Citizen Kane is one of the most influential films ever made for many reasons. The film typifies the American dream in my opinion, it tells the story about a man who in life is supposed to pursue wealth and success, he is sent away by his mother when he is a child due to the social constructions of what she thinks is the right thing to do. From then Charles Kane goes on to pursue a prospering publishing newspaper which makes him a very wealthy man. Although he achieved the wealth that was expected of him, he is unhappy, he tries to fill the void of his existence by forcing others to love him through whatever means necessary. In the end his happiest moments when he was a child before he had been taken away, a time when things were simple. The film itself is deeply aesthetically enthralling. The narrative structure within the film is really surprising where it begins the film with the ending and restructures the story so the viewer learns about the story of Charles Kane and his ultimate demise. The use of using different characters lives and memories of Kane help to create a multifaceted view of who Charles Kane really was and helps the viewer to delve deeper into understanding his past. The cinematography within the film is really quite beautiful throughout. The use of overlapping of film over one another helped to create interplaying story lines melting into one another for the viewer. The use of low angle shots helped to create a foreboding sense within the scenes and helped the viewer view the entire set. After viewing Citizen Kane I agree that it is one of the most influential films ever made.
To me it is amazing to think about the fact that Orson Welles was so young when he began his filmmaking career. Welles first began his career when he inherited some money and went to Europe where he became a film star in Jew Suss as the duke. He tired of this and turned his attention to a writing project that would become the famous Everybody’s Shakespeare which brought him further acclaim. After this he directed a play for the Federal Theatre Project Negro Theater Unit where he remade Macbeth, calling it Voodoo Macbeth. It became enormously popular in Harlem and subsequently went on to tour the nation. Next he turned his attention to working within radio and made a radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells which brought Welles instant fame due to the nature of the story and his ability to make it seem a reality, which many thought a martian conquest was occurring in reality. This brought the attention of Hollywood who created an unprecedented contract giving Welles complete artistic control and through two failed movie proposals finally settled on Citizen Kane.
3. Pick an extended scene or sequence from Citizen Kane and discuss the storytelling technique by analyzing any combination of its component parts (direction, writing, performance, cinematography, production design, art direction, editing, sound, score, etc).
The extended scene from Citizen Kane I am going to be talking about in relation to its storytelling technique is the one when Kane gets married for the first time to Emily Monroe, from the storytelling perspective of Kane’s best friend, Jedediah Leland. The story is told in reminiscent style and the reality of the memory becomes activated by a dissolving of the present. Jedediah Leland comments before the memory becomes shown that Kane and Monroe’s marriage was, “a marriage just like any other marriage”. The scene then dissolves into Kane and Monroe in a lavish room at a gothic breakfast table eating. Kane and Monroe profess their undying love for one another. The scene continues with a fast forward still in front of the breakfast table but both Monroe and Kane’s clothing have changed and so has their demeanor for one another. This trend continues until it is the ultimate collapse of their relationship and marriage to one another, all in the span of a couple of minutes and using the same space. This scene is unique due to its simplistic nature of using the same set to tell the breakdown of their marriage. The viewer understands that their relationship changes and that time has gone by simply by changing their clothing and letting the actors personas toward one another change. The music within the scene changes from one ‘period’ of their relationship to the next. It begins as a broad reaching and relaxing use of strings to show tranquility and happiness which next transitions to a more fast paced but still happy and quickly escalates in tempo and speed until it reaches a climax of pace and then goes back to being slower but more slow and sad. The music is used to help show the changes in their relationship and add drama to the individual occurrences that occurred in the time.