Monday, November 12, 2007

Sources and Influences

Orson Welles was influenced by William Randolph Hearst's real life.

William Randolph Hearst was born on April 29, 1863, in San Francisco, California. Son of a multimillionaire miner and rancher. In 1887, he became "Proprietor" of the San Francisco Examiner. Also, he turned the newspaper into a combination between reformist investigative reporting and lurid sensationalism. He employed the best journalists of the time.

In the 1920s William built a huge castle on a ranch at San Simeon, California, where all celebrities gathered.

Hearst died in Beverly Hills, California, on August 14th, 1951.

A Titan's fight
It was a huge clash. William Randolph Hearst, the multimillonaire of San Simeon, and Orson Welles, the ambitious young man, who set out the fight.
At a preview screening of the movie the leading gossip columnist of the day hated the movie, calling it "a vicious and irresponsible attack on a great man." Citizen Kane was considered as a cruel representation of the magnate's newspaper. When Hearst heard about the film, in order to protect his reputation, he shutted the film down, and tried to buy Citizen Kane so as to burn the negative; the confrontation over Orson Welles.

Orson Welles's Biography

Orson Welles was born in 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His father, Richard Head Welles, was an inventor and his mother, Beatrice Ives, was a beautiful concert pianist.

Orson Welles as a child was good at piano, magic, and painting; all these arts were taught by his mother. When his parents died he became the war of Chicago Physician Dr. Maurice Bernstain. He went to Ireland where he studied acting with Doublin's famous gate theather (1931). He returned to The United States in 1932 and made his Brodway debut as "Tybalt" in "Romeo and Juliet". In 1934 he got married to Verginia Nicholson, an actress and a socialitè woman. They only had one son, Christopher; better known as Chris Welles Feder.

In 1938 Orson Welles begun producing plays on the Mercury Theather, which soon became very popular. After that, Orson Welles made "Citizen Kane". Even though now it is recognized as one of the most important movies of the cinema, at that time it wasn't. After that fail, Welles was recognized as an erratic film-maker who couldn't do succesful movies. After that, he traveled to Europe where he continued acting to earn money to finance his own productions.

He returned to the United States in 1970 when he was recognized as one of the most important genious of American Films.

He died on October 10th, 1985. In Hollywood, California, United States (Hard attack).

Auteur (Author) Theory

The Auteur Theory appeared in the 50-60's to the 80's.

The Auteur Theory means that every director has his own style.
In "Citizen Kane" we can identify Orson Welles's style through the darkness and misterious images. He tries to show in his movies the background of the time period, the inhumane and darkest side of people; just like in Citizen Kane, 1941; World War II. Repression, depresion, sadness, and supicion of everyone; the mood behind the movie.

"Camera Pen" (1948); this means that the author writes the story with the camera. The director has the same work as the writer, but the director writes through his pen; the camera.

Every director is in charge of the Mise-en-scene because that is the way the director sees reality; is the way the director thinks about his movie and what is behind it (time period).

Most important movies

1. The Third Man

2. The Magnificent Ambersons

3. Citizen Kane


Awards and nominations

Academy Awards
1942: Best Picture — Citizen Kane (nominated)
1942: Best Director — Citizen Kane (nominated)
1942: Best Actor in a Leading Role — Citizen Kane (nominated)
1942: Writing, Original Screenplay — Citizen Kane (won)
1943: Best Picture — The Magnificent Ambersons (nominated)
1971: Honorary Award

BAFTA Awards
1968: Best Foreign Actor in a Leading Role — Chimes at Midnight (nominated)

Cannes Film Festival
1952: Palme d'Or — Othello

Golden Globe Awards
1982: Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture — Butterfly (nominated)

Venice Film Festival
1947: Golden Lion — The Stranger (nominated)
1970: Career Golden Lion

Grammy Awards
1982: Best Spoken Word Recording — Donovan's Brain (won)

AFI Life Achievement Award
1975 (won)


The most remarkable and noticeable elements of language of film that we could find in the movie were:

