HIDDEN GEMS: 1. CITIZEN KANE

The first in a news series bringing to light little known filmic gems and rarities that have somehow managed to slip through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome. 

1. Citizen Kane
 
Made in 1941, this ‘black and white’ film (as they were known) was the cinematic debut of renowned radio actor Orson Welles.
Although largely forgotten today, Orson Welles was quite the celebrity in his time, not only for his many talents as an actor and director, but also for his uncanny ability of eating all the pies and leaving nothing for his then wife Rita Hayworth.
The film sketches a posthumous portrait [SPOILER ALERT for that] of a Rupert Murdoch like media mogul – based apparently on someone called Hearst – whose rise to power leads to loneliness, obesity and morbid nostalgia. Now this might not sound appealing, but don’t worry, it really is worth a watch.
Why? Well, for one thing it’s told in a jigsaw mess of contradictory narrators as an anonymous reporter seeks the meaning of Kane’s last word ‘Rosebud’. With cameraman Greg Toland, Welles experimented with a whole series of tricks and even today the film looks fresh and original, even though it is undeniably in Black and White.
It might be difficult to get a copy, but if you ever have the chance of seeing it, don’t listen to the naysayers of the lame-stream critical community, give it a chance and you shall be rewarded.

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES I

January 19th,1940
 
Around noon Henry Fonda appeared at my door dressed as a minstrel. Still in my pyjamas, I ushered Henry into my hotel room, offered him a glass of sherry and enquired as to why he was sporting such an elaborate costume. He informed me that he had recently ingested a large quantity of a substance called Lysergic acid diethylamide and could he trouble me for a glass of cold water and a suitcase filled with lemons.


I had a rather fine meat pie for supper and two helpings of bread and butter pudding.
 
January 22nd1940
 
My movie is almost finished but I am yet to decide on a title. My current favourites are as follows:
 
The William Randolph Hearst Story
The Randy Hearst Story
Hearst
Citizen Hearst
Get Hearst
& Sleepless in Seattle
 
I’ve just ordered the beef stroganoff and the cook recommended the trifle for dessert.
 
January 24th1940
 
Rita said that my sexual performance is hindered when I consume Sherry so I’ve decided to switch to Brandy. She also demanded that I refrain from quoting Chekov during congress and suggested that some choice passages from Lady Chatterley’s Lover would be more appropriate. When I informed her that I would never stoop so low as to utter a single word written by that talentless hack D.H Lawrence, she became upset and said she was going to stay at her mother’s for a few days.
 
The salmon was a little dry so I had to be over generous with the dill but the profiteroles were majestic.