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Citizen Kane Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Orson Welles first feature film -- which he directed, produced, and co-wrote, as well as playing the title role -- proved to be his most important and influential work, a ground-breaking drama loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst which is frequently cited as the finest American film ever made. Aging newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) dies in his sprawling Florida estate after uttering a single, enigmatic final word -- "Rosebud" -- and newsreel producer Rawlston (Phil Van Zandt) sends reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) out with the assignment of uncovering the meaning behind the great man's dying thought. As Thompson interviews Kane's friends, family, and associates, we learn the facts of Kane's eventful and ultimately tragic life: his abandonment by his parents (Agnes Moorehead and Harry Shannon) after he becomes the heir to a silver mine; his angry conflicts with his guardian, master financier Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris); his impulsive decision that "it would be fun to run a newspaper" with the help of school chum Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten) and loyal assistant Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane); his rise from scandal sheet publisher to the owner of America's largest and most influential newspaper chain; his marriage to socially prominent Emily Norton (Ruth Warrick), whose uncle is the President of the United States; Kane's ambitious bid for public office, which is dashed along with his marriage when his opponent, corrupt political boss Jim Gettys (Ray Collins), reveals that Kane is having an affair with aspiring vocalist Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore); Kane's vain attempts to promote second wife Alexander as an opera star; and his final, self-imposed exile to a massive and never-completed pleasure palace called Xanadu. While Citizen Kane was a film full of distinguished debuts -- along with Welles, it was the first feature for Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, and Ruth Warrick -- the only Academy Award it received was for Best Original Screenplay, for which Welles shared credit with veteran screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:February 11, 1946

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Herman Mankiewicz Best Original Screenplay 1941 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Aalberg Best Sound 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gregg Toland Best Black and White Cinematography 1941 Nominee
National Board of Review George Coulouris Best Acting 1941 Winner
National Board of Review Orson Welles Best Acting 1941 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Orson Welles Best Original Screenplay 1941 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Orson Welles Best Actor 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Orson Welles Best Director 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Wise Best Editing 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bernard Herrmann Best Dramatic Score 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Van Nest Polglase Best Black and White Art Direction 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Darrell Silvera Best Black and White Art Direction 1941 Nominee

Cast

Orson Welles
as Charles Foster Kane
Joseph Cotten
as Jedediah Leland
Everett Sloane
as Mr. Bernstein
Dorothy Comingore
as Susan Alexander
Ray Collins
as Boss Jim Gettys
Ruth Warrick
as Emily Norton Kane
George Coulouris
as Walter Parks Thatcher
Paul Stewart
as Raymond
Agnes Moorehead
as Kane's Mother
Harry Shannon
as Kane's Father
Erskine Sanford
as Herbert Carter
William Alland
as Jerry Thompson
Georgia Backus
as Bertha
Philip Van Zandt
as Mr. Rawlston
Gus Schilling
as Headwaiter
Fortunio Bonanova
as Signor Matiste
Pedro de Cordoba
as Kane senior
Edmund Cobb
as Enquirer Reporter
Eddie Coke
as Reporter
Gino Corrado
as Gino
Louise Currie
as Reporter
Edith Evanson
as Nurse
Arthur Kay
as Orchestra Leader
Milt Kibbee
as Reporter
Alan Ladd
as Reporter
Irving Mitchell
as Dr. Corey
Arthur O'Connell
as Reporter
Benny Rubin
as Smather
Walter Sande
as Reporter
Milt Kibbee
as Reporter
Edith Evanson
as Nurse
Arthur Kay
as Orchestra Leader
Walter Sande
as Reporter
Louise Currie
as Reporter
Arthur O'Connell
as Reporter
Benny Rubin
as Smather
Irving Mitchell
as Dr. Corey
Edmund Cobb
as Enquirer Reporter
Alan Ladd
as Reporter
Gino Corrado
as Gino
Eddie Coke
as Reporter
Pedro de Cordoba
as Kane senior

Crew

Orson Welles
Director
Orson Welles
Producer
Orson Welles
Screenwriter
Herman Mankiewicz
Screenwriter
Gregg Toland
Cinematographer
Bernard Herrmann
Composer (Music Score)
Robert Wise
Editor
Mark Robson
Editor
Van Nest Polglase
Art Director
Edward Stevenson
Costume Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects
Linwood G. Dunn
Special Effects
Maurice Seiderman
Makeup
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