Home » Citizen Kane: Hearst or Welles

Citizen Kane: Hearst or Welles

Any man who has the brains to think and the nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster. (48 Williams) This quote applies to two men, who in their lives were enemies, but were more alike than either thought possible. Two men whose names are recognizable even today, years after both of their deaths. Two kings of the trade who used different methods in trying to exploit the other. William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles were both powerful men in history in their own right.

One was a pioneer of journalism, while the other revolutionized he movie industry. The film Citizen Kane, one of Orson Welles and the film industries greatest accomplishments, could be said was a film that used the main character to exploit the personality of Hearst, which can easily be pointed out, but it was also a film depicting the personality of Orson Welles, as well. It is hard to see ones self as to look backwards without turning around. (57 Williams) William Randolph Hearst was born on April 29, 1863. His father was a multi-millionaire miner named George Hearst.

His mother, Phoebe Hearst, was a school teacher from Missouri. George Hearst became a multi-millionaire y traveling through the West and becoming partners in three of the largest mining discoveries in American history. As a repayment of a gambling debt, George Hearst, in 1880, accepted a small newspaper. During the mid-1800s, William Randolph Hearst, now a student at Harvard University, wrote to his father demanding to take over the newspaper. His father, on the other hand, preferred William to manage his mining industries, but William overlooked his fathers wishes and took over the San Francisco Examiner in 1887.

William Hearst showed a lot of adaptability and was determined to make the Examiner popular and a big selling newspaper. Hearst used his wealth to create a very powerful newspaper. He hired the best writers and acquired the best equipment possible at the time. He went on to publish and expose corruption and stories filled with drama and inspiration, or sensationalism. In the late 1800s, Hearst ended up into a head-to-head circulation war with his former mentor Joseph Pulitzer, owner of the New York World. To increase their popularity, they both started to include about the Cuban insurrection.

Many stories in both newspapers greatly exaggerated their claims to make their stories even more sensational, such as stories ublishing the images of Spanish troops placing Cubans into concentration camps where they suffered and died from disease or hunger. Hearst beat out Pulitzer in the circulation race, when he published a story of how the Cubans sunk the U. S. S. Maine. This was only days after Hearst was quoted saying that if you want war, you will get one. This kind of publicity for the American entrance into war, caused Congress to declare war on Spain.

This showed the world the power that one man had. Years went by, and Hearst met and soon married a want to be star named Marion Davies. Marion Davies would ave never been known if she was never married to Hearst. With his money, he tried to make her a star, but the talent just was not there. Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on May 6, 1915. His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist. He was gifted in many arts, such as playing the piano, doing magic, and painting, as a child. Soon, however, two hardships hit young Orson.

His mother died, when he was only eight years old. He ended up having to travel with his father, but it did not last long forever. His father died only four years later. He became the ward of Chicagos Dr. Maurice Bernstein. In 1931, he graduated from Todd School in Woodstock, Illinois. Several years later, recommendations from a couple of significant people, gave Orson an admittance into Katherine Cornells Road Company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt, from Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet, in 1934. That same year, he married and appeared on radio for the first time.

In radio, Welles became famous for his War of the Worlds, where he created paranoia by making people believe that there were aliens that were attacking the Earth. Radio also helped him in movies. In radio, Welles had developed a special technique using a variety f voices, each saying a sentence or sometimes merely a fragment of a sentence. This he carried over into film, photographing the various speakers in close-up against a blank background. Put together in quick succession, the shots gave impression of a whole town talking.

Welles also pioneered the extremely efficient technique of positioning the camera at a particular angle to the character so that the character can appear to be important or weak. By placing the camera below the person, he would seem taller and more threatening. If the camera was placed above the person, it would make the character seem small and weak. He also created, which was shown in the movie Citizen Kane, that shows a character talking engulfed in shadows, instead of the spotlight. These were just some of the techniques, that Welles created, that helped to revolutionize the film industry.

The film had great writing, great directing, and had especially great actors. The actors were all extremely talented and worthy of the stage, yet most impressive was the fact that most of them, including Welles, had never set foot on a movie set before. They had the voices that America had been listening to for years from the Mercury Theater, which Welles became founder of in 937, but whose faces were never seen before. This great movies is Citizen Kane. A movie that was used to exploit the personality of a journalism giant, or the mind of a genius. Citizen Kane was Welles greatest achievement and a landmark of cinema history.

