Director: Orson Welles
Screenwriters: Herman J. Makiewicz, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, William Alland, Ray Collins, Dorothy Comingore, Joseph Cotten, George Coulourism, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Shannon
Don’t let its many accolades and firmly planted position as The Greatest Movie Ever Made scare you—Citizen Kane lives up to the hype.
After scaring the hell out of the country with his War of the Worlds broadcast, Orson Welles was able to write his own ticket to Hollywood. And what he wanted was simple: total control—from beginning to end, from pre-production to post. And he got it. Including final cut. Welles used the opportunity to create a compelling tale of the American Dream in the form of the fictional Charles Foster Kane, a media magnate (and thinly veiled version of William Randolph Hearst) on the ultimate search for power.
The film moved filmmaking forward by employing a flashback-heavy narrative that was formally reflected through the incredible deep focus cinematography, among other innovations.
Unfortunately for Welles, his peak came too early. After all, how can one top a film that's widely considered to be the all-time greatest? Welles spent his final years putting his booming voice to work, narrating everything from Shogun to The Transformers: The Movie. —JW