Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

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hearthesilence
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#251 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:51 pm

Imaginary or speculative works based on real life characters still have some basis in reality and it's always something you have to navigate - obviously the dramatization is all fiction, that's inherent in the whole concept, but unless it's needed to contribute to an overall point, it can still be lazy to disregard any and all real life details simply because "hey this story's imaginary, so everything can be made up however we want." It's one scene and not exactly a fatal flaw, but it was no surprise when the same writers wrote a far less successful film in Man on the Moon because they seemed to have no idea where to go with the real life details except re-enact them - the excuse one of them gave even sounded like outright laziness (i.e. it's impossible to figure out Andy Kaufman, so we decided why bother? His life was entertaining, isn't that enough?)

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knives
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#252 Post by knives » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:55 pm

Why would they need any basis?

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hearthesilence
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#253 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:00 pm

Because it's inherent in the whole idea.

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knives
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#254 Post by knives » Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:39 pm

How? Some of the best pieces of art based on historical people has nothing to do with reality let alone those historical people. Would The Social Network be any better if it stayed closer to reality?

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PfR73
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#255 Post by PfR73 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:06 pm

Or for that matter, would Citizen Kane?

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#256 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:45 pm

Citizen Kane is based on a composite of real people, not purporting to be "historical" or "biographical"... (Unlike Amadeus, for instance)

beamish14
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#257 Post by beamish14 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:56 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:45 pm
Citizen Kane is based on a composite of real people, not purporting to be "historical" or "biographical"... (Unlike Amadeus, for instance)
Amadeus is not, strictly speaking, a biographical work, either. Peter Shaffer limned the surface of real figures' lives to devise a work of his own. It's so brilliant and popular, though, that some confuse facets of the characters from the play/film with research-corroborated fact.

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knives
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#258 Post by knives » Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:00 pm

And Ed Wood fits that description as well.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#259 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:04 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:39 pm
How? Some of the best pieces of art based on historical people has nothing to do with reality let alone those historical people. Would The Social Network be any better if it stayed closer to reality?
I was trying to address that when I said "unless it's needed to contribute to an overall point." My Darling Clementine has a lot of fabrications, but virtually all of them contribute to what Ford has to say about civilization and frontier life. Doc Holliday dying at the O.K. Corral (and virtually his whole story in the film) is a fabrication but it fits perfectly and very effectively into that. What comes across is pretty rich and moving, and it works great.

Something like the joke about Heston felt cheap and detracts from the intended point because that was actually an example of Welles's creative freedom. But again to be clear, I liked Ed Wood, so I don't want to blow up one flawed scene at the expense of the whole film.

I also like The Social Network but I also think it has its share of faults, some of which may not even be relevant to how far it strays from reality. I will say that one fabrication (the girl he dated at the beginning) produced an excellent opening scene while inspiring a lame ending, so it can go both ways.

And what Michael said about Citizen Kane - drawing inspiration from real life (especially a blatant composite) is not really the same as something that directly uses real people and stories. (I'm actually not a fan of Amadeus, at least the film, though what comes to mind has little to do with what's fictionalized...it's just not an interesting film to me.)

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#260 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:23 pm

And then there's Mank. Which for me has less do with Welles and Citizen Kane and more to do with Mank's career and how he navigated through old Hollywood. I would think there are fabrications galore in this.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#261 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:31 pm

Except Schaffer and Forman insisted (in an old commentary track, that they had captured the "reality" of Mozart and the nature of his genius. Very arrogant attitude, I thought. ;-)

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hearthesilence
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#262 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:45 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:23 pm
And then there's Mank. Which for me has less do with Welles and Citizen Kane and more to do with Mank's career and how he navigated through old Hollywood. I would think there are fabrications galore in this.
I think I'd agree with this. I will add that what it got wrong about Welles (or rather the authorship of the film's script, implying it hadn't been thoroughly changed by Welles) isn't a big part or even an interesting part of the film. Unfortunately getting it wrong led to a whole lot of grief that took attention away from Mank's main strengths.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#263 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:58 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:45 pm
FrauBlucher wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:23 pm
And then there's Mank. Which for me has less do with Welles and Citizen Kane and more to do with Mank's career and how he navigated through old Hollywood. I would think there are fabrications galore in this.
I think I'd agree with this. I will add that what it got wrong about Welles (or rather the authorship of the film's script, implying it hadn't been thoroughly changed by Welles) isn't a big part or even an interesting part of the film. Unfortunately getting it wrong led to a whole lot of grief that took attention away from Mank's main strengths.
Hear, hear! And ironically from some of the same folks who were willing and able to give rope to The Social Network's allegorical narrative to boot!

