How well do you know Citizen Kane?



9 Questions

What is Citizen Kane?

What is Citizen Kane famous for?

Who was Charles Foster Kane based on?

What was Orson Welles' contract with RKO Pictures?

When was Citizen Kane released?

What was the controversy over the Citizen Kane screenplay authorship?

What was Citizen Kane's most innovative technical aspect?

Who composed the score for Citizen Kane?

Who created the make-up for Citizen Kane?


Summary Title: Citizen Kane - Orson Welles' Revolutionary Film

  • Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film directed by, produced by, and starring Orson Welles.

  • It is frequently cited as the greatest film ever made.

  • The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories and won Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Mankiewicz and Welles.

  • Citizen Kane is praised for its innovative cinematography, editing, music, and narrative structure.

  • The film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, a composite character based on American media barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.

  • Welles signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939, which granted him complete artistic control of the two films he was contracted to make.

  • Principal photography took place in 1940, and the film was released in 1941.

  • Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office and faded from view after its release.

  • It returned to public attention when it was praised by French critics and re-released in 1956.

  • Citizen Kane was selected by the Library of Congress as an inductee of the 1989 inaugural group of 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

  • The film's screenplay was co-written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz, with a long-standing controversy over the authorship of the screenplay.

  • Mankiewicz was eventually awarded credit for his work, along with Welles.Summary Title: Citizen Kane: Facts and Figures

  • The Citizen Kane screenplay authorship was questioned in 1971 by film critic Pauline Kael.

  • Orson Welles was defended by colleagues, critics, biographers, and scholars but his reputation was damaged.

  • Carringer's 1978 essay concluded that Welles's contribution to the Citizen Kane script was "substantial but definitive."

  • The character of Charles Foster Kane was a synthesis of different personalities with Hearst's life used as the main source.

  • Welles acknowledged that aspects of Kane were drawn from the lives of two business tycoons from his youth in Chicago.

  • The character of Susan Alexander Kane was not based on Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, whom Welles called "an extraordinary woman."

  • Welles may have used the film to smear business tycoons Hearst and McCormick, whom he opposed politically.

  • The character of political boss Jim W. Gettys is based on Charles F. Murphy, a leader in New York City's Tammany Hall political machine.

  • "Rosebud" was credited to Mankiewicz, who stated that the word was taken from the name of a famous racehorse, Old Rosebud.

  • Citizen Kane satirizes the journalistic style of The March of Time, the news documentary and dramatization series presented in movie theaters by Time Inc.

  • Citizen Kane's principal roles were played by actors new to motion pictures, ten of whom were billed as Mercury Actors.

  • Citizen Kane was filmed in Stage 19 on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, with some location filming at Balboa Park in San Diego and the San Diego Zoo.The Making of Citizen Kane

  • Orson Welles suffered injuries during the filming of Citizen Kane, including a wrist injury while wearing glasses that impaired his vision, and a fall that resulted in two bone chips in his ankle.

  • Welles had problems with RKO executives who did not respect his contract's non-interference stipulation, and spies were sent to report on set activities. Cast and crew played softball when executives arrived unannounced.

  • Principal shooting wrapped on October 24, with the film costing $839,727 (over budget).

  • The film was edited by Robert Wise and assistant editor Mark Robson, with Bernard Herrmann composing the score. Herrmann was given 12 weeks to write the music, and worked on the film reel by reel as it was shot and cut.

  • The theatrical trailer for Citizen Kane was written and directed by Welles, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and no footage from the film itself.

  • Citizen Kane is known for its innovative storytelling techniques, including the use of flashbacks and multiple narrators.

  • The film's most innovative technical aspect was the use of deep focus cinematography, where the foreground, background, and everything in between are all in sharp focus.

  • Low-angle shots facing upwards were used to show ceilings in the background of several scenes, with every set built to include a ceiling.

  • Citizen Kane's sound was recorded by Bailey Fesler and re-recorded in post-production by audio engineer James G. Stewart, with Welles using techniques from radio like overlapping dialogue and "sound perspectives."

  • Welles used an aural technique from radio called the "lightning-mix" to link complex montage sequences via a series of related sounds or phrases.Make-up artist Maurice Seiderman created and applied the make-up for Citizen Kane despite being only an apprentice, using his own inventive and precise methods. He created a thorough plan for aging the principal characters, making plaster casts and molds of their faces and bodies, and using plastic materials and wigs. Seiderman also made scleral lenses to dull the brightness of the actors' young eyes. The film's art direction was done by Perry Ferguson, who collaborated with Welles and cinematographer Gregg Toland to plan every shot and set design, including using miniatures and optical effects to make the film look more expensive than its budget. The film's music was composed by Bernard Herrmann, who used musical cues to bridge the action and suggest emotional responses, and scored for unusual combinations of instruments. Herrmann also wrote a parody of a Mary Garden vehicle for Susan Alexander Kane's operatic sequence, dubbing the vocal part for Comingore. Some incidental music came from other sources, including the RKO music library. The film's special effects were supervised by Vernon L. Walker, who used visual effects such as rear screen projection, miniatures, and optical printer to create certain shots and improve deep focus shots. The film's editing included in-camera effects, such as in the scene where Kane breaks into Susan's room after her suicide attempt, and optical printing to make the whole screen appear in focus.


Think you know everything about the groundbreaking film Citizen Kane? Test your knowledge with our quiz! From the film's innovative cinematography and editing to the controversy over the screenplay authorship, this quiz will challenge your understanding of Orson Welles' masterpiece. Explore the making of Citizen Kane and the legacy it has left behind in film history. So, put on your thinking cap and get ready to dive into the world of Charles Foster Kane with our Citizen Kane quiz.

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