Orson Welles' Use of Long Shots

Topics: Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, RKO Pictures Pages: 2 (832 words) Published: April 16, 2013
Orson Welles, Hollywood’s boy genius, brought his innovative approach which has, as Andre Bazin states in Orson Welles: A Critical View: “shaken the edifices of cinematic traditions”. One of the formal characteristics that he is most well known for is the use of long takes. Although the use of long takes was already established in film, as many of the first films had no edits, Welles incorporated long takes effectively in his films to overload scenes with activity adding more dramatic tension. The films that his formal characteristic stands out the strongest are two of his more popular films Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil. Orson Welles’ theatrical background and his love for painting are probably the greatest contributions to his long takes in which an entire scene is shot with a camera using deep focus lens to capture everything clearly within the frame. As seen in both films the long shots can be static or tracking shots. Because of the deep focus, his long shots were more effective for creating complex mise-en-scene, overflowing the frame with multiple actions. Although using long takes are effective, they require talented crewmembers and are both very expensive and time consuming. Welles even stated in an interview that he “obviously prefer to control the elements in front of the camera while it’s rolling, but that requires money and the producer’s trust”. The overall effect created each scene as its own complete unit of time and space. It also allows the viewers freedom to scan the scene and look wherever they wish, which is like how one would see real life or sitting in a theater watching a play.

In the film Citizen Kane Orson Welles use of long take is seen throughout the entire film. Orson Welles’ director of photography Gregg Toland used very wide-angle lenses bringing the angle of the shot close to that of the eye’s normal vision. With such open composition at Welles’ disposal, it provided him with “the tools needed to inject heightened...
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