protagonist of my 'failure story' must retreat from a democracy which his money fails to buy and his power fails to control.-There are two retreats possible: death and the womb. The house was the womb." In an article published in the New York publication Friday during the controversy that held up the film's release, Welles further explained his intent: "Kane, we are told, loved only his mother-only his newspaper-only his second wife-only himself. Maybe he loved all of these, or none. It is for the audience to judge....He is never judged with the objectivity of an author, and the point of the picture is not so much the solution of the problem as its presentation."
       In an interview, Welles stated that Gregg Toland, who won the Academy Award in 1940 for his work on Wuthering Heights, asked to work with him. Toland, in a Popular Photography article, stated that with the backing of Welles, who had a reputation for experimentation in the theater, he "was able to test and prove several ideas generally accepted as being radical in Hollywood circles." In an article in American Cinematographer, Toland explained the rationale and technique of the "radical departures from conventional practice" that he and Welles devised for Citizen Kane. They felt "that if it was possible, the picture should be brought to the screen in such a way that the audience would feel it was looking at reality, rather than merely at a movie." They rejected direct cuts, wherever possible, favoring instead "to plan action so that the camera could pan or dolly from one angle to another" or to pre-plan "our angles and compositions so that action which ordinarily would be shown in direct cuts would be shown in a single, longer scene-often one in which important action might take place simultaneously in widely separated points in extreme foreground and background."
       Because of the film's huge, deep sets, twin-arc broadsides, which were developed for Technicolor film, were used for lighting. With increased illumination, use of the new super speed emulsion Super XX, as well as wide-angle lenses coated with the recently developed Vard "Opticoat" non-glare coating, and stopping down, became possible. Toland relates, "we photographed nearly all of our interior scenes at apertures not greater than f:8-and often smaller." At that time, most Hollywood films were shot with apertures between f:2.3 and f:3.2. Use of the 24mm lens was virtually unheard of, according to a 1947 New York Times article, because of "the cruelty with which it exposes facial flaws in actors and actresses. Orson Welles employed it extensively in his notable Citizen Kane in 1940, but since then it has been largely relegated to the documentary field." Toland, through experimentation, was able to get sharp focus in even the larger sets, which extended the length of two stages at the RKO-Pathé studio, a distance of 200 feet. For purposes of realism, Welles and Toland ordered that ceilings be built for the majority of their sets and planned "unusually low camera-setups, so that we could shoot upward and take advantage of the more realistic effects of those ceilings." Another advantage of the ceilings, which were made of acoustically pourous muslin, was that microphones could be placed above them to avoid problems with shadows. In a Theatre Arts article, Toland noted that they spent four days perfecting the scene in which Mrs. Kane signs Thatcher's papers while young Charles plays with his sled in the snow.
       Citizen Kane was the first film to be printed on a newly developed fine grain positive, which, according to Hollywood Reporter, "improves the fidelity of both sound recording and re-recording through removal of fine particles of silver nitrate that formerly dotted all positive prints." Toland insisted on using the new fine grain release positive, and according to RKO memos, RKO president George J. Schaefer agreed to change the lab for the film to Consolidated from De Luxe, which could not do the job because the new stock required about twenty times the normal intensity of printing lighting. In recognition of Toland's contributions to the picture, Welles signed a waiver with the Screen Directors' Guild in February 1941, authorizing his own credit card to include Toland's photography credit.
       Photographic makeup and wardrobe tests for the production, which was then called "Orson Welles #3," began on April 16, 1940, with Russell Metty as cameraman. Metty also shot tests on 26 April and 1 May, showing Welles at varying ages. According to Los Angeles Times, the film was announced in May at RKO's annual convention in New York and at that time was called John Citizen, U.S.A. This title is not included in an RKO list of working titles, however. Toland is first credited for tests shot on June 14, 1940. On June 19, 1940, a test was shot with Welles, Joseph Cotten and Evelyn Meyers, in the role of "Susan." Production records for June 24, 1940 indicate that Ruth Warrick also tested for the role of "Susan"; because no other source, contemporary or modern, including Warrick's autobiography, mentions that she was under consideration for the role, this May have been an erroneous entry. Dorothy Comingore, then called Linda Winters, the name she used in a number of films in the 1930s, made her first test on July 1, 1940 with Welles, William Alland and Terry Belmont, who was not in the final film.
       On June 29, 1940, the projection room scene in which "News on the March" is shown, was shot. It is listed in the RKO production records as a test, as were scenes shot on the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 22th, 23rd, 24th and 25th of July 1940. Scenes shot during this period that were kept in the final film include Thompson's first meeting with Susan; Kane's discovery of Susan's suicide attempt; Kane slapping Susan in the tent in the Everglades; Kane speaking from a flag-draped platform; Kane being interviewed on the boat deck; Susan confronting Kane in their Chicago hotel room; Susan's singing lesson with Signor Matiste; Kane shaking hands with Chamberlain; and Kane standing with Hitler and Goering. In later interviews, Welles explained that he shot these scenes under the guise of tests, so that once begun, the RKO front office, with whom he had been having difficulties, would find it hard to stop the film.
