Books and Movies Reviews

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane was released in 1941 under the direction of Orson Welles, an American director originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin.Welles was a sensation of both the stage and radio when he was invited to bring his Mercury Theatre group to Hollywood to direct any movie he chose.He was 24 when he signed with RKO to direct Citizen Kane.Unlike directors such as Hitchcock and Chaplin whose reputations rest on a great number of films, critical respect for Welles rests primarily on Citizen Kane.It is widely considered to be the greatest sound film ever made.The film won the American Film Institute top 100 and the Sight and Sound top 10.Welles also directed such films as Macbeth (1948) and A Touch of Evil (1958), which could never reach the acclaim that Kane did.
Citizen Kane is the story of Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper publisher who gets caught up in the idea that whatever he doesn’t have he can buy.This is seen in the film as he tries to win over the love of the people as he runs for political office, and even when he tries to buy the love of his second wife when he builds her a theatre.
What makes Citizen Kane a great movie is the film’s technical brilliance.Welles uses a strange visual style that is primarily a triumph of the camerawork of Gregg Toland (cinematographer) and the mise-en-scène. The mise-en-scène is basically the use of
space within a frame.It includes placement of actors and props, the relationship of the camera to the space in front of it, camera movement, lighting, and the size of the screen frame (Kolker CD-ROM).Welles also uses long shots and deep focus shots, moving the actors and the camera from one composition to another within the same shot, instead of cutting from setup to setup (Mast and Kawin 267).An excellent example of the long and deep focus shot can be found in thefirst few scenes of the movie.In the boarding house scene, Kane is a


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