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Years of discord to end when ‘Citizen Kane’ comes to Hearst Castle
San Luis Obisbo Tribune ^ | 2012 | Kathe Tanner

Posted on 03/05/2012 12:26:49 PM PST by Borges

For seven decades, two names have been inextricably linked yet permanently separated by fiction and fury: William Randolph Hearst and “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ scathing, inventive movie that appeared to indict Hearst’s lifestyle as a mega-wealthy publisher and film producer in the 1920s through 1940s. The standoff will end March 9, when, with the blessings of the Hearst family, “Citizen Kane” will air on the five-story-tall screen in the Hearst Castle Visitor Center as part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Film star Harrison Ford is to present an award before the showing.

The clash between Hearst and Welles began even before the 1941 release of the movie, which many people assumed to be an accurate depiction of Hearst, and continued beyond the publisher’s death in 1951 and the 1958 conversion of his lavish San Simeon estate into one of California’s most popular state parks. Hearst never saw the movie, according to longtime companion Marion Davies, but he was deeply angered and hurt by what he heard about it. Major theater companies declined to show the film, fearing Hearst’s 28 papers — which reached 20 million readers — would write about the private lives and political sympathies of Hollywood celebrities. Fearful of damage to the film industry, a group of industry executives tried unsuccessfully to buy and destroy negatives of the film — which the American Film Institute has since named the best American movie ever made. “(The movie) bothered W.R. in a large way,” his great-grandson Steve Hearst, a Hearst Corp. vice president, told The Tribune on Friday. “He realized people would be making a judgment about him based on the film.” Festival organizers say they were surprised when Steve Hearst heartily endorsed the proposal to screen the film at the theater. The younger Hearst has seen the film “a number of times” and considers it “a classic, entertaining American film,” he said. “I obviously don’t believe it to be an accurate depiction of W.R. or his love for the property” in San Simeon, or “his lifestyle, associations and demeanor.” The film “shows the Castle as a dark, gloomy, nasty place,” Hearst recalled. “Everybody knows what it really is like: light, lovely, sunny ... very bright, a joyous place to be.” He said he believed it was time to provide people with an opportunity to see “Citizen Kane” in San Simeon, in its proper context, in part because so many people have used the film to form erroneous opinions about W.R. Hearst, Davies and their life there. Writing about the film in 1975, Welles listed some of the differences between Hearst’s real life and the movie’s characters and plot. “There are parallels, but these can be just as misleading as comparisons,” he wrote, claiming that, except for one line of dialogue and the art collection, “in ‘Kane’ everything was invented.” The supposed Davies character in the film — aspiring but talentless singer Susan Kane — is nothing like Davies, Welles wrote. “As one who shares much of the blame for casting another shadow — the shadow of Susan Alexander Kane ... Marion Davies was one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen.” Welles took pains to point out the differences between W.R. Hearst’s relationship with Davies in real life and the characters in the film. “Theirs is truly a love story,” Welles wrote of Hearst and Davies. “Love is not the subject of ‘Citizen Kane.’ ”


TOPICS: TV/Movies
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/05/2012 12:26:52 PM PST by Borges
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To: Borges

Xanadu

2 posted on 03/05/2012 12:31:29 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: Borges
I think it's fair to say that Hearst was the seed of inspiration for the fictionalized story of Citizen Kane.
3 posted on 03/05/2012 12:47:59 PM PST by luvbach1 (Stop the destruction in 2012 or continue the decline)
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To: Borges

Hearst Castle is an American treasure. It’s just a breathtaking place to visit.


4 posted on 03/05/2012 12:49:06 PM PST by Winstons Julia (Hello OWS? We don't need a revolution like China's; China needs a revolution like OURS.)
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To: Borges

Here’s a factoid of interest of San Diegans and visitors to San Diego’s Balboa Park. In the film, the facade of the Museum of Fine Arts doubled as the entrance to Kane’s castle.


5 posted on 03/05/2012 12:51:16 PM PST by luvbach1 (Stop the destruction in 2012 or continue the decline)
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To: Winstons Julia

It is indeed. I have visited several times over the years.


6 posted on 03/05/2012 12:53:40 PM PST by First A Patriot (Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God)
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To: re_nortex

“Rosebud”


7 posted on 03/05/2012 1:26:44 PM PST by Jmouse007 (Lord deliver us from evil, in Jesus name, amen.)
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To: Jmouse007

"You just don't know Charlie. He thought that by finishing that notice he could show me he was an honest man. He was always trying to prove something. The whole thing about Susie being an opera singer, that was trying to prove something. You know what the headline was the day before the election, "Candidate Kane found in love nest with quote, singer, unquote." He was gonna take the quotes off the singer." — Jedediah Leland (played superbly by Joseph Cotten)

8 posted on 03/05/2012 1:52:30 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: re_nortex

I’m guessing that pic is from the movie— an era far removed from present day computer graphics technology. I wonder how they did it.


