Citizen Kane - Textual Analysis of the 'Picnic Scene'

Topics: Citizen Kane, Orson Welles / Pages: 9 (2208 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
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<br>Directed, produced and starring Orson Welles, Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941), is famous for it 's many ‘remarkable scenes, cinematic and narrative technique and experimental innovations ' (Dirks, 1996). Written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz and filmed by Gregg Toland Kane is ‘classed as a fresh and classic masterpiece ' (Dirks, 1996). Kane is a brilliantly crafted series of flash backs and remembrances centering around the investigations of a ‘dynamic man in a dynamic world ' (Quicksilver, 2001). Kane draws much of its power from its violation of classic codes and conventions. In his debut masterpiece, Welles uses film as an art form to energetically communicate and display this narrative through imaginative and powerful cinematography, setting, sound, lighting, editing, music and performance. The focus of this essay is the picnic sequence that appears late in Susan Alexander 's recount to Thompson. Consisting of 23 shots and lasting for 2 minutes and 10 seconds, this scene signposts the end of the relationship between Susan and Kane.
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<br>In the previous scene, beside the enormous Xanadu fireplace, Susan is reduced to completing scores of jigsaw puzzles, depicting various outdoor scenes, as an escape from the cold and sterile situation that has estranged husband and wife. However, the couple are denied even the spontaneity and ease of the outdoors after Kane 's decision on a picnic (Jaffe, 1979, p. 353). The sequence begins with a medium shot of a joyless and casually dressed Susan and Kane side by side in the rear seat of a Dusenberg. Kane wears a hat and sunglasses representing the day that is visible through the rear window alongside another vehicle. The 15-second blues-style musical cue begins during the fade from Kane at Xanadu to the first shot of this scene with muted trumpets playing in a dark and foreboding manner. This musical motif illustrates Susan 's feelings and the



Bibliography: /b>
  • Bazin, Andre. Orson Welles. Preface by Jean Cocteau. Paris: Editions Chavane, 1950.
  • Beja, Morris, ed. Persepectives on Orson Welles. New York: G. K. Hall, 1995
  • Bordwell, David. "Citizen Kane." Film comment 7, no. 2 (summer 1971), 38-47. Reprinted in Gottesman, Focus on "Citizen Kane."
  • Bordwell, David and Kristen Thompson. "Style in Citizen Kane." In Film Art: An Introduction. 4th ed., 60-69. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.
  • Bordwell, David and Kristen Thompson. "Narrative form in Citizen Kane." In Film Art: An Introduction. 6th ed., 78-89. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  • Dirks, Tim. "Review of Citizen Kane." www.filmsite.org, 1996-2001. (accessed 24th August 2001)
  • Gottesman, R. Perspectives on Citizen Kane, New York, G. K. Hall & Co., 1996.
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