Citizen Kane

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Analytical review of Citizen Kane At the young age of twenty-five, an unknown radio and stage actor became the director, star and producer of a cinematic masterpiece that continues to ignite controversy. Orson Welles, the mastermind behind the classic film Citizen Kane, used revolutionary film techniques to portray a fictionalized story line that strikingly resembles the life of William Randolph Hearst, a powerful newspaper proprietor and publisher. The film draws remarkable parallels between Kane's Inquirer and Hearst's Examiner, between Kane's Xanadu and Hearst's palace at San Simeon, and Kane's affair with singer Susan Alexander, paralleling that of Hearst's relationship with Marion Davies. Citizen Kane is a highly acclaimed film that contains remarkable scenes and innovative cinematography.

The production of Citizen Kane marked a milestone in the development of cinematic style. The film artistically portrays a great man's life by utilizing components such as unconventional lighting, inventive use of shadows, a cast of characters who age throughout the film, and the frequent use of transitionary scenes, and long, uninterrupted sequences.

Such brilliant film work occurs in one of the opening scenes. Welles shoots the scene in a small projection room, using only natural light from the windows. The filmmakers shoot directly into the light, causing the characters to achieve a very dramatic silhouetted effect. Another example of such revolutionary film technique, is that the cameras are kept fairly low throughout much of the picture. In one particular scene towards the end of the movie, the camera is actually placed into a hole in the floor to give Citizen Kane a "larger than life"� appearance. Shadows are used throughout the entire movie to highlight, or in this case low light, specific objects and people. The reporter in the film, Thompson, is specifically kept in shadow to ensure his role does not...