9 posted on 03/05/2012 1:55:42 PM PST by Blado (Obama's brain is a coprolite from the Late Soviet Era)
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To: Blado

OK yeah ... a painted screen.

Duh.


10 posted on 03/05/2012 1:58:49 PM PST by Blado (Obama's brain is a coprolite from the Late Soviet Era)
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To: Borges

THE CHIEF: The Life of William Randolph Hearst
David Nasaw
Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000

Chapter 6 – Hearst in New York: “Staging a Spectacle”

Pp. 102-103

The measure of a commercially successful newspaper is not simply how well it report the big events, but what it does when there are no dying statesmen, bloodthirsty desperadoes, or heinous crimes to write about. Hearst succeeded in New York not only because he knew how to report the big stories, but because he was a master at constructing news from nothing. News is not a phenomenon that exists in the real world, waiting to be discovered. Wars have been fought, tornadoes have raged, and hundreds of thousands of innocents have been slaughtered without ever becoming “news.” An event becomes news only when journalists and editors decide to report it. More often than not, what determines whether an occurrence is newsworthy or not is the ease with which it can be plotted and narrated so that readers will want to read about it. If there are no discernable heroes, or villains, no mysteries to uncover, no climaxes, denouements, triumphs or failures, if no one wins or loses in the end, then there is no story to tell.

Hearst’s favorite news stories were front-page tragedies of conspiracy in which the public was the innocent victim, the police and city officials the corrupt villains, and the Journal reporter the brave heroes.


11 posted on 03/05/2012 2:02:18 PM PST by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: Blado
I’m guessing that pic is from the movie— an era far removed from present day computer graphics technology. I wonder how they did it.

Part of the lasting appeal of Citizen Kane is the numerous innovations it either introduced or brought to the forefront. Its use of angles, shadow, deep focus and others makes it interesting from it technical aspects alone. It also was among the earliest to make use of overlays to show a time transition.

Even the opening with "News on The March" was an attention grabber because it literally blasts into the first few minutes if the film.

That said, I think the reason why some people don't enjoy Citizen Kane is that they treat it as holy relic. They're so busy studying it for its technique that they miss what, at its base, is a very good yarn well told by Orson Welles, written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and superbly acted by the Mercury Players. Mercury Players

12 posted on 03/05/2012 2:09:04 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: Borges

Actually I think Marion Davis was pretty comedy actress I been seeing her silent movies on TCM they are pretty good

I think film historians are re looking at her career she wasn’t that bad


13 posted on 03/05/2012 2:11:29 PM PST by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile)
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To: Borges

14 posted on 03/05/2012 2:39:11 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Borges
Major theater companies declined to show the film, fearing Hearst’s 28 papers — which reached 20 million readers — would write about the private lives and political sympathies of Hollywood celebrities.

Nowadays, that'd be considered good publicity.

Assuming anyone read newspapers anymore.

How times have changed.

15 posted on 03/05/2012 2:43:44 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Winstons Julia

It sure is. I take it we have both visited it?


16 posted on 03/05/2012 3:03:32 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Borges

It sounds to me like Steve Hearst is taking a practical, common sense approach to the subject.


17 posted on 03/05/2012 3:10:26 PM PST by GreenHornet
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To: re_nortex

18 posted on 03/05/2012 3:20:59 PM PST by So Cal Rocket (Task 1: Accomplished, Task 2: Hold them Accountable!)
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To: re_nortex

“Cost: no man can say!”


19 posted on 03/05/2012 3:30:16 PM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: re_nortex

Years ago my wife and I rented Citizen Kane to see what we had been missing.

I don’t recall much of the movie now, other than it was boring and I didn’t get it. I wonder if watching it with another 10 years on me might help?


20 posted on 03/05/2012 3:40:51 PM PST by 21twelve
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To: Borges
About ten years ago, I was at a movie collectors show, walking around the autograph room checking out the sad spectacle of faded celebrities hawking signed photos ("Wow, Edy Williams needs to use some sunscreen").

Back in the corner of the room, though, I saw John Agar, looking frail and sitting with a woman who I assumed (correctly) was his wife. I started chatting with him about his appearance in one of my favorite films, John Ford's "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," and I bought a picture from it that he autographed to me. As he was signing "God Bless, John Agar," I noticed that there was one stack of photos on the table from "Citizen Kane," a shot of Welles with the dancing girls. I looked up at Agar's wife and asked, "Are you in this picture?" She smiled broadly and pointed at one of the girls. "That's me." We spent the next five minutes talking about Kane and what a nice guy Welles was.

