Citizen Kane Synthesis

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Wells claimed that is only preparation for directing Citizen Kane was to watch John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) forty times. Ford’s influence on the film is pronounced, but according to David Cook’s History of Narrative Film, it is equally clear that Welles was steeped in the major European traditions, especially those of German Expressionism and the Kammerspielfilm and French poetic realism. Kane’s narrative economy owes much to “the example of Ford, its visual texture is heavily indebted to the chiaroscuro lighting of Lang, the fluid camera of Murnau, the baroque misen-scene of von Sternber, and the deep-focus realism of Renoir” (Cook, 252). Welles’s also had remarkably talented collaborators. But, Welles’s greatest single technical asset in the filming of Kane, was his brilliant director of photography, Gregg Toland. Citizen Kane consists of a series of flashbacks portraying contradictory perspectives on Charles Foster Kane, piercing together his life from a number of different points of view. Welles wanted the narrative to flow poetically from image to image in a manner analogous to the process of human memory. “Thus, Welles used straight cuts largely for shock effect and made most of his narrative transitions through lingering, in-camera lap dissolves” (Cook, 252). Welles planned to construct the film as a series of …show more content…
In several of the scenes, we see news reports about Kane’s death, we see Kane’s life through several other people’s point of view. This was greatly due to Toland’s self-styled “pan focus” photography and the “soft style” of photography favored by the studios in the 1930s. Welles’s use of the deep-focus sequence shot in Kane demonstrated a mastery of composition in depth. Not only did he use the format functionally, to develop scenes without resorting to montage, but he used it expressively to create metaphors for things that the cinema cannot explicitly

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