Citizen Kane (1941)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 59 mins

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Embedded with intrigue and insight, this classic drama delves into the complex sequence of events that unfold when a group of reporters, try to decipher the last word ever spoke by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." This exquisitely crafted tale begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, through flashbacks from Kane's life his fascinating journey is revealed. As the reporters investigate further, the intricate details of his meteoric rise to fame rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the "top of the world" are incisively brought to light.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Dorothy Comingore, Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles

Crew: Orson Welles (Director), Gregg Toland (Director of Photography), Bernard Herrmann (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Release Dates: 05 Sep 1941 (India)

Tagline: Some called him a hero. Others called him a heel...

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Did you know? For this movie Orson Welles, along with cinematographer Gregg Toland, pioneered "deep focus", a technique that keeps every object in the foreground, center and background in simultaneous focus. This brought a sense of depth to the two-dimensional world of movies. Read More
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as Susan Alexander Kane
as Jedediah Leland
as Kane
as Mary Kane
as Kane, age eight
as Herbert Carter
as Mr Bernstein
as Matiste
as Walter Parks Thatcher
as Miss Anderson
as The Headwaiter
as Kane's Father
as Raymond
as Mr Rawlston
as James W Gettys
as Emily Monroe Norton Kane
as Kane III
as Jerry Thompson




Executive Producer


Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Art Director
Set Decorator


Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer


Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Some called him a hero. Others called him a heel...
365 days in the making - and every minute of it an exciting NEW thrill for you !
It's Terrific!
Everybody's talking about it!
The classic story of power and the press.
I hate him! I love him! He's a scoundrel! He's a saint! He's crazy! He's a genius!
Audio/Video Mismatch
When Kane shouts at Jim Gettys from the stairwell, it is clear that most of the words he is saying are not coming out of his mouth.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Jim Gettys reveals Kane's mistress to his wife, Gettys shouts to Kane, "We've got proof! It will look bad in the papers" Looking closely, he actually said, "...It will look good in the papers..."

Audio/Video Mismatch
At the end of her interview with the reporter Thompson, Susan Alexander Kane says, "Come around sometime and tell me the story of your life," but as she says this her mouth is not moving.

When Susan Alexander Kane tells Kane that she's leaving him once and for all, Kane has a moustache. A second later as he watches her walk away, the moustache is gone.

When Mr. Thatcher has Mrs. Kane sign the contract at Mrs. Kane's Boarding House, Mrs. Kane goes over the closed window and opens it. In the first shot, the window could only be raised to the height of Mrs. Kane's shoulders, but in the second, it is above her head.

When Kane is talking to drunk Leland, he puts his right hand in the pocket. In the next shot, after he walks away from Leland, his hand appears out of the pocket.

At the first time on the opera house stage, just before Susan begins to sing, two men pass carrying a litter behind her twice.

When Kane's second wife is recounting the moment she left him, the suitcase that is open on the bed has frills on the inside. When we hear the butler continue the story, Kane walks back towards the suitcase to close it, and the frills are gone.

When Kane is performing his "rooster" as a shadow show to Susan, his hands are not in the position they would be to cast the shadow as it appears.

Crew/Equipment Visible
There is a camera shadow on the large doors to the Thatcher vault as Thompson enters

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Kane returns from Europe, he enters the Inquirer news room and rushes towards the camera, which dollies back. At this point, and when he subsequently leaves, the dolly track is visible on the floor.

Crew/Equipment Visible
The camera's shadow is cast on the large, closing door at the Thatcher library.

Crew/Equipment Visible
At the party scene where Kane dances with the girls, there are several shots of his reflection in the mirror. The camera shoots directly into the mirror and its silhouette can be clearly seen.

Factual Mistake
The Russian newspaper "Bednota," featured in the movie's opening newsreel, had been merged with "Socialisticheskoe Zemledelye" in 1931, long before Kane's death in 1941.
Despite all the publicity, this film was a box-office flop and was quickly consigned to the RKO vaults. At 1941's Academy Awards the film was booed every time one of its nine nominations was announced. It was only re-released to the public in the mid-'50s.

On the night the movie opened in San Francisco, Orson Welles found himself alone with William Randolph Hearst in an elevator at the city's Fairmont Hotel. Aware that his father and Hearst were friends, Welles extended an invitation to the magnate to attend the film's premiere. Hearst turned down the offer and, as he was about to exit the elevator at his floor, Welles remarked, "Charles Foster Kane would have accepted."

