Books and Movies Reviews

Beauty of Sound (Citizne Kane)

In 1938, at the mere age of 23, Orson Welles’ radio adaptation and performance of H.G. Well’s classic science fiction thriller The War of the Worlds established him as a household name and a master of dramatic production.His previous experience, in both directing and acting, in theater had taught him the essentials of narrative story telling and his involvement in radio perfected his ability to use sound as a means of conveying message and emotion.For these reasons, hisfirst ever feature film, Citizen Kane, has a soundtrack that is so expressive and attuned to the story, it would not be difficult to comprehend the entire film without visual sensory whatsoever.
Even at a very young age people around the young Orson recognized his genius.Hisfirst stage appearance was at the age of 3.While the role probably did not require great acting skill, by the age of 16 he presented himself to the Gate Theatre in Dublin as a professional actor and he made his Broadway debut at 19 as Shakespeare’s Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet.In the next few years Welles established himself as a very competent figure in all aspects of stage production and even formed a repertory company with the director/producer John Houseman.The Mercury Players, as they were called, aired a weekly radio program with CBS for two years before Welles performed The War of the Worlds, as I said, the production which firmly established him as a household name and which greatly influenced RKO’s decision to offer him an unheard of contract for almost complete production control of six feature films.
This experience in radio played a major role in Welles’ development of Citizen Kane.Because he had a great deal of knowledge on how to express narration through sound, and almost none on how to do so on film, he used the soundtrack as an integral part of the storytelling device of the movie.Whereas most directors before Welles used sound as an indication for the a…

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