Books and Movies Reviews

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is considered a great American movie. It is from 1940, but people could not view it without controversy till 1950. It is typical of American films because it is in English, and its production refers to American culture. "The film industry of the 1930's thrived on a felicitous circle of economic dependence on attendance, exhibition, and production." (226). The movie is pointed at William Randolph Hearst and the printing industry. When Hearst learned through gossip of Orson Welles’ film, he set out to protect his reputation by shutting the film down. Hollywood executives rallied around Hearst, attempting to buy the film in order to burn the negative. At the same time, Hearst’s defenders moved to intimidate exhibitors into refusing to show the movie. Threats of blackmail, smears in the newspapers, and FBI investigations were used in the effort. Hearst’s movement was successful. It would be nearly a quarter of a century before Citizen Kane was revitalized – before Wel!
les would gain acknowledgment for having created one of cinema’s great masterpieces.
Arthur Knight said, “Less by imitation than by inspiration, Citizen Kane has altered the look not only of American films, but of films the world over.” "Formulas for story construction, characterization, casting, décor, music, and photography dominated Hollywood's films. A key principle in the selection of story material was- and remains-simply that an idea that had worked before would probably work again." (228).Films were not seen special, individual conceptions but tended to bunch together as types, in cycles. Citizen Kane broke that tradition. The unique techniques, structure, and parallelism in plot change the way movies have been made in previous times. It was confusing and shocking to its audience. Every aspect of the production marked an advance in film language: the deep-focus, deeply shadowed cinematography; the discontinuous …


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