Trivia / Citizen Kane

  • Acclaimed Flop: Hard to believe, but the "Greatest Film of All Time" was a spectacular box office bomb for its time, though eventually it made a profit in repertory screenings and Welles lived off its royalties even when he was down and out in Europe. See Creator Killer below for more.
  • Actor Allusion: Kane knows plenty of magic tricks that amuse Susan. Welles himself was an amateur magician.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series
  • Common Knowledge: People assume Marion Davies had a bad career, as her expy in the film shows. In fact, Marion Davies was widely considered a talented actress and comedienne, independent of all the publicity Hearst arranged for her. Hearst did push Davies towards melodramatic leading-lady roles, despite performing better in light comedy. Ironically, Welles and Mankiewicz claimed that they made Susan so talentless to ensure she wasn't confused with Marion Davies. Instead, the opposite happened.
    • Likewise, everyone feel that this film was a satire on Hearst and Hearst alone. In truth, the film was intended to be a general satire and tragedy of The American Dream and the resemblances to Hearst came about largely because screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz was a regular at Hearst's parties and knew him well. Both he and Welles included details from several American tycoons like Samuel Insull and Howard Hughes in addition to Hearst. Likewise, Welles himself never intended the film to be a Take That on Hearst, indeed the drafts of the screenplay credited to him show that it was Welles who made Kane more sympathetic and that the original screenplay was a good deal more anti-Hearst.
    • Everyone from Pauline Kael to Cracked claims that no one actually heard Kane's last words, therefore the whole "Rosebud" mystery is a plot hole. In reality, Raymond the Butler tells the journalist that he was present during Kane's death, so presumably he heard "Rosebud" himself.
    • There's also Kael's claim that Herman Mankiewicz wrote the entire script himself, and that Welles unfairly took credit. Despite being thoroughly debunked by Robert L. Carringer, Peter Bogdanovich and others, this argument's still repeated by credulous film buffs.
  • Copiously Credited Creator: Co-written, directed, produced and starring Welles.
  • Creator Backlash: To a marginal extent. While Welles never regretted or hated the film, much like Alan Moore and Watchmen he did regret how it overshadowed his entire career. He stated that he found the film too gimmicky and not mature, and he regretted how Marion Davies was wrongfully associated with the film. Despite this, he stated in interviews that Kane is the only film of his with which he is entirely satisfied in that it came out exactly as he wished with no budget constraints and no Executive Meddling, though personally he preferred The Trial and Chimes at Midnight.
    Orson Welles: I've regretted early successes in many fields, but I don't regret that in Kane because it was the only chance of that kind I ever had. I'm glad I had it at any time in my life. I wish I had it more often. I wish I had a chance like that every year, there'd be eighteen pictures.
  • Dueling Movies: From then til now, if Citizen Kane isn't #1 on a film list, it's Jean Renoir's The Rules Of The Game.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: To simulate heavy drunkenness, Cotten stayed awake for 24 straight hours, resulting in some unscripted flubbery (that caused Welles to grin despite himself).
  • Enforced Method Acting: Poor Dorothy Comingore endured physical and mental abuse from Orson Welles and ended up a near wreck by the end.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Orson Welles saw Chimes at Midnight as his masterpiece, but that was also driven by people using Citizen Kane to write him off as a One-Book Author, he was generally proud of Kane and stated that it was his only movie that he's totally satisfied with, having no budget or executive compromises as he did on his other films.
  • Method Acting:
    • To simulate being drunk, Joseph Cotten remained awake for 24 straight hours. You can see Welles break character and grin when Cotten flubs his line and says "dramatic crimiticism." Of course, it was a Throw It In moment.
    • Welles himself let himself go during the famous room trashing sequence, even hurting himself badly bloodying his hands while doing it. After filming the scene, Welles breathed, "I felt it. I felt it."
  • Old Shame: The only thing Welles really regretted was his portrayal of the Marion Davies Expy Susan.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The film has characters named Jim Gettys and Jim Kane.
  • Star-Making Role: Kane was a Star Making Role to some extent for most of the cast, since the bulk of them were members of Welles' Mercury Theater troupe and they were all making their film debuts together.
    • Joseph Cotten went on to a long and very successful career as a leading man in Hollywood.
    • Ray Collins (Jim Gettys) enjoyed a prolific career as a Hollywood character actor.
    • Bernard Herrmann, who had been a music composer for the Mercury Theater, went to Hollywood along with Welles and the actors, composed the music to Citizen Kane as his very first film score, and went on to become one of the most successful film composers in movie history.
    • Welles himself is an interesting aversion. He was a star since age 16, and became famous for his theatre and (cough) radio, and had in fact made three films prior to this (a bizarre short in 1934, a 40-minute film that was intended to be part of a hybrid stage play/movie performance in 1938, and he narrated a version of Swiss Family Robinson a year before Kane came out), but the movie almost destroyed his career.
    • Sadly averted for Dorothy Comingore, who delivered a powerful performance as Susan Alexander but saw her career derailed by alcoholism and poor decision-making even before it was permanently ended when she was put on the Hollywood blacklist.
  • Throw It In: Joseph Cotten stumbling over the word "criticism". It was a genuine flub, but fortunately both he and Welles stayed in character (albeit Welles grins) and Cotten follows up with a brilliant ad-lib "I AM drunk", so it stayed in the film as-is.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Originally, the movie was going to be based on the life of Howard Hughes with Cotten in the lead. Eventually, Welles realized nobody would believe most of the stuff Hughes had done, so he decided to make Kane a media baron instead.
    • Welles was originally going to make an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness but the executives didn't believe they could possibly stretch a budget far enough to cover it, so he made ''Kane'' instead.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/CitizenKane