       Welles entertained the press at a party on August 1, 1940 with footage from the White House wedding party scene. The press speculated on the film's subject matter, which Welles purposely kept secret. Although New York Times reported the official version-that the film "covers the last sixty years of the American scene" and that Welles's role was that of a "robber baron industrialist"-Hollywood Reporter, on July 29, 1940, stated, "despite denials from the Orson Welles contingent, insiders insist Little Orson Annie's flicker is based on the life of a well-known publisher. Treatment of the personality is sympathetic throughout."
       Principal shooting continued until October 23, 1940, with two halts due to illnesses of Toland and Welles. On August 10, 1940, during the scene in which Kane yells at Boss Jim Gettys on the steps of Susan's second apartment, Welles fell about ten feet and suffered a chipped ankle. For two weeks, he shot around himself and directed from a wheelchair. On days when Welles filmed scenes requiring a lot of makeup, he would report to work before dawn and hold conferences as makeup artist Maurice Seiderman worked on his face. On 30 Aug, the company worked through the night on a rewritten scene depicting Leland confronting Kane after Kane loses the election. Welles reworked scenes as he shot and often gave extras lines to speak that were not in the script. Considerable time was spent after October 30, 1940 with inserts, added scenes, special effects, retakes and a trailer. Beginning 20 Nov, Harry Wild took over as cameraman, shooting the trailer and some scenes in the newsreel, including the Union Square speaker and the Spanish generals with Kane. The final shot, of Alland in front of the hospital before his interview with Leland, was taken on January 4, 1941 by cameraman Russ Cully, who also photographed one day in December 1940.
       On July 15, 1940, Joseph I. Breen, director of the Production Code Administration, pointed out in a letter to RKO that one scene in the script was in violation of the Code because of its setting in a brothel. Despite the warning, Welles filmed the scene, which occurs after the party at The Inquirer office celebrating the acquisition of The Chronicle staff. The scene includes actresses Joan Blair and Frances Neal, playing "Georgie," the madam, and "Ethel," a prostitute whom Georgie introduces to Leland, respectively. This scene was not in the final film. Joan Blair does appear as one of the dancers in the party scene, however. Another scene was cut: in The Inquirer's composing room, during the night before Kane's first paper is to hit the streets, editor Carter resigns, and Kane commands the composing room foreman Smathers to remake the pages five minutes before they are to go to press. When Smathers objects, Kane shoves the forms of type onto the floor and tells him that after proofs are pulled, he will check the pages again and "then, if I can't find any way to improve them again-I suppose we'll have to go to press." Smathers was played by Benny Rubin, who was originally listed in the credit titles. On January 21, 1941, after his scene was cut, a memo was sent from Richard Baer (Welles's assistant, who, under the name Richard Barr, later became a well-known theatrical producer and director) to Douglas Travers stating Rubin's credit must be eliminated. According to production reports, Ed Hemmer was also in the cut scene.
       Edgar Barrier was originally considered for the roles of Rawlston and Raymond. Glenn Turnbull and Carl Thomas, hired as a song-and-dance team for The Inquirer party sequence, participated in rehearsals but not in filming. Albert Frazier is listed in production files as a man in a gorilla suit for Xanadu zoo scenes, but no gorilla character appears in the completed picture. Joe Recht's voice was used in re-recording. Pat O'Malley's listing in the December 1940 Players Directory Bulletin includes Citizen Kane in his credits, but no confirming evidence concerning his participation has been located. Earl Seaman was scheduled to play a stagehand, but was not listed in the production reports.
       The scene in which cars drive along a beach on the way to the Everglades picnic was actually shot at Point Mugu, CA, and some shots of the exterior of Xanadu in the "News on the March" sequence were taken at Balboa Park in San Diego, and at Busch Gardens in Florida, according to RKO Production Records. Stock footage for the film was obtained from Pathé News, including segments entitled "Red Party, Strikes, Etc.," "Graveyard of Ships," "Fang and Claw" and "White Wings," and from General Film Library, Inc., including segments entitled "San Francisco Earthquake" and "Spanish American War." Notes dated April 18, 1940 on suggested shots to be included in the newsreel sequence state that the Congressional Investigating Committee scene would be a reproduction of an existing J. P. Morgan newsreel.
       Citizen Kane marked the screen debut of many actors, including Cotten, Warrick, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane and Paul Stewart, all of whom had worked with Welles in theater productions or radio broadcasts. According to RKO records, Sloane was paid $2,400 "in consideration for shaving his head." Citizen Kane was also the first film for composer Bernard Herrmann, who had worked with Welles on the radio. Although Van Nest Polglase got screen credit as art director, it was the practice at RKO for Polglase, head of the department, to get credit on all RKO films, no matter what his contribution. According to Welles, Perry Ferguson designed all the sets, which numbered over 110. Welles, in trade paper ads the day of the film's Hollywood premiere, gave thanks "to everybody who gets screen credit for Citizen Kane and thanks to those who don't: to all the actors, the crew, the office, the musicians, everybody, and particularly to Maurice Seiderman, the best makeup man in the world." According to a memo dated November 5, 1940, Welles wanted to give screen credit to Seiderman, who later worked with him on Touch of Evil. RKO officials were reluctant to give screen credit for makeup and perhaps establish a precedent, and pointed out that giving credit to Seiderman, an apprentice, "might jeopardize his personal situation with the Union," according to a November 23, 1940 memo. Welles continued to insist that Seiderman's name be included in the credits, until January 13, 1941, when a memo issued by Welles through Richard Baer dictated that makeup credits be eliminated. Welles also decided to remove credit for set decorations. Although Hugh McDowell was the soundman from 22 July through 3 Sep, he also did not receive screen credit.
