Citizen Kane Research

The Battle Over Citizen Kane

  • The “social media” back in the day was mainly newspapers
  • The newspapers had a large influence
  • Orson Welles was allowed to create his own movie and have creative liberty. This was much more than others were allowed
  • Citizen Kane was well received but it would result in Welles’ career
  • Citizen Kane almost didn’t get released. People were trying to destroy it
  • William Hearst would sometimes make his own news like making a woman collapse on the ground or make someone jump off a ferry
  • Hearst attacked his enemies through his newspaper and vicious wording
  • The character, Charles Foster Kane, was based off of William Hearst
  • William Hearst was against Citizen Kane
  • Welles was considered a genius by the age of 3 and lost both of his parents at a young age. He didn’t get to really experience his childhood
  • Welles’ career thrived off of controversy
  • Welles was willing to do anything to make his play perfect, even to the point of threatening people of physical assault
  • Welles worked his actors like dogs
  • Welles would ride in ambulances to get to places quicker
  • Welles’ first play at the Mercury theater wasn’t met with good reviews
  • Hearst had the worst attendance of any congressmen ever. He believed that attending the meeting was a waste of time
  • He bought multiple newspaper companies and was one of the first to have a national chain of papers
  • Hearst’s papers told someone to put a bullet in the president and someone did
  • Hearst ran for many governmental positions like mayor, governor, and president. However, he lost all of them
  • Hearst was for “the people” wanting laws like the 8 hour work day
  • Orson would sometimes change up the radio show minutes before they were about to air. This was not uncommon
  • Welles would sometimes go on rampages at the Ritz Carlton, tearing down the doors of the guests. This added up to $40,000 or so in damages
  • Welles broadcasted a fake war terror story and received a contract for total freedom for a movie
  • Marion Davies was a performer that Hearst liked while his wife was pregnant
  • Davies knew how to flatter men to get what she wanted
  • Orson Welles had to fight to be able to release the film. Obviously he succeeded
  • The FBI made many accusations about Orson, communist, gay, etc
  • Hearst would threaten Welles even further, telling no adverts for ‘Citizen Kane’
  • They would do anything to stop Welles and Citizen Kane
  • Citizen Kane had 9 nominations and Welles himself had 4 nominations
  • Citizen Kane could not die. But after 40 or so years, it became popular and was put on many lists of “the best film ever made”

Docudrama RKO 281

  • Docudrama starts off with a tv reviewing Welles’ life and how he’s a genius
  • William Hearst has a mistress
  • Hearst has no money left but won’t accept it
  • “We will buy this movie. And we will destroy it”
  • Welles gives a speech to the board to convince them to allow him to release the movie. “Are you going to send the message to the world that one man [Hearst] can take away all of our voices?”
  • Welles invited Hearst to the premiere of his film

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