We all agree, we think, that it’s a masterpiece.
There aren’t many movies of any age than have commanded as much commentary and printer’s ink was Orson Welles’ signature 1941 film Citizen Kane.
Sure, some may say that the same director’s The Magnificent Ambersons, made a year later, is better. But we believe classic movie fans by and large don’t buy that.
As British author-critic David Thomson — a keen analyst of all things Welles — puts it: Beyond question, ‘Kane’ is the film that has influenced film-makers in the years from 1955 onwards. The late critic Pauline Kael didn’t expatiate at length on why the movie is “the best film ever made” for nothing.
The respected British movie journal Sight & Sound has been polling international critics every 10 years since 1952, asking them to identify the best movies of all time. In 1952, the first-place choice was Italian director Victoria DeSica’s moving 1947 film, The Bicycle Thief. But Citizen Kane took over as the critics’ No. 1 choice in all the polls since, from 1962 through 2002. (The magazine is currently preparing its 2012 poll.)
Hello, everybody. Your classic movie guys Joe Morella and Frank Segers back again with a quizlet for all you Citizen Kane fans. Let’s see how much you really do know about this great classic that we cannot get enough of. Questions are in multiple choice form, and the answers will be published next week. 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.
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.
3) Question: The Citizen Kane cast consisted of many 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.