       In an article written for New York Times in May 1941, Herrmann revealed that Welles allowed him twelve weeks to write the score, a much longer time than was usually alloted to the composer. Herrmann was thus able to "work out a general artistic plan" and "to do my own orchestration and conducting." Instead of writing the music after the film was completely shot, the practice with most Hollywood films, Herrmann was able to work as the film progressed, allowing for many sequences to be "tailored to match the music," particularly the montages, for which he wrote complete musical numbers. Herrmann composed two main motifs: "One-a simple four-note figure in the brass-is that of Kane's power....The second motif is that of Rosebud. Heard as a solo on the vibraphone, it first appears during the death scene at the very beginning of the picture. It is heard again and again throughout the film under various guises, and if followed closely, is a clue to the ultimate identity of Rosebud itself." Herrmann commented that he used "radio scoring," musical cues lasting only a few seconds, a great deal, that "most of the cues were orchestrated for unorthodox instrumental combinations" and that sound effects were blended with music to intensify scenes. The music included in the "News on the March" segment, Herrmann noted, was taken from the RKO files.
       Work was completed by January 18, 1941, and a complete print was ready for screening. The film, as of 21 Jan, was 11,041 feet, or approximately 123 minutes, according to a report from editor Robert Wise. Subsequently, the film was cut to 10,734 feet, or 119 minutes. According to an RKO cost sheet dated March 28, 1942, the final cost of the film was $839,727. Before production, the budget was estimated at $723,800. The film was scheduled to have its premiere on February 14, 1941 at Radio City Music Hall, but complications set in after a screening given on January 9, 1941 for Louella Parsons, motion picture editor of the Hearst papers. According to Daily Variety, Parsons insisted on a screening after an article about the film appeared in Friday, in which Welles ridiculed her for previously praising him and stated, "Wait until the woman finds out that the picture is about her boss." Friday subsequently allowed Welles space to deny that he ever spoke the quote, but meanwhile, Hearst editors were ordered to keep publicity, advertisements and reviews of all RKO films out of their newspapers. Parsons threatened RKO president George J. Schaefer that Hearst would bring a great deal of pressure on the motion picture industry if the film were released. According to New York Times, Louis B. Mayer of M-G-M and Harry M. Warner of Warner Bros. were then contacted, and Hearst representatives began investigating the "alien" situation in Hollywood, "something about which the industry is most sensitive." Adela Rogers St. John, a Hearst columnist, began gathering information for a story on Welles's romantic adventures, and a Congressional investigation of Hollywood was hinted at by Senator Burton K. Wheeler.
       In a statement printed in New York Times in January 1941, Welles contended that the film "is not based upon the life of Mr. Hearst or anyone else. On the other hand, had Mr. Hearst and similar financial barons not lived during the period we discuss, Citizen Kane could not have been made." In the previously quoted statement on the intent of the film, found in the RKO story files at UCLA, Welles noted that in order to show the many divergent opinions concerning one individual, he decided that his character should be "an extremely public man." He considered using a fictitious president, but "deciding against this, I could find no other position in public life beside that of a newspaper publisher in which a man of enormous wealth exercises what might be called real power in a democracy....The history of the newspaper business obviously demanded that Kane be what is generally referred to as a yellow journalist." Welles wrote that once he chose his subject, "it was impossible for me to ignore American history....My picture could not begin the career of such a man in 1890 and take it to 1940 without presenting the man with the same problems which presented themselves to his equivalents in real life."
       In the foreword to a memoir by Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, Welles notes that everything in Citizen Kane was invented except for the telegram Kane orders to be sent to his reporter in Cuba ("You provide the prose poems, I'll provide the war"), which was based on the well-known wire Hearst sent to illustrator Frederick Remington ("You make the pictures, I'll make the war") and Kane's "crazy art collection." While acknowledging parallels, Welles points out that Hearst was born rich and was the "pampered son of an adoring mother," whereas Kane was born poor and reared by a bank. Welles states, "It was a real man who built an opera house for the soprano of his choice, and much in the movie was borrowed from that story, but the man was not Hearst." Others have speculated that Kane is not so much a portrayal of Hearst as a composite of a number of powerful men of the time, including Samuel Insull, Joseph Pulitzer, Charles A. Dana, Joseph Medill Patterson, James Gordon Bennett II, Frank A. Munsey, Harold Fowler McCormick and Colonel Robert McCormick. Indeed, on November 8, 1940, photographs of a number of famous publishers including Hearst, Pulitzer, McCormick, Patterson, Lord Northcliffe, Lord Beaverbrook, Bonfils and Sommes were ordered for the film to be reproduced for the "News on the March" sequence. Welles contended that Susan Alexander "bears no resemblance at all" to Marion Davies, whom he calls "one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen."
       Some modern sources claim that Hearst's pet name for Marion Davies' genitalia was "Rosebud" and that Hearst threatened to expose details of the sexual lives of personages in Hollywood if the film were released. According to Hollywood Reporter, Hearst saw the film's script in September 1940 and "shot it back without a word." As Kane's dying word "Rosebud" was in the script at that time, it is unclear why, if the story about "Rosebud" was true, he took no action until the film was completed. (In March 1941, in Welles's New York production of Native Son, a child's sled bearing the name "Rosebud" was used as a prop, according to Hollywood Reporter.)
