The Blog loves a good newspaper movie and none is more dear to our hearts than the landmark film Citizen Kane, which debuted on this day (May 1) in 1941 at the RKO Palace in New York, from the brash 26-year-old director, writer and star, Orson Welles.
The opening followed months of battles between the wunderkind Welles and media baron William Randolph Hearst, who struggled to keep the film from being released. Welles’ Charles Foster Kane, of course, is said to be patterned after Hearst himself, and the newspaper giant bristled (and even dispatched his own columnists to clamor against) such an unflattering portrait.
Welles knew exactly what he was doing, of course, in parodying Hearst, who championed the Spanish American War, had his own well-documented political career, enjoyed an affair with an actress, and built a palatial estate, Hearst Castle, near San Simeon on the California coast. Welles was making a statement.
The Blog loves that opening newsreel, a classic montage of newspaper headlines reporting Kane’s death (the end that starts our story) …
The headline of the New York Daily Inquirer,
a Kane paper, appears with a portrait …
CHARLES FOSTER KANE DIES AFTER LIFETIME OF SERVICE
Entire Nation Mourns Great Publisher as Outstanding American
The paper is removed and other headlines, set in different type and styles from around the nation and world, come to the screen … The first is from The Daily Chronicle, the Inquirer‘s competitor …
C. F. Kane Dies at Xanadu Estate
Editor’s Stormy Career Comes to an End
Death of Publisher Finds Few Who Will Mourn for Him
CANDIDATE KANE CAUGHT IN LOVE NEST WITH ‘SINGER’
The Highly Moral Mr. Kane and his Tame “Songbird”
Entrapped by Wife as Love Pirate, Kane Refuses to Quit Race
So if you’re not otherwise occupied tonight, The Blog suggests a viewing of this newspaper classic, which the American Film Institute calls The Greatest American Movie of All Time. “Kane” is full of filmmaking innovations, great dialogue, inspired acting and an eerily resonant caution on newspapering, the dangers of powers and the perils of ego. Good ol’ Charlie Kane.