The 1941 drama film Citizen Kane is one of the most memorable films of all time. It is a classic of American cinema, produced and directed by Orson Welles. He also wrote the screenplay alongside Herman J. Mankiewicz. It is often cited as the best film ever made and is one of the most important works of American cinema.
Before making Citizen Kane, Orson Welles directed radio plays and theater productions. He had no experience in the cinema, but he was inspired by the Western Stagecoach, directed by John Ford in 1936. Welles reportedly watched the film every night for a month before shooting it.
Known for his stage performances, Orson Welles was a rising star when he first began working on Citizen Kane. He was still relatively young, but he already had a lucrative contract with the studios. He co-wrote the script, worked with cinematographer Greg Tolland and brought composer Bernard Herrmann to score the film.
The production of Citizen Kane prompted a lot of controversy before its release. The radio station Radio City Music Hall refused to show the film, and instead, the film was screened at the smaller RKO Palace Theater. Despite the controversy surrounding the film’s original screening, the movie became one of the most renowned films of all time, and it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time.
Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre group
The group of actors in Citizen Kane was assembled by Orson Welles and his mentor, John Houseman. Houseman was a respected actor, director, and producer. The two began producing plays together through the Federal Theatre Project, a division of the Works Project Administration that provided cultural employment to people of all races. Their first project was a voodoo-themed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which featured black actors.
Welles had been working in radio when he decided to begin a new project: a radio series that focused on drama. The Mercury Theatre, known as Mercury Players, provided the actors with an opportunity to express their talents on a larger stage. Welles’ Mercury Players became a staple of radio programming, and their most famous performance was a live broadcast of the “War of the Worlds” on Halloween night.
Orson Welles was so passionate about his work that he was very loyal to his Mercury Theatre group. He wanted to maintain a group of actors for the long haul.
American cinematographer Gregg Wesley Toland was renowned for his innovative use of techniques. His credits include Citizen Kane, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Long Voyage Home. His work is noted for bringing the movie-going experience to life.
Toland was a pioneer of deep-focus photography, which gave characters a sharp appearance. His innovations in lighting, soundproofing, and focusing set the bar high for generations of filmmakers. His work on Citizen Kane helped make the film one of the all-time classics.
Toland’s film-making career began when he was still a teenager. He became enchanted with the emerging American film industry. He studied electrical engineering in college and experimented with crude cameras as a hobby. He landed an office job at Fox Studios at the age of fifteen and, within a year, he was working as an assistant cameraman for director Al St. John.
Toland was a dynamic cinematographer who teamed up with Welles to create Citizen Kane’s iconic images. Toland was an excellent collaborator and often conferred with Welles on camera placement and lighting effects. The two directors even gave Toland co-director credit.
Orson Welles’ ‘Rosebud’ sled
The Rosebud sled from “Citizen Kane” is one of the most memorable film plot twists. Symbolizing childhood, the sled is destroyed after Kane’s death. The sled has the word “Rosebud” stenciled on it, and this is significant because it is Kane’s last word. It is also symbolic of childhood innocence, beauty, and love.
The Rosebud sled was the symbolic object of boyhood innocence and is one of the most beloved objects in pop culture. In the film, Charles Foster Kane rides the sled in an attempt to regain his lost innocence. While it’s no longer a popular toy, the Rosebud is considered to be one of the most important symbolic objects in pop culture.
The sled is red balsa wood with off-white runners and stenciled with the word “Rosebud.” The sled was one of three made for the film. One was destroyed in the movie’s ending, but another was still in existence. The original rosebud sled was owned by actor Tom Mankiewicz, and the other sled sat in a Sotheby’s 71st Street auction gallery. It was sold at auction, and several aggressive bidders competed for it.