       According to an March 8, 1941 memo, Schaefer wanted a clearance title attached to the film. Two possible clearance titles suggested on April 3, 1941 were: "This is not the story of any man, be he living or dead. Kane, and all other characters involved in this picture are wholly imaginary" and "Citizen Kane is not the story of the life of any man. It is the story of the forces that move in the lives of many great men, as seen through the eyes of lesser men." According to a modern source, Welles objected and wrote his own clearance title, which was added to the film and later deleted. It read, "Citizen Kane is an examination of the personal character of a public man, a portrait according to the testimony of the intimates of his life. These, and Kane himself, are wholly fictitious."
       According to Daily Variety, the Hearst ban on mentioning or advertising RKO product ended on January 30, 1941 for all RKO films except Citizen Kane. Hearst's forces tried a number of tactics to stop its release, including, according to Daily Variety, stirring up the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other patriotic groups; sending photographers to get "personal" pictures of Welles while he was at Palm Springs; and persistently inquiring at the draft board as to the reason Welles was not drafted. Welles, in a later interview, stated that he was warned one evening by a policeman not to return to his hotel room because an underaged, undressed girl and photographers had been sent there as a setup, a situation that could have resulted in a jail sentence. In April 1941, after a radio broadcast of His Honor, the Mayor, written and narrated by Welles, the Hearst papers launched an attack on "The Free Company" series, of which the broadcast was a part, and on Welles himself, whom they labeled Communistic and un-American. Welles replied in a statement to newspapers that the attack was unfounded and based solely on Hearst's displeasure with Citizen Kane.
       In February 1941, Daily Variety reported that a rift had occurred in RKO's board regarding whether the film should be released, and that Welles, who had 25% interest in the film, privately threatened to take legal steps if the release was delayed. After Radio City Music Hall declined to premiere the film, Hollywood Reporter reported a rumor that Henry Luce, publisher of Time, offered one million dollars for the negative, intending to release it. Modern sources cite rumors that Louis B. Mayer, worried about Hearst's threats against the industry, tried to buy the negative from RKO in order to destroy it. By March 1941, after a number of special screenings, Hollywood Reporter reported that "the guess of 98 percent of those who have seen the picture is that it will never be released-can't be released other than under a threat of suits that Mr. W. R. Hearst will level against any theatre showing the film." On 11 Mar, Welles threatened to sue RKO for breach of contract and to attempt to obtain a court order to guarantee the picture's release if he did not receive proof within twenty-four hours that RKO would give the film an early release. Welles himself offered to buy the film, but RKO, after a preview to the trade press in Hollywood and New York on 9 Apr, scheduled the world premiere at the Palace Theatre in New York on 1 May. Subsequently, the film had its Hollywood premiere at the El Capitan on 8 May 1941.
       Critics exuberantly praised the film. Hollywood Reporter called it "a great motion picture." Bosley Crowther of New York Times wrote, "Citizen Kane is far and away the most surprising and cinematically exciting motion picture to be seen here in many a moon. As a matter of fact, it comes close to being the most sensational film ever made in Hollywood." Film Daily stated, "In Citizen Kane, the cinema assures anew that its romper days are over and that it has attained man's estate." They noted the "somewhat similar experiment with 'narratage' 'way back in 1933," a reference to The Power and the Glory (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.3506), which, like Citizen Kane told its story in segments that jumped back and forth in time, and predicted Citizen Kane would have a more definite and lasting influence than that film had on the art and technique of cinema. John O'Hara, writing in Newsweek, commented that Citizen Kane was "the best picture he ever saw" and that Welles's performance as Kane made him "the best actor in the history of acting."
       Although the film did well initially at the box office, it did not make back its cost. The film was selected as the best picture of 1941 by the New York critics and by Look magazine, and was cited as one of the ten best by a Film Daily poll of exhibitors and the National Board of Review. Mankiewicz and Welles won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the film was nominated for Academy Awards in eight other categories: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor (Welles); Art Direction (black and white); Cinematography (black and white); Film Editing; Music; and Sound Recording. Four of the actors in the film, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Ruth Warrick and Ray Collins, received contracts from RKO. The film was re-released on May 25, 1956, and was selected as one of the twelve best films of all time in September 1958 by a Brussels poll of 117 film historians from 26 countries. Subsequently, Citizen Kane was chosen as the best film in motion picture history in 1962, 1972 and 1982 by Sight & Sound polls of international critics. In January 1989, Turner Entertainment Co. announced it was beginning preliminary tests to colorize the film, but after reviewing the contract between RKO, Welles and Mercury Productions, Turner announced in February 1989 that they would discontinue the tests and would not colorize the picture because of Welles's "almost total creative control," including the final cut, that was written into the contract. Turner subsequently re-released the film theatrically on May 1, 1991. In 2007, Citizen Kane was ranked 1st on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies-10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, remaining in the first position it occupied on AFI's 1997 list.
       Modern sources list the following additional credits: Asst art dir Hilyard Brown; Sketch artist Charles Ohmann; Sketches and graphics Al Abbott, Claude Gillingwater, Jr., Albert Pyke and Maurice Zuberano; Matte artist Mario Larrinaga; Boom operator Jimmy Thompson; Sd eff ed T. K. Wood; Sd eng for sd eff Harry Essman; and Music Editor Ralph Bekher.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States August 1991

