Monday, December 19, 2011


On the twenty-fifth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Orson Welles's groundbreaking film on the meteoric rise and catastrophic descent of Citizen Kane (1941). Kane possesses an enduring love for his childhood Winters before his parents came into money and assigned him to the care of a prominent banker to give him a mannered education. A humorous yet brief Christmas scene between Kane and the banker helps establish early on one of the film's most important themes: money cannot buy you everything. David Lynch has long expressed an admiration for the films of Orson Welles, a man who took the entertainment industry by storm in his youth, helped reinvent live theater, and always seemed several steps ahead of everyone else when working with the relatively new mediums of radio and film.
Citizen Kane is a magnificent film, but most analysis of the film focuses on the fascinating story behind its production and war to get released. The titular Charles Foster Kane was a thinly veiled depiction of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper tycoon who expanded his empire into radio and film in the first half of the twentieth century. Hearst was considered one of the most powerful men in the world, even building himself a castle in Southern California, where the world's wealthiest and the Hollywood elite would make regular career-enhancing pilgrimages. For a time, Hearst's vast wealth was comparable to that of European royalty and his influence on young Hollywood was nearly unparalleled.
At the height of Orson Welles's popularity at age 25, he achieved an unheard of deal with RKO Pictures to have final cut on a film of his choosing. Welles's decision to target the biggest media mogul of the age came with a terrible price, though, essentially making Welles into a Hollywood pariah and severely limiting the scope of his future film career. But whatever your opinion of his obscure and avant garde work in his later years, Citizen Kane remains one of the first perfectly structured nonlinear films, inspiring countless directors to better exploit the possibilities of cinema. And continuously topping the A.F.I.'s Top 100 Movies Filmmaker Poll, Welles's Freshmen effort Citizen Kane helped change the way people approach creating and watching movies.

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