The Film Citizen Kane : A Film Of All Time, And Director Orson Welles

1425 Words Sep 28th, 2015 6 Pages
Critics have called the 1941 film Citizen Kane one of the best movies of all time, and director Orson Welles’s direction is largely to thank for the work’s accolades. Citizen Kane is famous for its use of long shots, deep staging, deep focus, and, as will be considered in this paper, its lighting practices. Welles strategically lights his characters in order to develop them throughout the film; this paper will focus on three shots that show Jerry Thompson (William Alland) develop from functioning as a narrative device to directly invoking the work’s thematic meaning. Immediately following a display of a highly stylized faux-obituary for Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) (12:32), Welles cuts into a screening room lit by ambient light from the projectors that streams through two small boxes in the upper third of the screen. As the scene begins, lighting is insufficient to make out any of the characters, but as they light their cigarettes and stand, we can make out the figures of Thompson and Mr. Rawlston (Philip Van Zandt), and we are hinted to the large quantity of people in the room. As Thompson stands, he briefly faces the camera but quickly turns around and moves into a position where the stream of light outlines his figure. He looks directly at Rawlston, who is silhouetted by the overhead light and casts a shadow onto a desk lamp which Thompson turns on, illuminating several sheets of paper and some glassware. Rawlston then walks through the set, with special attention…

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