Citizen Kane Citizen Kane (1941) by Orson Welles released on 5th September 1941. 1 The film which falls under the genre of drama & mystery didn’t make too much of an impact straight away but as film moved on into the future Citizen Kane became one of the critics best loved movies because of it cinematography, film techniques, lightning, music, editing, transitions, etc. I will be analyzing a number of key scenes in Citizen Kane with relation to the cinematography and other techniques above.
The film contains umpteen numbers of key scenes but breaking them down you gets the big main scenes, which set the film from the start. The film depicts Kane as a mystery, and a complicated man who leaves viewers with more questions than answers.
Here is a breakdown of the film first:
7 “Character - Charles Foster Kane
Major conflict - Kane tries to control press coverage of his political career and suppress his affair with Susan Alexander.
Rising action - Kane’s political rival, Jim “Boss” Gettys, forces a showdown between Kane, Kane’s wife, and Susan Alexander in an attempt to force Kane from the governor’s race.
Climax - Kane chooses to stay with Susan and sends his wife away while daring Gettys to expose him by threatening impotently that he’ll make sure Gettys goes to prison.
Falling action - The papers are filled with the news of Kane’s “love nest,” and he loses the election.
Themes - The difficulty of interpreting a life; the myth of the American Dream; the unreliability of memory
Motifs - Isolation; old age; materialism
Symbols - Sleds; snow globe; statues”
Cinematography wise rom the start of the film Orson Welles uses lots of deep focus; this is seen nearly in every scene. Deep focus is when everything in the frame is in focus regardless of the length. Cinematographer Gregg Toland achieved this through his experimentation with lenses and lighting. 2 To get these kinds of effects Toland went to great deal by
Bibliography: 1 http://www.imdb.co.uk/title/tt0033467/ 2 Ogle, Patrick L; Bill Nichols (1985) 3 Toland, Gregg (September 1941). "The Motion Picture Cameraman". Theater Arts magazine. 4 Naremore, James 5 Gianos, Phillip L (1999). Politics and politicians in American film. Greenwood Press. p 170 6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Kane#cite_note-Ogle-69 7 http://www.sparknotes.com/film/citizenkane/facts.html 8 Pipolo, Tony, 1993, ‘Screen memories in Citizen Kane’, Persistence of Vision, Number 10, p 55 11 Thomson, David. A Biographical Dictionary of Film 3rd Ed. Alfred A Knopf (1998) p. 801 12 Cook, David A