Books and Movies Reviews

Citizen Kane

Charles Foster Kane says at one point "Don't believe everything you hear on the radio,"
during the film Citizen Kane. These are ironic words, coming from the mouth of actor
Orson Welles, who, three years earlier, had broadcast a radio adaptation of H.G. Well's
The War of the Worlds that infamously led to a minor panic in the US, with several lis-
teners firmly believing that fiction had become reality and that Martians had landed on
Earth. Thankfully, no such creatures had arrived, enabling Welles to diversify into the
world of movies, and to once again blur the distinction between the real and unreal by
creating Citizen Kane, a work that would have an even greater impact than The War of
   A plot synopsis of the film is the story of one man's rise and fall in the media
world. Essentially, the film is a story about a single person's life, and yet it has tran-
scended this to become one of the most admired (by critics and the public alike) and
influential films of the 20th century. This it achieved through an ambitious and impres-
sive synthesis of technical innovation and stylistic and narrative originality. Despite
being Welles'first film, the production company, RKO Radio Pictures, gave him almost
total creative freedom. He later wrote "Like a painter's or a writer's, my work was my
own and nobody else's, to be respected as private property, not handed over for pro-
cessing on the assembly line. That freedom has never again been entrusted to me."[1]
He chose the Citizen Kane script by Herman J. Mankiewicz, beacause the script was
unusual for several reasons. Perhaps most noticeable was the narrative, which was not
only broken up with frequent flashbacks, but the flashbacks themselves were not in chronological order, and called upon the viewer to piece together the story. The dia-
logue was also noticeable for its real…

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