Sunday, September 18, 2005

Citizen Kane

Pauline Kael wrote "Raising Kane" (Limelight Editions, New York, 1984, page 17) about Orson Welles' making his classic "Citizen Kane."
She quotes William Alland's discription of the process in a magazine interview of the Directors Guild of America:
There was one scene which stands out above all others in my memory: that was the one in which Orson broke up the roomful of furniture in a rage. Orson never liked himsself as an actor. He had the idea tat he should have been feeling more, that he intellectualized too much and never achieved the emotion of losing himself in a part.
When he came to the furniture-breaking scene, he set up four cameras, because he obviously couldn't do the scene many times. He did the scene just twice, and each time he threw himself into the action with a terror I had never seen in him. It was absolutely electric; you felt as if you were in the presence of a man coming apart.
Orson staggered out of the set with his hands bleeding and his face flushed. He almost swooned, yet he was exultant. "I really felt it," he exclaimed. "I really felt it!"
Strangely, that scene didn't have the same power when it appeared on the screen. It might have been how it was cut, or because there hadn't been close-in shots to depict his rage. The scene in th picture was only a mild reflection of what I had witnessed on that movie stage.
. . .
Orson Welles would probably have to
have sprayed blood from his hands all
over the screen to get reactions
from a lot of people.
Or to be thought of as a good
movie-maker today.
Sad, isn't it?

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