Analysing Citizen Kane
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Analysing Citizen Kane
Question No.ResponsibilityTime CodeQuestionResponse
1Kimberly?How does Welles present the setting of Xanadu in the opening moments of the film?Xanadu is presented by Welles as a dark, gothic setting. It begins with a close up of a ‘No Trespassing’ sign attached to a wire fence surrounding Xanadu symbolising Kane’s solitude. Xanadu is full of shadows which represent the darkness in his life. Xanadu essentially becomes Kane’s depleting mental state and can be seen through the crumbling of the outside structures. The use of fog adds a sense of mystery and can be seen as Kane fading away. Welles also utilises dramatic music for suspense. Xanadu is presented as a distant and depressing place.
2Amelia?How does the newsreel in the beginning of the film make Kane’s excesses clear?The newsreels focus on ‘what a man did’ not ‘who a man was’. It reveals that his life was encapsulated by his accomplishments and successes in his career and possessions. It does not explore nor depict any personal greatness as Kane was never content with himself or his acquisitions, despite how extravagant they may be. The distinct focus on material excess highlights his dire year to forever own the world to make up for something lost.
3aReece?Describe the montage depicting Kane’s death. Refer to the effect of the following:
snow falling outside the hall
3bJared00:02:30Describe the montage depicting Kane’s death. Refer to the effect of the following:
only viewing Kane’s hand and mouth
Kane whispers the words 'rosebud' as his lips tremble, he loses control of his hand and as it flinches, releases the snow globe.
3cSarah?Describe the montage depicting Kane’s death. Refer to the effect of the following:
the whispered “rosebud”
3dGeorgia?Describe the montage depicting Kane’s death. Refer to the effect of the following:
the nurse’s actions
3eRachael00:02:08Describe the montage depicting Kane’s death. Refer to the effect of the following:
the light fading behind the exterior view of the window.

The light fading behind the exterior of the window symbolises the deterioration of the life of the man laying in the bed, confirming his death and suggesting the beginning of an attempt to determine who the man is, what rosebud means and a flashback on the events leading up to his death or a retelling of the man's life before he died, who we learn to be Charles Foster Kane.

4Michaela?What sort of film does Citizen Kane appear to be at the end of this sequence?It appears as a biographical or more "story-telling" mixed with a detective mystery as it details the whole of Kane's life through flashbacks of aging people, their flashbacks being partially faded so their opinions and interpretations may be affected by this, while the mystery part surrounding his last word 'rosebud'. It's filmed in such a way that it keeps the audience intrigued and the want for knowing his 'secret' increases.
5Jarrod?Why are the reporters kept in shadow with very little light revealing their faces?
6Jayd?What film techniques are used to highlight the security placed on Thatcher’s memoirs? Discuss how the secretary’s actions and dialogue add to this scene.
7Sylvie?What is the effect of the deep-focus framing; parents and Thatcher in foreground, window in mid-shot, Charles playing in the snow in the background?
8Allira?What is the effect of the snow slowly covering Charles’ old sled? Why doesn’t he like the new sled?
9Sonam?Discuss how the soundtrack helps to reflect the tone of this new era for The Inquirer?The soundtrack is upbeat, quick and drastically changes from time to time. This complements the rapid pace of the Newspaper, publishing multiple articles without much investigation. The soundtrack also conveys a sense of unauthenticity; it’s artificial and represents an advertisement like character of The Inquirer.
10Alannah?Why does Welles use a low-angle shot in presenting the scene where Kane takes over the office?Shooting from a low angle makes the subject appear larger and suggests a feeling of power and dominance. The scene where Kane takes over the office can be considered as his initial feat towards his materialistic incline, seeking power and wealth. In becoming the new owner and entrepreneur with large ambitions, in order to gain the loyalty of his employees he must show the power and strength required. Hence Welles portrays him directly through the lower position of the camera view,as a dominant and determined figure.
11Jade?Why does the director keep Kane in shadow as he reads out “The Declaration of Principles”? Why does Kane make this declaration?
12Abigail?How is it made clear that Kane’s media empire is a success? Identify and describe the effect of the techniques employed in this montage.By showing a map with the locations where Kane's media has a place of business and through the narration of the 'News on the March' obituary film outlining how huge and influencial Kane's media was demonstrates clearly that his vast media empire was a great success. The scene is cleverly produced as a news reel, adding to the effect and realism of the scene as a means to not only showcase the range of Kane's influence, but to introduce a variety of secondary characters to the audience as well.
13Callum?Describe Kane’s behaviour at the party celebrating his take-over of The Chronicle. What is Bernstein saying about Kane in recounting his exuberance throughout the musical number? What is the effect of the camera panning across the drunken singing faces?Kane is very proud of his takeover, he can even be seen as cocky and arrogant as of his comment "make an extra of that photo and send it to the Chronicle!!". The discussion is bringing up the points that the once dedicated and loyal Chronicle workers may unintentionally and sublimly change Kane's values and morals of what his newspaper agency stands for without him noticing. The camera panning across shows all the drunken men who seem to have been bought over by the Chronicle with promise of extravagent amounts of money being spent on their behalfs.
14Jay?How is the interview between Thompson and Leland framed? Discuss the focus of foreground versus background and the final effect.
15Kimberly?Why does the director fade into the tea scene with Kane and Emily, and with Leland slowly nodding?
16Amelia?How does the montage help to demonstrate the changes in their relationship as the years passed? Why did the director use the montage technique here?
In only 4 minutes, Welles depicts the rise and fall of Kane and Emily’s relationship. Their emotional
separation is made apparent by the increasingly tense and stilted dialogue in these closely
related scenes. The tone of their voices become hardened towards each other, and the 
amount of words they exchange on a daily basis dwindles. Welles uses the montage
technique to quickly and effectively reveal that Kane and Emily merely played roles in a
marriage that no longer satisfies either party. Just like everything else in Kane’s life, his
contentment is unsustained

