Citizen Kane Essay

Citizen Kane Essay-13
“Anyway, it wouldn't have explained anything.” True, it explains nothing, but it is remarkably satisfactory as a demonstration that nothing can be explained. It is one of the miracles of cinema that in 1941 a first-time director; a cynical, hard-drinking writer; an innovative cinematographer, and a group of New York stage and radio actors were given the keys to a studio and total control, and made a masterpiece. Orson Welles, the boy wonder of radio and stage, was given freedom by RKO Radio Pictures to make any picture he wished.

“Anyway, it wouldn't have explained anything.” True, it explains nothing, but it is remarkably satisfactory as a demonstration that nothing can be explained. It is one of the miracles of cinema that in 1941 a first-time director; a cynical, hard-drinking writer; an innovative cinematographer, and a group of New York stage and radio actors were given the keys to a studio and total control, and made a masterpiece. Orson Welles, the boy wonder of radio and stage, was given freedom by RKO Radio Pictures to make any picture he wished.

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Hearst was Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates rolled up into an enigma.

Arriving in Hollywood at age 25, Welles brought a subtle knowledge of sound and dialogue along with him; on his Mercury Theater of the Air, he'd experimented with audio styles more lithe and suggestive than those usually heard in the movies.

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The movie is filled with bravura visual moments: the towers of Xanadu; candidate Kane addressing a political rally; the doorway of his mistress dissolving into a front-page photo in a rival newspaper; the camera swooping down through a skylight toward the pathetic Susan in a nightclub; the many Kanes reflected through parallel mirrors; the boy playing in the snow in the background as his parents determine his future; the great shot as the camera rises straight up from Susan's opera debut to a stagehand holding his nose, and the subsequent shot of Kane, his face hidden in shadow, defiantly applauding in the silent hall.

Along with the personal story is the history of a period.We remember that this was Kane's childhood sled, taken from him as he was torn from his family and sent east to boarding school.Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain.Deep focus allows Welles to play a trick of perspective.Behind Kane on the wall is a window that seems to be of average size.The tycoon has overextended himself and is losing control of his empire.After he signs the papers of his surrender, he turns and walks into the back of the shot.There is the Kane who made shadow figures with his fingers, and the Kane who hated the traction trust; the Kane who chose his mistress over his marriage and political career, the Kane who entertained millions, the Kane who died alone.There is a master image in “Citizen Kane” you might easily miss.“All he really wanted out of life was love,” Leland says.“That's Charlie's story--how he lost it.” The structure of “Citizen Kane” is circular, adding more depth every time it passes over the life.

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