During filming Orson Welles received a warning that William Randolph Hearst had arranged for a naked woman to jump into his arms when he entered his hotel room, and there was also a photographer in the room to take a picture that would be used to discredit him. Welles spent the night elsewhere, and it is unknown if the warning was true.

The scene where Kane destroys Susan's room after she's left him was done on the first take. Director/star Orson Welles' hands were bleeding, and he is quoted as saying, "I really felt it."

The film's opening - just the title, no star names - was almost unprecedented in 1941. It is now the industry norm for Hollywood blockbusters today.

For this movie Orson Welles, along with cinematographer Gregg Toland, pioneered "deep focus", a technique that keeps every object in the foreground, center and background in simultaneous focus. This brought a sense of depth to the two-dimensional world of movies.

William Randolph Hearst was so angered by the film that he accused Orson Welles of being a Communist in order to keep the film from being released.

To keep studio execs off his back, Orson Welles claimed the cast and crew were "in rehearsal" during the first few days of shooting, when in fact they were actually shooting the film. It took a number of days before the studio caught on.

The original nitrate negatives are gone; they were lost in a fire during the 1970s.

The audience that watches Kane make his speech is, in fact, a still photo. To give the illusion of movement, hundreds of holes were pricked in with a pin, and lights moved about behind it.

The scene outside Ma Kane's boarding house reportedly drove Orson Welles crazy. The director always resented that, although it was set in a snowy field, the breath of the actors was not visible because the scene was actually filmed on a sound stage.

Orson Welles chipped his anklebone halfway through production and had to direct for 2 weeks from a wheelchair. When he was called upon to stand up onscreen, he wore metal braces. The injury occurred in the scene where Kane chases Gettys down the stairs and Welles tripped.

One line by Kane, "Don't believe everything you hear on the radio," might be construed as a sly wink from Orson Welles to those who panicked upon hearing his radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds."

Orson Welles actually knew William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies, the two figures that Citizen Kane (1941) essentially lampoons. Both co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and cinematographer Gregg Toland had been ejected from one of Hearst's famous parties at his elaborate homestead San Simeon for excessive drinking.

Orson Welles was just 25 years old when he directed, co-wrote, starred in and produced this, his very first feature film--a feat unlikely to ever be matched on any film so highly esteemed.

It was RKO head George Schaefer who suggested the title change from "American" to "Citizen Kane." Orson Welles had also wanted to call the film "John Q."

The camera looks up at Charles Foster Kane and his best friend Jedediah Leland and down at weaker characters like Susan Alexander Kane. This was a technique that Orson Welles borrowed from John Ford who had used it two years previously on Stagecoach (1939). Welles privately watched Stagecoach (1939) about 40 times while making this film.

In the scene where Jedediah confronts Kane, Joseph Cotten had stayed awake for 24 hours before the shoot so as to finish in order to start a play in New York. He makes an error and says "dramatic crimiticism," a flub that Cotten inadvertently made in rehearsals that Welles decided to use.

When asked by friends how Kane's last words would be known when he died alone, Orson Welles reportedly stared for a long time before saying, "Don't you ever tell anyone of this." See also the Goofs entry.

For the later scenes featuring an older Kane, Orson Welles sat in the make-up chair from 2:30 am to be ready for a 9:00 am start.

Orson Welles later said that he regretted the way Marion Davies was portrayed as "Susan Alexander" and that Davies was a wonderful woman.

For the opening shot of the "El Rancho" sequence where the camera appears to move through a gap in the neon sign, a collapsible sign had to be built that could be split in two to allow the camera to pass through.

Xanadu's design is based on William Randolph Hearst's elaborate homes in San Simeon, CA, and Mont St Michel in France.

The American Film Institute's poll ranked the film #1 on its list of greatest American movies of all time in 1998, and again on the anniversary list from 2007.

The reporter Jerry Thompson's (William Alland) face is never fully seen. It is always in the shadows.

The opening scene in a darkened theater (after the newsreel) is played by all the main male characters from the rest of the film, including Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.

The movie's line "Rosebud." was voted as #3 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by "Premiere" magazine in 2007.

Gregg Toland was really eager to work with the young maverick director Orson Welles as he was keen to be more experimental in his work.

Gregg Toland's cinematography credit appears alongside Orson Welles directing credit in the final title card of the film.
Movie Connection(s):
Referenced in: American Beauty (English)
Referenced in: Fantastic Mr. Fox (English)