Released in United States June 2000

Released in United States on Video August 22, 1991

Released in United States Winter January 8, 1941

Re-released in United States May 1, 1991

Re-released in United States November 13, 1998

Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (out of competition) August 7-16, 1991.

Shown at Newport International Film Festival (Closing Night) June 6-11, 2000.

Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.

Feature directorial debut for Orson Welles.

The 1998 re-release of "Citizen Kane" is distributed by Warner Bros.

Alan Ladd has a bit part as one of the reporters.

Selected in 1989 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Selected in 1998 as one of the AFI's list of 100 Greatest American Films of the century.

The lead character in "Citizen Kane," Charles Foster Kane is believed to be a thinly diguised version of the powerful publisher William Randolph Hearst.

The negatives were burned in a 1961 film vault fire; the 1991 re-release prints were struck from a 1950 fine-grain print.

Re-released in Paris April 25, 1990.

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Released in United States Winter January 8, 1941

Re-released in United States May 1, 1991 (New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Washington, DC and Palo Alto)

Released in United States June 2000 (Shown at Newport International Film Festival (Closing Night) June 6-11, 2000.)

Released in United States August 1991 (Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (out of competition) August 7-16, 1991.)

Released in United States August 1991 (Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.)

Released in United States on Video August 22, 1991

Re-released in United States November 13, 1998 (UA Union Square Theatre; New York City)

Re-released in Zurich August 9, 1991.