Business and politics -- United States -- Drama, Newspaper publishing -- United States -- Drama, Publishers and publishing -- United States -- Drama, Rich people -- United States -- Drama

Citizen Kane

35mm Print


Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane,

“Inventing modern cinema is a tough act to follow,” Orson Welles remarked later in his career. Indeed, Rosebud may be the cinema’s most beloved red herring, for the mystery of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane is solved early on—it is lonely at the top—but Citizen Kane’s gothic, labyrinthine modernism remains its great mystery. It’s as distanced as Kane himself, protecting the power of enigma with a No Trespassing sign; the narrative is like the jigsaw puzzle with which Susan Alexander Kane vaguely amuses and tortures herself. Welles didn’t invent chiaroscuro lighting, deep-focus cinematography, overlapping dialogue, and lightning flashbacks, but he and cinematographer Gregg Toland used them in a Brechtian way to alienate us from the monster he created. The hollowness of his American dream played out in full is captured in a magnificent overhead shot of Kane’s “art” collection (plaster pieces RKO had lying around) crated for auction, looking everything like the naked city of film noir.

Judy Bloch
  • Herman J. Mankiewicz
  • Gregg Toland
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 119 mins
  • Warner Bros.

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Pacific Film Archive presents the magic of Orson Welles (article), Berkeley Daily Planet, Justin DeFreitas, 2008

Citizen Kane (review), Variety, Todd McCarthy, 2001

It's (not) all true: Orson Welles (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2000

Citizen Kane (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Peter Cowie, 2000

'Citizen Kane' documentary captivates (article), Oakland Tribune, Susan Young, 1996

A real American beauty rosebud (article), East Bay Express, Michael Covino, 1991

Raising Kane...over what? (article), Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan, 1991

Orson Welles (article), American Film, Andrew Sarris, 1988

Citizen Kane (program note), Hawaii Film Festival, 1987

Orson Welles 1915-1985 (program), Rocky Mountain Film Center, 1986

Displaying 10 of 41 publicly available documents.

View all Citizen Kane documentation on CineFiles.