17Reece?As the montage reaches its end, the shot changes from medium to long shot. How does this add effect to the sequence?
18Jared1.02:00Discuss the effect of the camera's movement throughout the campaign trial scene.The camera shot changes from giving wide shots of the audience and the extent of the speech to a slow zoom onto Kane as his speech becomes more serious and finally ending in a close up of Kane announcing his first act as governor. The next shot is an aerial shot from over the shoulder of a shady character (Geddes). These camera shots allow us to see the extent of the situation while focusing on small details of the scene, such as Kane's message, his son watching in the crowd and Geddes watching over the speech from above.
19Sarah1.20:00How is the suspense developed from the moment we see the shadowed figure in the stalls, to the confrontation at Susan’s apartment?
20Georgia?Why does Geddes direct his words to the two women while Kane is kept in shadow?
21Rachael01:07:53How does the director reflect the dramatic intensity of the scene where Emily and Geddes descend the stairs and exit the building, Kane having lost this round?The dramatic intensity of the scene is displayed through Charles chasing a man down the staircase screaming "I'm Charles Foster Kane!" almost believing that he never loses or should lose because of his status. The man passes in close-up as he begins to make his way out of the building, and eventually leaves in seniority as he reaches a higher point in the frame before completely leaving the building. The angle used makes Kane hanging onto the banister, the walls and staircase seem like they are beginning to spiral out of control and become off balanced, symbolising Kane's life at that particular moment.
22Michaela?Describe the dramatic opera house scene. Discuss use of music, camera, editing and lighting. How does Welles make it clear that Susan is not a good singer?The lighting on Susan is really bright, possibly making her self-conscious and worried. The music was loud and dramatic. The editing and camera movements cut between the audience's reactions and Susan singing, showing how they felt about it. It is clearly evident that Susan is not a good singer due to the audience's reaction to it, some tearing at their papers and looking bored and even one lady remarking "I think it's dreadful."
23Jarrod?“Give me a typewriter, I’m gonna finish Mr Leland’s notice.” The film then pans to a typewriter printing out the word “weak”. What do the audience gather from this juxtaposition of dialogue and image? How does Leland, waking from his drunken stupor, add to the scene?
24Jayd?When we return to the face-to-face interview, the camera looks down on Leland. How does this emphasise his own demise?
25Sylvie?Why does Welles repeat the previously used montage? As voyeurs, why do we expect to gain more from Susan this second time around?
26Allira?Discuss the interaction between Kane and the singing teacher. How does the director emphasise Kane’s power?
27Sonam?How does the opera house montage differ this time? Why is this the case? How does the viewer feel towards Susan at this point? Explain.

The first scene of the opera house montage is bright and the atmosphere is hectic while
complemented by dramatic music. In the second scene there is no movement at
all, the spot light shines on people falling asleep and playing with paper
instead of enjoying the performance, this is done to create emphasis on Susan’s
failure. And in the end Kane forces people to clap. This is because Kane refuses
to accept Susan’s flaws and uses his power to force other people to do the same
thing. That tense atmosphere is showcased in the second scene of the montage of
the opera house as Kane fails to impress the public with Susan’s talent whereas
the first scene showcases Susan’s authentic talent. At this point the viewer
feels sympathy towards Susan as she is the victim of Kane’s misuse of power.