1. Mise-en-scene

- Settings: Most of this story was set in the "Incuirer news paper" and the mansion that Kane shared with his wife. The mansion was decorated with many status and expensive furnitures.
- Acting: There were only actors and actresses
- Costumes: The costumes of the characters were typical for that time, they represented high class society.
- Lighting: At the beginning of the movie we could see darkness and foggie scenes that represented kane's death and the time period behind the movie.
- Make-up: The make-up of the characters was used in order to show the age of each characters.
- Print: In the movie there were two types of print; diagetic (we could see this type of print when kane and his first wife were havind breakfast, they were riding the newspaper) and non-diagetic (we could see this at the beginning of the movie when kane's death was announced in the news).
2. Sound:
- Music: Mistery kind of music during the whole movie, in order to show the tension of the plot.
- Dialogue: The dialogue between the characters was too fast and loud.
- Narrator: The kind of narrator was "off voice"; we couldn't see the narrator when he talked about what was happening.
3. Editing:
- Cut: The dissolved cuts were used a lot to go from one scene to the other. Also jump-cut was used because the scenes were not in a chronological order.
- Time: Racconto was used every time when the characters remebered their lives when kane was alive.
4. Cinematography:
- Camera angle: At the beginning of the movie an aerial shot was used to show kane's mansion but most of the time straight angle was used.
- Camera distance: Extreme long shot (ELS) was used when kane was canvasing. Most of the time medium shots were used. There were a few close ups that showed Kane's second wife singing.
- Camera movements: Panning was used all the time. The camera moves only from one side to the other.
- Framing: The actors and actresses act frame in, this is to say; in the screen.

Orson Welles and Film Noir

Film noir is a style of black and white film that became prominent in the post war era and lasted until about 1960. Film noir has its roots in German Expressionist cinematography, but was imported to Hollywood by emigrant film makers. This type of film was noted for their stark movements and camera angles, chiaroscuro, and contrasted images. The themes that film noir used, reflected the mood of the society. Bleakness, loss of innocence, melancholy, despair, fear, and mistrust was evident in Noir.
Orson Welles used Noir features in his movie “Citizen Kane”, not only because the movie was black and white, but also because it showed the inhumane and dark side of human nature of the main character.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Charles Foster Kane - Played by Orson Welles: he is the main character of the movie. He was a wealthy newspaper publisher. In his childhood his parents received a big fortune and sent him to another city to be raised by a banker. As a result for being separated from his parents, he became arrogant and insensible. Finally, because of his attitude he loses his friends, newspaper, and fortune.

Jedediah Leland - Played by Joseph Cotton: Kane’s college friend. Leland admires Kane while working in the newspaper. Soon he will notice that Kane is becoming more unscrupulous, so that he will ask for a transfer to Chicago to escape from Kane.

Susan Alexander Kane - Played by Dorothy Comingore. Kane’s lover. At first she seems so sweet with, but after she marries Kane, she became whiny and demanding and wants to take control of Kane’s life.

Mary Kane - Played by Agnes Moorehead. Kane’s mother. After coming into a fortune she sends her son far away from home to be raised by a banker. During the movie Mary can’t not be seen enough to judge her for leaving her son.

Mr. Bernstein - Played by Everett Sloane. Kane’s friend and employee. He is a Jewish man, who loves Kane unconditionally. Mr. Bernstein wants Kane to be happy, and is the only one who understands his attitude.

Walter Thatcher - Played by George Coulouris. He is the banker who raised Kane.
Even though Thatcher gave Kane everything he wanted during his childhood, Kane never forgives him for taking him away from home.

Emily Monroe Norton Kane - Played by Ruth Warrick. Kane’s first wife. Kane marries her because of her connections to the presidency. At first they seem to love each other, but later She can’t stand living with someone who cheats her. Few years later she died in a car accident along with their only child, a son.

Jim Kane - Played by Harry Shannon. Kane’s father. He is the opposite of Kane’s mother. He vacillates between wanting to raise his son by their own or sending him away from home.

Jerry Thompson - Played by William Alland. He is the reporter in charge of finding out the last word that Kane said before dying. Thompson is seen in few scenes during the movie.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Orson Welles

Why the best movie?

Citizen Kane movie (1941) has been considerated one of the most important movies during the Black and White era in history. The success of this masterpiece was because of the way that this movie was filmed.

The narrative techniques and the experimental innovation that were used at that time, have kept this movie as one of the best of all times.
Even though this movie received an unanimous critical praise for its plot and technical stunt, it had to face many problems; the audio, the quality, and the image have been repaired many times, however, it hadn’t been able to get a perfect restoration.

This movie technically used every resource that had been discovered at that time, not only was used chiaroscuro pictures, lighting, music, scenery, and the use of the camera movements, but also the view of the author, an omniscient narrator who wants to narrates the story in his own way.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

About the movie

This film is about a rich man called Charles Foster Kane who dies alone in his extravagant mansion saying one word: "Rosebud". In order to discover its meaning a reporter interviews a few people that knew Kane's life. The memories that they recall are the plot of this film.

"Citizen Kane" is considered the greatest film of Holywood.