Citizen Hearst: A Comparison of William Randolph Hearst and Citizen Kane
Orson Welles was undoubtedly one of the most talented filmmakers of his time. Along with the innovative camerawork and advanced cinematic techniques that made Citizen Kane a success, Welles also allowed for viewers to connect with his film by providing them with a real life example of the main character. Citizen Kane owned a massive estate called Xanadu that was based upon Hearst's San Simeon. Kane and Hearst were also newspaper magnates who used very similar techniques to gain readers and also operated their newspapers in a comparable manner. Finally, both individuals had affairs with young women involved in the entertainment industry and both Kane and Hearst forced their partners into careers that did not complement their talents. By drawing parallels between the fictional Charles Foster Kane and real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, Orson Welles was able to effectively communicate the message that wealth and power can destroy human values, and thus enhanced the audience's enjoyment of the movie.
After the death of his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, William inherited 250,000 acres of ranch land that had previously belonged to his father. Originally coined "camp hill", this land had been used for family camping trips. However, after obtaining the land in 1919, Hearst acquired the help of noted architect Julia Morgan to construct what became known as San Simeon. Heart's oceanside estate at San Simeon, 175 miles (282 kilometers) south of San Francisco, was one of the most lavish private dwellings in the country. It included 240,000 acres (97,100 hectares) of land, four castles, and a priceless art collection (McKerns 131).
Said art collection has been declared one of the most impressive of the time. Along with valuables such as antique vases and oriental carpets, Hearst owned a multitude of priceless paintings and statues. In Citizen Kane, Charles Foster...
Cited: Citizen Kane. Dir. Orson Welles. RKO, 1941.
Masek, Mark. "Marion Davies: 1897 – 1961." Hollywood Remains to Be Seen. 11 Dec. 2005. 13 Dec. 2005. .
McKerns, Joseph P. "Hearst, William Randolph." The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, Inc, 2002.
Nasaw, David. The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst. New York: Haughton Mifflin Company, 2000.
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