Citizen Kane is very critical of how Charles Foster Kane gets his wealth and how he uses it. What kind of statement is the director Orson Welles trying to make about capitalism?
According to the myth of the American Dream, anyone, by means of hard work and ingenuity, can become rich. But there is no mention in the myth about greed, monopoly power, and the fact that you often need money to make money. How and why does Citizen Kane show the dark side of the American Dream?
Citizen Kane shows the media (especially in the form of newspapers) as forces for good or evil in society. How does Kane use his newspapers for good early in his career? How does he use them for evil later in his career? And how and why did he go from good to evil, in terms of his utilization of media?
Citizen Kane has a famously fragmented narrative, in which five different narrators give contradictory information about the main character. Would Citizen Kane have been a more effective film if it had a single narrator telling Kane’s life story chronologically from beginning to end? What would be lost if the story were told that way?
It is usual, when talking about film, to credit the director for the cinematography. Is this fair? How about in the case of Citizen Kane. How much credit should be given to the cinematographer, Gregg Toland, for the innovative look of Citizen Kane?
Choose one item from the list below and argue how it is crucial in considering Citizen Kane an artistic masterpiece. Be sure to find an example from the film to support your contention.
- Deep focus shots
- Low-angle and/or high-angle shots
- Crane shots
- Warped perspective shots
The following prompts involve some extra reading.
Based on this article, make a case that William Randolph Hearst was or was not an instrumental force in driving Orson Welles out of Hollywood.
Based on this article, make a case that Orson Welles’s producers at RKO Pictures did or did not do irreparable harm to Orson Welles’s career as a film director.
Based on this article, make a case that Citizen Kane was or was not more deserving of the Academy Award for Best Picture for 1941.
Based on this article, make a case the Citizen Kane is or is not the Greatest Film Ever Made.