Hello, everybody. Your classic movie guys Joe Morella and Frank Segers back again with the ANSWERS to that Citizen Kane quizlet we ran on March 30.
OK, now we can determine just how much you really do know about this great classic that we cannot get enough of. Here we go:
1) Question: Orson Welles is credited as the producer of Citizen Kane. But there was another individual deeply involved in the production process. Who was he, and what did he do? — (1) George Shaefer, RKO Pictures studio boss from 1938 to 1942, who gave Welles maximum freedom on the picture; 2) actor-director John Houseman, Welles’ Mercury Theater partner who is an uncredited contributor to the movie’s screenplay; 3) Herman Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of credit with Welles; or 4) Joseph Cotten, who also wrote much of his own dialogue in the picture.
Answer: 2) John Houseman, who acted as de facto producer early on by staying with screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz in a Victorville, California ranch while he worked on the Citizen Kane script. This pre-production isolation north of Los Angeles kept Mankiewicz’s concentration on writing and not on booze. The result won Mankiewicz (and Welles) a best original screenplay Oscar in 1942.
2) Question: Which public figure was the character of Charles Foster Kane actually based on? 1) Utilities magnate Samuel Insull; 2) newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst; 3) Orson Welles himself; or 4) MGM head Louis B. Mayer.
Answer: 2) and 3). Scriptwriter Herman Mankiewicz based the Charles Foster Kane character from the beginning on William Randolph Hearst. But as he got to know Welles more, he incorporated some of the director’s personal quirks into the character.
3) Question: The Citizen Kane cast consisted of several performers drawn from Welles’ Mercury Theater stage company. Which one of these cast members was NOT a Mercury Theater veteran? 1) Joseph Cotten; 2) William Alland; 3) Dorothy Comingore; 4) Paul Stewart; or 5) Ray Collins.
Answer: 3) Dorothy Comingore. (pictured above)
4) Question: Which one of these actresses was auditioned by Welles for the role of Charles Foster Kane’s opera-singing second wife? 1) Joan Crawford; 2) Anne Baxter; 3) Lucille Ball; or 4) Bette Davis.
Answer: 3) Lucille Ball, then under contract with RKO, the studio that made Citizen Kane.
5) Question: Which one of these male stars-in-the-making appeared in a small bit part in the ‘News On The March’ segments early in the picture? 1) Fred MacMurray; 2) Errol Flynn; 3) Alan Ladd; or 4) Preston Foster.
Answer: 3) The yet-to-become-a-star Alan Ladd.
6) Question: Citizen Kane was snubbed by the Academy Awards in 1942’s best-picture competition. Which picture walked off with the Oscar that year? 1) John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon; 2) Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion; 3) John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley; 4) Mervyn LeRoy’s Blossoms in the Dust; or 5) Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan.
Answer: 3) How Green Was My Valley.
7) Question: Orson Welles received a best-actor Oscar nomination for Citizen Kane in 1942, but lost out to which one of these actors? 1) Robert Montgomery; 2) Claude Rains; 3) Cary Grant; or 4) Gary Cooper.
Answer: 4) Gary Cooper, who won for Sergeant York.
8) Question: One of Hollywood’s most colorful character actors was cast as Signor Matiste, the singing coach to Kane’s second wife with operatic ambitions. Who was this actor, and was he really a opera singer? 1) J. Carroll Nash; 2) Sam Levine; 3) Fortunio Bonanova; or 4) Sig Ruman.
Answer: 3) the great Fortunio Bonanova, who indeed had an opera-singing backround.
9) Question: It is widely known that Citizen Kane was Welles’ debut feature, and that he was considered a ‘boy genius’ at the time he began making it. Just how old was he back then? 1) Thirty-one; 2) Twenty-five; 3) Thirty-seven; or 4) Twenty-nine.
Answer: 2) 25. Wow! Just 25.
10) Question: Finally, what was the real meaning of Rosebud? 1) Simply the name assigned to the protagonist’s prized sled he played with as a boy; 2) a anatomical reference employed by William Randolph Heart (below) to describe a private part of his mistress, Marion Davies; 3) the symbol of the dust heap a Charles Foster Kane’s life had become; or 4) none of the above as no one really knows.
Answer: We go with 3) and 4). Welles issued ponderous statements over the years reinforcing option 3). He should know, after all. But we are still not entirely convinced, thus we also chose option 4).