Orson Welles, whose man-from Mars broadcast scared radio listeners a while back, now is a movie director – at $150,00 for making, and acting in, Citizen Kane. He’s 25 and plays the role of a 70-year-old man. The cup? Tea, his favorite beverage. Photo by Wide world. PM, August 2, 1940, p. 18
Hollywood caught Young Orson Welles a year ago on the last bounce of a bounding career in play acting and radio hobgoblinry. The initial cost was not high, but the upkeep thus far has been tremendous, something approaching $100,000. RKO caught the check, and got for its money an adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (never used), a photogenic Wellesian beard (never used either), but not a foot of film. This season RKO is out to get its bait back with Citizen Kane, now in production with Welles as writer, producer, and title character. It will be the life story of a composite American big-shot in politics, journalism, banking, and industry. Orson Welles’ production day starts at 4:30 a.m., when his make-up as 70-year old Kane is applied in a room littered with Welles busts of all ages, and Welles production assistants of all description. This pre-dawn moment, when Welles is strapped in the make-up chair, is about the only time they can get a word in edgewise with him. Sketch by Don Freeman. PM, September 4, 1940, p. 23
“Citizen Kane Trailer” from archive.org.
‘Citizen Kane’ Rates a Furore; It’s Truly a Great Picture
By Cecelia Ager
Before Citizen Kane, it’s as if the motion picture was a slumbering monster, a mighty force stupidly sleeping, lying there sleek, torpid, complacent-awaiting a fierce young man to come kick it to life, to rouse it, shake it, awaken it to its potentialities, to show it what it’s got.
For Citizen Kane, too, is a movie. It too is a film and sound track and sets and actors and talk and music. It uses the same materials all movies use, the same stuff available to them all. It has no secret weapon, no mystery ray, no Buck Rogers disintegrator. Yet seeing it. it’s as if you never really saw a movie before: no movie has ever grabbed you, pummeled you, socked you on the button with the vitality, the accuracy, the impact, the professional aim, that this one does…
There was a time after Citizen Kane was finished, when the forces of darkness were said to be banding together to prevent its release. But now after seeing it, one feels that nothing could have bottled up its turbulent force, any more than you could hang a curtain over the Aurora Borealis or stopper a volcano. PM, May 3, 1941, p. 5
“Citizen Kane Premiere” from archive.org.
77 years ago this week, in the beginning of May, 1941, Citizen Kane was released.