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RKO 281 (1999)

Trailer
1:15 | Trailer
Orson Welles produces his greatest film, Citizen Kane (1941), despite the opposition of the film's de facto subject, William Randolph Hearst.

Director:

Benjamin Ross

Writers:

John Logan, Richard Ben Cramer (documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane") | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Liev Schreiber ... Orson Welles
James Cromwell ... William Randolph Hearst
Melanie Griffith ... Marion Davies
John Malkovich ... Herman Mankiewicz
Brenda Blethyn ... Louella Parsons
Roy Scheider ... George Schaefer
Liam Cunningham ... Gregg Toland
David Suchet ... Louis B. Mayer
Fiona Shaw ... Hedda Hopper
Anastasia Hille ... Carole Lombard
Roger Allam ... Walt Disney
Simeon Andrews Simeon Andrews ... John Houseman
William Armstrong William Armstrong ... Mr. Lewis
Jay Benedict ... Darryl Zanuck
Ron Berglas ... David O. Selznick
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Storyline

Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his radio hoax War of the Worlds, Orson Welles is stymied on the subject for his first film. After a dinner party at Hearst Castle, during which he has a verbal altercation with William Randolph Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. The movie is about an aging newspaper publisher who controlled his enemies as ruthlessly as he controlled his friends; and whose mistress was destined for fame. When a rough cut is screened, Hearst gets wind of the movie's theme and begins a campaign to see that it is not only never publicly screened, but destroyed. Written by Greg Bulmash <greg@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Orson Welles used all his genius to create "Citizen Kane". William Randolph Hearst used all his power to try and destroy it. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some graphic sexual images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the script are various other narratives of Orson Welles' work with his Mercury Theatre and his move from New York plays to Hollywood movies (mostly under the supposed "VOICE" character). See more »

Goofs

When Orson is sketching a picture during the orchestra scene, he draws a semi-circle around the head of a lone figure on his sketch pad. When the scene cuts to the next part, the circle is not there. See more »

Quotes

[In the lobby, opening night]
Herman Mankiewicz: Rosebud's a sled! Rosebud's a sled.
See more »

Connections

References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Finale
from Citizen Kane (1941)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
See more »

User Reviews

Overrated
9 May 2000 | by JB-12See all my reviews

Citizen Kane is arguably the best film ever made. And maybe the most controversial. Still what could and should have been a great story with a great cast and the powers of HBO behind it, is at best a routine docu-drama.

So much dramatic license is taken with the plot, it tends to border on being a fictional account rather than the real story.

While some of the incidents may be accurate(like Welles meeting Hearst in a hotel elevator on the night if Kane's premier) the dialogue in that scene never took place(Hearst admonishing Welles).

In addition, Welles never got the idea of doing Kane from his attendance at a Hearst party.

The writers tried unsuccessfully to place a direct parallel between the fall of Hearst and the rise of Kane. In truth Hearst still had plenty of power in 1941 when the film was released.

Liev Schrieber was OK as Welles, his sedate moments were more like Orson's, but he goes over the top in the more vocal moments.

John Malkovich was too insecure as Herman Mankiewicz, dependent on the bottle but still a brilliant writer. James Cromwell who never seems to give a bad performance, is the best of the cast with the perfect reserve as Hearst.

The biggest error was Marion Davies. The story tried to make her into a true Susan Alexander when in truth she had some acting ability and was never as insecure as Melanie Griffith portrayed her to be.

I love Citizen Kane and have read a lot about the film and the man who made it. Those responsible for this overrated film should have done so as well.


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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

16:9
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