Citizen Kane

Thursday, May 28 at 7:00pm | Regular admission prices

Part of our month-long celebration of The Films of Orson Welles! Click here for the full schedule

Orson Welles was only 25 years-old when he directed this ahead-of-its-time masterpiece, and it still remains one of the most phenomenal motion pictures ever made. In Citizen Kane, Welles stars as Charles Foster Kane, a ruthless newspaper magnate who will do literally anything to succeed – a character controversially modeled after the real-life William Randolph Hearst. From its gloriously Gothic opening to its legendary finale, from its utterly convincing faked newsreel footage, though its compelling storyline tracing the public rise and private fall of the title character, told via an investigative reporter’s quest to discover the “real” Kane through interviews with his friends, enemies and wives, Citizen Kane seemingly creates rules in order to break them.

“It is one of the miracles of cinema that in 1941, a first-time director was given the keys to a studio and total control, and made a masterpiece. Citizen Kane is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Trailblazing in numerous aspects, from Gregg Toland’s complex camera and lighting to Bernard Hermann’s score to one of the finest ensemble casts (including Joseph Cotton, Everett Sloane and Agnes Moorehead) ever assembled, the film also stands as an eye-popping primer on cinematic grammar, with its overlapping dialogue, low angle shots, startling use of sound, deep focus cinematography and breathtaking long takes. Rightly considered the most electrifying debut in screen history, Citizen Kane is routinely cited as the greatest film ever made, but even more importantly, it’s a film that is as entertaining as it is important, leading famed film critic Pauline Kael to declare it “more fun than any other great movie.” As brilliant and startling today as it was in 1941, Citizen Kane remained both Welles’ career-defining masterpiece and his career-long nemesis. (Dir. by Orson Welles, 1941, USA, 119 mins., Not Rated)