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Citizen Kane with William R. Hearst III

Thursday, April 06, 2017
6:30 p.m.
YBCA Theater

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Guests Expected

Special Guest William R. Hearst III expected.


A still-influential phantasmagoria of cinematic innovation and deep-focus pathos 75 years after its divisive debut, Orson Welles’ wildly audacious breakthrough imagines the flamboyant life of mining heir Charles Foster Kane who parlays his fortune into tabloid media superstardom and runs for office as a populist savior. Welles’ 1941 masterpiece of American ambition, delusion, and broken dreams was inspired by the life of publisher William Randolph Hearst. It created a scandal and was a box-office bomb upon its intitial release, although one that went on to garner nine Oscar nominations, winning one for Welles and Herman J. Makiewicz’s screenplay. The genius of their flashback structure, the expressive power of Gregg Toland’s compositions, and the cast of slyly gifted Mercury Theatre alumni outlived the original blast of negative publicity. For half a century, Citizen Kane topped the Sight & Sound poll as the greatest film ever made (until it was displaced by Vertigo in 2012). To absolutely no one’s surprise, Citizen Kane was inducted in the first class of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1989. At this exceptional screening, William R. Hearst III, grandson of the inspiration for Kane, will speak about the film and its relationship to the Hearst family with film historian David Thomson. —Michael Fox

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Orson Welles (1915-85) inspired more people to pick up a camera than any filmmaker who ever lived. But long before Hollywood wooed him westward, Welles conquered Broadway (Caesar) and radio (the infamous broadcast of The War of the Worlds on Halloween 1938) as a director, writer, and actor. The original king of all media, Welles loved the magic of movies above all else; he excelled in conjuring whole films from bits of money and celluloid. His masterpieces include The Magnificent Ambersons (1941), The Stranger (1946), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Othello (1951), Touch of Evil (1958), Chimes at Midnight (1965), and F for Fake (1973).
Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 1941
  • Running time: 120
  • Director(s): Orson Welles
  • Producer(s): Orson Welles
  • Writer(s): Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles
  • Cinematographer(s): Gregg Toland
  • Editor(s): Robert Wise
  • Music: Bernard Herrmann
  • With: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead

Print Source:
Warner Bros Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001