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Citizen Kane

A Journalistic Presentation
at Friday Night Movies:

Citizen Kane

Friday the 19th of October
Pot luck supper @ 7pm
Movie @ 8pm

--Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles)



USA: 1941 -- Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
Starring Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead and Orson Welles

That's all he ever wanted out of life... was love. That's the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he just didn't have any to give.
--Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland

Arguably the greatest of American films, Orson Welles's 1941 masterpiece, made when he was only 26, still unfurls like a dream and carries the viewer along the mysterious currents of time and memory to reach a mature (if ambiguous) conclusion: people are the sum of their contradictions, and can't be known easily. Welles plays newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, taken from his mother as a boy and made the ward of a rich industrialist. The result is that every well-meaning or tyrannical or self-destructive move he makes for the rest of his life appears in some way to be a reaction to that deeply wounding event. Written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz, and photographed by Gregg Toland, the film is the sum of Welles's awesome ambitions as an artist in Hollywood. He pushes the limits of then-available technology to create a true magic show, a visual and aural feast that almost seems to be rising up from a viewer's subconsciousness. As Kane, Welles even ushers in the influence of Bertolt Brecht on film acting. This is truly a one-of-a-kind work, and in many ways is still the most modern of modern films from the 20th century. --Amazon.com essential video

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a ride on my Flexible Flyer.

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Ranked #1 on American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies list

Won Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiewicz & Orson Welles

Nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture; Best Director (Orson Welles); Best Actor in a Leading Role (Orson Welles); Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture (Bernard Herrmann); Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Film Editing; Best Sound, Recording

Won Best Picture by National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Currently Ranks #25 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

More awards

Memorable Quotes

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: I always gagged on the silver spoon.

Bernstein: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Switzerland... he was thrown out of a lot of colleges.

More quotes


Despite all the publicity, the film was a box office flop and was quickly consigned to the RKO vaults. At 1941's Academy Awards the film was booed every time one of its nine nominations was announced. It was only re-released for the public in the mid-1950s.

Xanadu's design is based on William Randolph Hearst's elaborate home in San Simeon and Mont St Michel in France.

The camera looks up at Charles Foster Kane and his best friend Jedediah Leland and down at weaker characters like Susan Alexander Kane. This was a technique that Orson Welles borrowed from John Ford who had used it two years previously on Stagecoach (1939). Welles privately watched Stagecoach (1939) about 40 times while making this film.

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."

More trivia


Revealing mistakes: When Kane hovers over Jed Leland's unconscious form after Susan's horrible opera debut, the paper in the typewriter had a thumb mark in exactly the same place where Kane will grab it out of the typewriter a few seconds afterwards. Evidently they shot this scene at least once before.

Revealing mistakes: During the picnic scene towards the end, Welles had to shoot against a back-projection because a location shoot was too costly and time-consuming. The stock footage used for the exterior was taken from King Kong (1933), hence on closer inspection the four birds that fly by are in fact very definite pterodactyls. RKO told Welles to take the pterodactyls out of the shot, but he liked them, and decided to keep them.

Plot holes: In the opening scene, where Charles Kane whispers "Rosebud", he is on his own in the room and the nurse enters a couple of seconds after he dies. Nobody could hear him whisper the word, so how do the news reporters know that "Rosebud" was the last word Charles Kane said before he died? The scene in which the reporter, Mr. Thompson, is interviewing Charles Kane's butler, the Butler says directly to the reporter that Mr. Kane had dropped the snow globe and said "Rosebud", but that Mr. Kane said nothing more after this and that the Butler knew then that he was dead. The plot hole actually lies in the fact that we do not see the butler in the scenes of Mr. Kane's death, only the nurse, who, indeed, appears after he says "Rosebud."

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