Lighting of Citizen Kane

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Lighting and Darkness of Citizen Kane
Directed by Orson Welles and released in 1941 by RKO, "Citizen Kane", is considered by mane film critics to be one of the greatest examples of film ever made. Many critics believe the acting is one of the major reasons for the film's greatness. Due to Orson Welles background in radio and live theater, others believe the music and sound effects are what truly make this film great. Orson Welles and Greg Toland, the cinematographer, both were considered to be revolutionaries in their time. Always trying to stretch their respective fields and experiment whenever possible, both kept pushing the envelope in order to see just how far they could go. With Welles and Toland now paired together, the possibilities were endless. Citizen Kane's use of deep focus, "permitting all distance planes to remain clearly in focus," (Gianetti, 551) was something new and different for the moviegoers of 1941. Toland and Welles' use of extreme angle shots with the camera express and promote the symbolism that lay beneath the story. While not immediately noticeable, special effects were used extensively throughout the film to add emphasis and add a touch of reality in an otherwise unnatural setting. Whether is be shots of Xanadu itself, or the use of makeup to transform Orson Welles from a young man in his mid twenties to a man in his mid seventies, the special effects of Citizen Kane were unsurpassed for many years. When added together, the final product is magnificent and truly a great film. Welles and Toland deserve much credit for putting together such an extraordinary film that is still as impressive today as in 1941.

Gregg Toland is widely regarded as the most innovative cinematographer of his time. He let all of his skills, daring, and imagination flow freely while filming and lighting Citizen Kane. The lighting is what separates Citizen Kane from the other great films. Toland employs the use of shadows and light to represent...
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