The narrative charts the rise to power of a newspaper publisher whose wealth and power ultimately leave him alone in his castle-like refuge, Xanadu. Every aspect of the production marked an advance in film language: the deep focus, deeply shadowed cinematography; the discontinuous narrative; the innovative use of sound and score; the ensemble cting forged in the fires of Welles Mercury Theater, made this movie great. (19 Murray) Citizen Kane is, what some would consider, the greatest film ever made. It is about Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy and powerful man who owns the Inquirer.

It tells the life of Kane from his childhood to his death. The movie starts with the death of Kane, and with a group of people who want to know what Kane meant with his dying words, ROSEBUD. While they are looking for the answer, they come across several friends of Kane and former wives, and the audience is told the story of Kanes life through these people. Citizen Kane is a brutal portrait of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. (19 Murray) There are many things in common with Charles Foster Kane, who is played by Orson Welles, himself, and the media Mongol, William Randolph Hearst.

Both, for example, were born into wealth. Hearsts father was a millionaire because of his mining industries and Kane was given, as a child, to a wealthy banker. Their education was also similar, in that both attended the distinguished Harvard University, even though Kane was also in many a student at many other distinguished universities, having been expelled from many of them. Many similarities come when these two are adults as well. This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man. 40 Williams) This is one thing that both Hearst and Kane did not do. They put on a show for people, never showing who they really were. Hearst did it by wanting to destroy the movie, Citizen Kane, not wanting anyone to know that he was like the main character. Kane showed it by always telling people his truth, making them think that he was an honest man, as his friend Leland said. Even their negative qualities were similar. Hearst was married and then cheated on his wife for a younger woman who had dreams of becoming a star, Marion Davies.

Kane was married and cheated on his wife with a younger woman who also had the dream of becoming a star, Susan. Both gave up doing what their guardians told them to become to become publishers of newspapers. The two men bought the best writers in the world and used sensationalism to sell their newspapers and to enlarge their circulation. Finally, the last thing these two men had in common was that they named their children after themselves. Hearsts son and Kanes son were both juniors. Another person that Kane can be used to represent is the man who played Kane, Orson Welles.

People only see what they are prepared to see. (59 Williams) The people, at the time when Citizen Kane first came out, only thought that the main character, Charles Foster Kane, was a portrayal of William Hearst. Kane, however, is also a representative of Orson Welles. There are many similarities between the two, but the movie must be closely watched to notice them. One of the many similarities between Kane and Welles is that both lost their parents. Kane lost his parents because they gave him to the wealthy banker nd Welles lost both of his parents because of their deaths.

Kane and Welles were both very cocky and headstrong. They both believed that they were able to make people do think the same way that they do. Kane had his newspaper which he used to try to get votes when he ran, he used it to boosts Susans career, and he used it to create wars and make news happen. Welles had his radio and movies. He used radio to cause chaos when he broadcasted his War of the Worlds, he used Citizen Kane to exploit the personality of William Randolph Hearst, and he used his techniques with the camera to make people think ho were the weak and who were the strong in his movies.

Finally, the last thing that were similar between these two characters were that they lost their childhood and missed it more than anything else. Kanes last words, ROSEBUD, was the name of his sled when he was a child, showing the audience that, though he was rich and was powerful as an adult, the fact that he lost his parents was still with him. Welles lost his childhood as soon as his mother died. After that, all he did was travel with his father, and then his father died. Welles shows people that he misses his childhood because he tries to have as much fun ith what he is doing.

This is seen with the radio broadcast, War of the Worlds. Who does Charles Foster Kane represent? Is it William Randolph Hearst or is it Orson Welles? The answer seems to be that he represents both men. At first, it seems that Kane is a portrayal of Hearst, which in fact he is, that is what Orson wanted Kane to be. Kane, however, has many traits that Welles has as well. This shows us that two men, who in their lives were enemies, but were more alike than either thought possible, came to create one of the greatest movies ever, with a very strong central character who has qualities that both possess.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.