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knives
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#264 Post by knives » Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:05 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:04 pm
knives wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:39 pm
How? Some of the best pieces of art based on historical people has nothing to do with reality let alone those historical people. Would The Social Network be any better if it stayed closer to reality?
I was trying to address that when I said "unless it's needed to contribute to an overall point." My Darling Clementine has a lot of fabrications, but virtually all of them contribute to what Ford has to say about civilization and frontier life. Doc Holliday dying at the O.K. Corral (and virtually his whole story in the film) is a fabrication but it fits perfectly and very effectively into that. What comes across is pretty rich and moving, and it works great.

Something like the joke about Heston felt cheap and detracts from the intended point because that was actually an example of Welles's creative freedom. But again to be clear, I liked Ed Wood, so I don't want to blow up one flawed scene at the expense of the whole film.

I also like The Social Network but I also think it has its share of faults, some of which may not even be relevant to how far it strays from reality. I will say that one fabrication (the girl he dated at the beginning) produced an excellent opening scene while inspiring a lame ending, so it can go both ways.

And what Michael said about Citizen Kane - drawing inspiration from real life (especially a blatant composite) is not really the same as something that directly uses real people and stories. (I'm actually not a fan of Amadeus, at least the film, though what comes to mind has little to do with what's fictionalized...it's just not an interesting film to me.)
So, if I am understanding correctly, fabrications are okay if you like the end result and bad if you don’t?

To ensure it’s clear I’m not being facetious, I genuinely believe the scene in Ed Wood benefits the film tremendously and to bring up how Touch of Evil offered in production in artistic freedom wouldn’t have fit the narrative need of that scene. I disagree about the scene’s worth, likewise the ending of The Social Network which I find one of the best endings of the last decade, and while your opinion is valid to you it doesn’t make a strategy of fictitiousness invalid unless that’s true across the whole spectrum which you admit is not the case.

It sounds like your love of the facts in this case prevent you from loving the scene which lies about them, but that seems to speak more about you than the scene in question.

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MichaelB
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Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#265 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 2:03 am

beamish14 wrote:
Amadeus is not, strictly speaking, a biographical work, either. Peter Shaffer limned the surface of real figures' lives to devise a work of his own. It's so brilliant and popular, though, that some confuse facets of the characters from the play/film with research-corroborated fact.
And it’s worth noting that after the play was criticised for historical inaccuracy, Shaffer’s response was to come up with a new scene for the film that even people with the sketchiest imaginable knowledge of Mozart’s life knew was absolute cobblers - the whole Requiem dictation scene.

But people who po-facedly quibble about the facts always seem to forget that the film is explicitly staged as the reminiscences of a man incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital and whose status as the archetypal “unreliable narrator” could hardly be more firmly established right from the start.

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colinr0380
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#266 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:43 am

Indeed, and Salieri goes from one biased extreme of the other from wanting to destroy from his professional jealousy to when having to come to terms that Mozart's legacy is assured needing Mozart to be a genius because only someone preternaturally gifted could have bested him, and it was just Salieri's poor luck that he happened to exist at the same period of time. Anyone else would have been overshadowed in the same situation that Salieri was in. Basically Salieri is in the position that Brian was of his life constantly being a bit overshadowed by Jesus in that Monty Python film.

Often people who get so famous get that way not just from pure adulation but from a mixture of getting both elevated and vilified by others pursuing their own agendas and weaving their own stories about them to suit their own particular needs at the time. Which takes us back to Citizen Kane.
___

