Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Final Questions

Brad Williams
Elements of Film Final
                                                Final Questions

            Citizen Kane earns its widely lauded title of most influential film ever made for a multitude of reasons. The direct Orson Welles deserves incredible recognition for what he came in and managed to do so early in his career. It is a genuine rarity to have such a gift for viewing the complete picture that is required to make a film be more then special. However what truly made this film stand out was time period it was released in. The techniques he employed to make the film stand out as unique dramatically renovated the film industry. By using a deep focus to film every scene, everything stayed focused in every shot. This had not yet been done in any movie to date and provided a new, surreal view of the complexities of Mr. Kane.
            Another critical aspect that made the movie so influential was the compelling soundtrack. The industry had not made the emotional connection between scores and character development and it added an incredible feel to the layers within the movie. The amount of inventive filmmaking that Orson Welles piped into the industry is more then enough to justify Citizen Kane being recognized as the most influential film in history. It paved the way for further innovation that has led to some amazingly creative ideas being passed to later generations of filmmakers.


            Orson Welles was a rare breed of filmmaker. From the very beginning of his career he had uncanny talent that was seemingly channeled precisely into the purpose of directing plays and films. However this uncanny ability often put him at odds with the movie industry, making his films few and far between. Much of his talent had to do with both a natural inclination towards the arts and his parents being accomplished in many fields of performing arts. By growing up in a place where his true potential was being tapped from a very young age, Welles compiled an impressive list of achievements in a very short amount of time. Beginning with theatre, he quickly rose as both an accomplished director and actor. By age 20 Orson Welles was widely considered a prodigy because of the incredible success his take on Macbeth was met with.
            From 1936 – 1938 he poured himself into making his next few plays work in the face of Federal cuts on spending. However, what he did in 1928 really cemented his name in the public’s mind. On radio that year, Orson Welles performed an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. This brought Welles instant fame that resulted in putting his name on film studio’s maps. He received many offers, but his independent nature caused him to resist for some time before taking on Citizen Kane. His impressive resume and compelling nature enabled him to garner complete creative rights over the film. While such a feat is nearly unheard of, the inventive work he had already performed on radio and in plays made the risk worth the reward. Unfortunately his need for complete creative control also resulted in complications with the film industry. His problems with the industry resulted in just a few films being made by Welles. His demands were just too much for a studio to leave to chance in that time period.

            The opening scene of Citizen Kane is by far the most interesting introduction that I have ever seen. The way it slowly built up to the castle from very far away was like a slow, calculated introduction to a mysterious man. The way it came up to the sign on that fence post really set the tone for the type of movie that we were about to see. It provided a glimpse at just how visual the film would be when we got to see the deep focus throughout the entire shot. That was the scene I immediately thought about when I learned that Orson Welles shared his title card with the Visual director. I remember being captivated by the depth that was being displayed on screen and in collaboration with the suspenseful music; it really built a feeling of foreboding of what was to come.
            While surely there are arguments to be made for many of the great scenes in the movie, what is more impactful the opening one that sets the stage for the entire film. If I had any doubts that this would be a strong movie, those doubts were erased as I heard the slow build of music that created an environment that set the stage for every scene to come. The art direction in Citizen Kane was just on a whole new level. Every single shot had an important focus and drove home the feeling Orson Welles set out to show.

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