I heard that she died a few months later, and Agar not long after that

21 posted on 03/05/2012 3:53:20 PM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: Cyber Liberty

Yes. Who wouldn’t kill for a party at the indoor pool?


22 posted on 03/05/2012 3:54:07 PM PST by Winstons Julia (Hello OWS? We don't need a revolution like China's; China needs a revolution like OURS.)
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To: 21twelve
Years ago my wife and I rented Citizen Kane to see what we had been missing.

I don’t recall much of the movie now, other than it was boring and I didn’t get it. I wonder if watching it with another 10 years on me might help?

To expand on what I wrote in this thread, just watch it on its own terms. Try to avoid treating it as something to study, a work of art or an academic exercise. Dare I say, don't treat it as an object to be "appreciated" but just kick back and let the story flow.

Whether or not Citizen Kane is going to appeal after 10 years of aging is an open question. It will be interesting to hear back from you after viewing it anew.

I'll add that my tastes in movies often leaves my friends and colleagues out in the cold. My personal preference is for dialog-driven films with deep character development.

Near the top of my list are Judgment at Nuremberg and Robert Duvall's Oscar-winning role in Tender Mercies. After inviting a close friend and his wife over for dinner and movies, they were stifling yawns not long into Judgment. The only spark of fascination they showed was when they saw one of the Nazi defendants, played by Werner Klemperer, which elicited "Ooh...Colonel Klink!".

As their eyes were glazing over, I switched the DVD over to Tender Mercies. In spite of being filmed not too far from here, their interest was close to nil. Some people just prefer exploding cars and space aliens zotting people, all in 5.1 Surround Sound, with plenty of CGI, of course.

Don't take me as film snob though. I do get a kick out of Meet the Parents and other such fare where I can disengage for a while.


23 posted on 03/05/2012 4:00:38 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: Winstons Julia

You betcha. I thought the outdoor set of pools was cool, then I saw the indoor one. Wow.


24 posted on 03/05/2012 4:04:45 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: re_nortex

I imagine that was a lot of it - I do prefer action. Although I really enjoy the old silent films - but of course that is ALL action.

Might need to try Citizen Kane again - and if you hadn’t mentioned all of the new techniques, etc. it used, I would have just viewed it as another film. I didn’t realize it was so ground breaking in those respects!


25 posted on 03/05/2012 4:08:12 PM PST by 21twelve
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
We spent the next five minutes talking about Kane and what a nice guy Welles was.

That's not the first time I've heard that beneath his gruff exterior, Orson Welles was generally kind to people, both those he worked with and to strangers as well. As recounted to me, he was a very driven man who wanted the best in his craft but did have patience with others.

And of course, there's the Paul Masson pitches. Ahhh...the French!

26 posted on 03/05/2012 4:13:33 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: re_nortex
I always like Welles' line "The writer needs a pen, the painter a brush, and the filmmaker...an army."

Have you heard his rant on Birdseye frozen peas?

27 posted on 03/05/2012 4:40:10 PM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: re_nortex

I always wonder what that couple sitting next to Welles holding the bottle are thinking.


28 posted on 03/05/2012 4:43:35 PM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: Cyber Liberty

The other thing that struck me was the sheer multitude of just beautiful European antiques.

You’d see something stuck away in a corner... and think, “If that was sitting in an empty room, it would be a work of awe.”


29 posted on 03/05/2012 4:43:49 PM PST by Winstons Julia (Hello OWS? We don't need a revolution like China's; China needs a revolution like OURS.)
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: All
Due to a botch on my part, post #30, which was meant for FReepmail got into this thread. It's a very nasty, X-rated clip and I urge you not to listen if crude language is offensive to you.

My apologies to all and I asked the mods to pull it.

31 posted on 03/05/2012 5:04:03 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: Winstons Julia

The mansion is definately a sight to behold! Funniest part of one of our tours was my husband attempting to take a photo of one of the many tapestries hanging on a wall.
He was admonished to NOT take any photos as the flash would speed up the fading of the fabric, to which my husband asked, why is it hanging in direct sunlight?
We also took notice of the aged wine sitting upright on a ledge with a light above it! Crazy.

I too loved loved loved the indoor pool, I could have spent hours in that lap of luxury.


32 posted on 03/05/2012 6:25:38 PM PST by AllAmericanGirl44
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