Another issue the above comments brought to mind is that really the main purpose of a film like Amadeus is not just scrupulous historical accuracy but an attempt to capture that particular psychological reaction, albeit within a particularly evocative setting. Although speaking as someone whose entire knowledge of Mozart comes from the film it has kind of ended up being forced into acting as a teaching tool as well, but that's really more my fault than the film specifically pursuing an agenda of being a one stop shop for Mozart facts and I should need to remain conscious of that. It is also why I get concerned a bit at films getting used as 'easy teaching tools' in schools. I mean it was nice to spend a few untaxing History lessons back in my schooldays sitting watching Gandhi and Schindler's List rather than 'learning', but that sort of pushes a dramatised film as being a historical record without any deeper analysis than that, which in a way ends up both denigrating the historical event (because students might just end up remembering the film's version of events than analysing primary sources) and the film too, because it might be trying to do something thematically or psychologically complicated that does not particularly have anything to do with being scrupulously accurate to the historical record. A film can be a terrible version of history but still interesting for other reasons. And some films get so calcified into their classroom usage as 'scrupulously accurate historical artifacts' (which they never are, or could be) that they end up not being able to exist as pieces of art in their own right.

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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#267 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:33 am

MichaelB -- Salieri's historical mental collapse (and the fact that he was reminiscing, so to speak) initially caused me to cut this some slack. It was only when I heard Forman and Schaffer talking about the "truth" of the film that I snapped. ;-)

For the record, Salieri supported Mozart steadily throughout Mozart's years in Vienna -- just like he supported all promising younger composers there.

One thing I like about Kane is the fact that one of the non-Hearst models for Kane was Chicago-related and involved with building the Opera House there (in part because of his infatuation with a soprano he wanted to promote).

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hearthesilence
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#268 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:18 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:05 pm
So, if I am understanding correctly, fabrications are okay if you like the end result and bad if you don’t?

To ensure it’s clear I’m not being facetious, I genuinely believe the scene in Ed Wood benefits the film tremendously and to bring up how Touch of Evil offered in production in artistic freedom wouldn’t have fit the narrative need of that scene. I disagree about the scene’s worth, likewise the ending of The Social Network which I find one of the best endings of the last decade, and while your opinion is valid to you it doesn’t make a strategy of fictitiousness invalid unless that’s true across the whole spectrum which you admit is not the case.

It sounds like your love of the facts in this case prevent you from loving the scene which lies about them, but that seems to speak more about you than the scene in question.
I already explained that it has to do with looking at the intention and how it sits with what the film has to say. (To go back to Holliday, it's hard to see how even IRL he would've fit in the society Ford envisions - having him die at the gunfight or of TB much later doesn't change that.) That's not a simple matter of "liking." And you need to stop misinterpreting points that I've already explained at length - I said what was done to Heston was an example of artistic freedom, that doesn't translate into Welles should have pointed that out to Wood, especially in the context of what I said before: they don't need to compromise what they wanted to say in that scene, they just shouldn't be sloppy about what details they use to make that point. And honestly making this personal at the end pretty much sums up why this argument is no longer worth continuing given the type of engagement here.


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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#270 Post by yoloswegmaster » Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:21 pm

Does anyone know if the 75th Anniversary bluray is from a different 4K restoration than the one used for the 70th Anniversary blu? I'm only asking since I noticed that a theater in Florida was playing a 4K DCP of it, and a representative from there told me that it was created from an 8K downres to 4K scan from the original nitrate 35mm print and believed that it was made for the 75th Anniversary.

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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#271 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:41 pm

What exactly is "the original nitrate 35mm print" in this context?

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yoloswegmaster
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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#272 Post by yoloswegmaster » Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:01 pm

I have no idea. This was the information was provided to the representative from a WB employee.

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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#273 Post by RyanGallagher » Sat Jun 26, 2021 6:10 pm

yoloswegmaster wrote:
Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:21 pm
Does anyone know if the 75th Anniversary bluray is from a different 4K restoration than the one used for the 70th Anniversary blu? I'm only asking since I noticed that a theater in Florida was playing a 4K DCP of it, and a representative from there told me that it was created from an 8K downres to 4K scan from the original nitrate 35mm print and believed that it was made for the 75th Anniversary.
I’m pretty sure they are the same discs.

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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#274 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:13 am

I'm trying to think of added supplements that Criterion could put on the release. Would Too Much Johnson be available for them to include? And what about The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program?

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Re: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

#275 Post by RyanGallagher » Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:59 am

FrauBlucher wrote:
Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:13 am
I'm trying to think of added supplements that Criterion could put on the release. Would Too Much Johnson be available for them to include? And what about The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program?
Maybe also The Eyes of Orson Welles?

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