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Citizen Kane: an Accurate Portrayal of William Randolph Hearst?

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 10:18 AM
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Many have called Citizen Kane the greatest cinematic achievement of all

              time.   It is indeed a true masterpiece of acting, screen writing, and

              directing.   Orson Welles, its young genius director, lead actor, and a

              co-writer, used the best talents and techniques of the day (Bordwell 103)

              to tell the story of a newspaper giant, Charles Kane, through the eyes of

              the people who loved and hated him.   However, when it came out, it was

              scorned by Hollywood and viewed only in the private theaters of RKO, the

              producer.   Nominated for nine Academy Awards, it was practically booed off

              the stage, and only won one award, that for Best Screenplay, which Welles

              and Herman Mankiewicz shared (Mulvey 10).   This was all due to the pressure

              applied by the greatest newspaper man of the time, one of the most powerful

              men in the nation, the man Citizen Kane portrayed as a corrupt power

              monger, namely William Randolph Hearst.

                  One cannot ignore the striking similarities between Hearst and Kane. In

              order to make clear at the outset exactly what he intended to do, Orson

              Welles included a few details about the young Kane that, given even a

              rudimentary knowledge of Hearst's life, would have set one thinking about

              the life of that newspaper giant.   Shortly after the film opens, a reporter

              is seen trying to discover the meaning of Kane's last word, "Rosebud." He

              begins his search by going through the records of Kane's boyhood guardian,

              Thatcher.   The scene comes to life in midwinter at the Kane boarding house....


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