Monday, October 6, 2008

Citizen Kane; Directing a Classic

Friday, September 5, 2008
2:19:06 PM CDT
Feeling Cranky
Hearing Rain Rain Rain

Citizen Kane; Directing a Classic

Citizen Kane would not be considered the film classic it is today without the talented direction of “wonder boy” Orson Welles. Armed with his experience in radio and theatre, a fresh inked contract with RKO Pictures giving him full artistic freedom, and his Mercury Theatrical Players, Welles tells the story of a publishing tycoon’s lifelong search to find a mother’s love.

Although the plot leaves much to be desired, the talent of the actors’ pacing and theatrical style engages the audience in a sensual and believable journey. An astute viewer will quickly recognize the theatrical staging of players turned slightly toward the camera or the blocking of secondary actors around primary characters or objects the director wants the audience to focus on. Strong facial expressions, clear diction and voice projection coupled with over the edge melodramatic performances commonly seen only on stage give detail to the characters in the story. Director Welles taps into his theatre talent by dictating long shot takes that indulge the actors’ comfort zones and one take scenes that force the actors to ad lib dialog in order to maintain pace.

While it may have been Welles’ lack of filmmaking experience, or his “kid in a candy store” artistic privileges that nurtured his never before seen directorial approach to this masterpiece, his work on Citizen Kane has forever left its thumbprint on American filmmaking and set the standards for auteur directors the world around.

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