When the 24-year-old Orson Welles arrived in Hollywood he was given a lucrative contract by RKO, despite having never made a film before. His contract gave him complete freedom to make his first film. The film was called Citizen Kane, with the Swedish title “En sensation”. After seeing The Battle over Citizen Kane one realizes the most sensational thing about Citizen Kane is that it was released at all. Still today, it is seen as one of the best films ever to meet an audience. Lennon and Epstein's film does not claim to be a biography of the life of Orson Welles. It is what its title suggests: a behind the scenes look at the ruthless battle between Orson Welles and the 76-year old newspaper mogul William Randolph Hurst, on whom the film's main character is based. Before Citizen Kane, Welles was often successful through controversy, culminating in the notorious radio play about a Marsian invasion. He was often involved in several projects simultaneously. To be at two places at once he rented an ambulance: ''I discovered that there was no law in New York that you had to be sick to travel in an ambulance''. Citizen Kane was also a controversial artistic success, but Welles paid a high price for it. The Battle over Citizen Kane tells of the theatre-loving Hearst's background from puppet theatre to the dictator of the ''yellow press'' - aided by his own personal cinema and other key people. The early years of child-prodigy Welles are also described. He was declared a genius at an early age and he was seen in an almost mythical light. Lennon and Epstein alternate newsreels, interviews and still photographs with excerpts from Citizen Kane. Spicy facts like that ''Rosebud'' was originally what Hearst called one of his lover's, the actress Marion Davies, more intimate parts. One of the more interesting interviews is with Orson Welles' Set Designer, Sam Leve, whose honest enthusiasm makes a pleasant change from the traditionally sober conversations. The filmmaker himself shows that the film about Charles Foster Kane, originally a reflection on Hearst's life, became an unconscious biography of Orson Welles himself. Many interesting facts are presented. Much of it has been told before, but it is presented here as a collection. Next time you see Citizen Kane it will be with a new insight. Above all you will understand why Citizen Kane only won one Oscar, for Best manuscript, out of ten nominations. PK

Titel
The Battle over Citizen Kane
Regissör
Thomas Lennon & Michael Epstein
Längd
108 min
Festival
1996
Sektion
Collage
Språk
English
Premiärstatus
Skandinavisk premiär
Produktionsår
1995
Skådespelare
Documentary
Producent
Thomas Lennon & Michael Epstein
Manus
Richard Ben Cramer & Thomas Lennon
Musik
Brian Keane

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