Opening Scene of "Citizen Kane"
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This paper examines Orson Welles' film, "Citizen Kane". It focuses on the opening scene featuring a 'News on the March' newsreel outlining the life of Charles Foster Kane. The paper relates this montage to the film as a whole both thematically and cinematically. The paper also explains how the film can be seen as a McLuhanesque enterprise commenting on the role of the media.
From the Paper:"A brief opening scene that depicts the death of Kane fades out and then the film abruptly cuts to the opening credits of a news reel "News on the March" presenting a biography of Kane. This immediately recalls two important antecedents. In a newsgroup posting David P Nichols makes the point of noting that this was not an original technique. It was used in a silent film, "The Bellamy Trial (1929) with Leatrice Joy and Betty Bronson. (Oddly enough, although M-G-M distributed this film, the Hearst News Service had produced it: Perhaps Welles was aware of this serendipitous coincidence.)"
"He also quotes Alexander Walker's The Shattered Silents: How the Talkies Came to Stay approvingly. The film is "one long courtroom scene punctuated by flashbacks.... It opened without title or cast credits: simply a newsreel-type prologue of documentary impact leading up to the court-house and the start of the trial, a device calculated to gain authority from the public's familiarity with the new sound newsreels." That the technique is not entirely original does nothing to detract from its purpose.
"More importantly, Welles had himself used it before. It was precisely the structure that he had employed in his Mercury Theatre "War of the Worlds" broadcast on October 30, 1938. That presentation had fooled so many listeners that it created panic in some areas and became a media sensation in the ensuing weeks."
Cite this Film Review:
Opening Scene of "Citizen Kane" (2003, October 07) Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/film-review/opening-scene-of-citizen-kane-39280/
"Opening Scene of "Citizen Kane"" 07 October 2003. Web. 23 May. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/film-review/opening-scene-of-citizen-kane-39280/>