Historical Analysis of the Movie, Citizen Kane Essay

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Historical Analysis, Citizen Kane: Camera Movement Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles, was an exemplary and ground-breaking work. In narrative structure and film style, Welles challenged classical Hollywood conventions and opened a path for experimentation in the later 1940s. Gregg Toland’s deep-focus cinematography and Welles’ use of low-key lighting are often discussed aspects of the movie. True, these were areas of innovation, but when watching the movie in class I was particularly struck by the use of camera movement, or “mobile framing” as described in Film Art. In this historical analysis, I will take a detailed look at how Welles and Toland use camera movement to develop and challenge the Hollywood style. By referring…show more content…
Murnau, in The Last Laugh uses camera movement subjectively when the doorman is drunk and hears the sound of the trumpet. This is unique, and shows how some filmmakers used the technique for more experimental ends (just as Lang would use sound in his film M). But in America, in a film like Wings, the spectacular camera movement in the French nightclub happens only once, and it just establishes a space before the action begins. With the coming of sound, in movies like Applause, camera movement became clumsy and difficult. Mamoulian still tried it to make his film look more fluid, but it often was distracting. In Citizen Kane, Welles and Toland blend camera movement with the drama of the scenes, and use it more spectacularly. They extend the device in two directions, and in doing so they challenge Classical Hollyood’s convention of Invisible Style. A good example is the introduction to El Rancho, where Susan Alexander works as a singer. The camera begins on a sign outside the restaurant and then climbs upward to the roof. Then it glides forward, through another sign, and approaches a skylight. When it reaches the skylight, Welles uses an “invisible” dissolve to cut to a high-angle long-shot of the interior of El Rancho. This camera movement calls attention to itself as a spectacle. Not only is it unusual to begin a scene by climbing up a building and floating across its roof, the cut through the glass window (skylight) is obviously impossible. Welles uses the
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