28Alannah?Explain Kane’s fervent applause at the end of Susan’s performance.Kane is portrayed as a cunning opportunist when it comes to business opportunities or a chance to further climb greater materalistic heights. Whilst Kane seems to also fancy Susan as a woman, through such a fervent applaoud after a performance on first meeting, may be taken as Kane recognising the chance to benefit off a rising star. This is skilfully exemplified as Kane continues to force Susan to partake in singing lessons and to perform to the point where she is forced to leave him. On the alternative to Kane seeing Susan's talents as an opportunity. Kane's ecstatic applaud is due to the possibility that perhaps he has found a missing piece of pavement on his pathway to finding what is missing from his life.
29Jade?How does the burned out flash add to the newspaper sequence?
30Abigail?In the suicide attempt: The scene is in deep focus; the glass and pills stand in foreground, Susan’s motionless body is in mid-shot, and the door is in background. How does this frame, along with the knocking sound effects, succinctly explain what Susan has done?Not only was Citizen Kane the first film to use deep focus, it also used it effectively, quickly and clearly to explain to the audience the grave deed which Susan has committed. By having the pills in the foreground the responders can gather that Susan has taken them, and the motionless body finalises the realisation that she has attempted to take her own life, the knocking on the door in the background serving to emphasize this fact.
31Callum?How does Kane feel about Susan’s suicide attempt? What tells you this?
32Jay?“You don’t know what it means... when a whole audience just doesn’t want you” - How does Susan’s plight parallel Kane’s? How does the director make the parallel clear?
33Kimberly?Voices have a different resonance in Xanadu. Explain the effect.Xanadu is a mystical place described in ‘Kubla Khan’, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the poem Xanadu is a place of perfection and yet it doesn’t get finished as the author gets distracted half way through and loses his train of thought. Xanadu in Citizen Kane symbolises this search for perfection that can never be completed. The fact that Xanadu is seen as mystical and not real is the reason why their voices have a different resonance. This reinforces the idea of Kane’s failed attempt to seek perfection in which he will never find.
34Amelia?How is the large burning fireplace juxtaposed with the environs of the interior? Why is it more dramatic when Susan chooses to seat herself in front of the unused fireplace?The inability of the excessively large fireplace to provide heat and warmth to the cavern is a physical metaphor for the pointlessness Kane’s possessions have in providing himself with contentment as a person. Juxtaposed against the interior we see how out of place and useless it is in the almost uninhabited house. Susan chooses to place herself in front of the unused fireplace dramatically representing her yearn for something more. Accompanied by dialogue, we can evidently see that Susan cannot live the cold secluded life that Kane can, instead requiring the warmth of others.
35Reece?What is the effect of the large spacial distance between Kane and Susan as they talk at the end of the jigsaw montage?
36Jared1.45:40"You can't do this to me" - Why does Susan react so strongly to this plea from Kane? How does the director make her exit more powerful?It shows her that, even now, Kane still doesn't care or understand what it means to Susan and that things impact on people other than just Kane. The director gives Susan a long hallway to exit out of and as she walks along it she walks into darkness. This represents Kane losing grasp on Susan as she disappears into darkness, away from him forever.
37Sarah?Explain the use of the mirrored-image of Kane walking the halls of Xanadu? What do the mirrors evoke in the mind of the viewer?
38Georgia?How does Welles emphasise the futility of the reporter’s quest?
39Rachael01:54:52Describe the dramatic climax as the sled is burned, the smoke billowing into the sky above Xanadu. How is the sequence made effective?Before the sled is burned, there is an overview of Kane's childhood posessions, including 'Rosebud', his childhood sled. The burning of this sled represents the loss of his childhood and anger at his parent's for leaving him with a stranger to obtain a life filled with materialis. As the sled is burned, there is an overview of the smoke filling the sky above Xanadu. The smoke from Kane's childhood sled and other childhood posessions fills the sky above Xanadu, representing the place being filled of hedonistic behaviour and materialistic, superficial behavious.
1Michaela?"Xanadu is the costliest monument a man has built to himself." What is being inferred here?It is expressing/inferring the vanity and greed in Kane, that the only way he can get recognition is through being vain and having the biggest and best things.
2Jarrod?Explain the phrase: “He held an empire upon an empire.”
3Jayd?We receive three views on Kane during the newsreel: that of Thatcher, the unionist and Kane himself. How does Kane’s view differ? Why do you think this is the case?
4Sylvie?What do we learn about Kane through this newsreel? Is the obituary a positive or negative review of his life?
5Allira?What instigates the challenge to uncover the relevance of “rosebud”?
6Sonam?How are we introduced to Susan Alexander? What does the camera tell us about her life since divorcing Kane?Beginning this scene is a first person shot rising up close to Susan’s picture on the
rooftop nightclub signage, an enlarged fixture of her face. Amidst pouring
rain, lightning and thunder strike down upon its view, an expression from Kane
of his rage and bitter anger towards her leaving him. The camera rises further,
and peering down into the skylight window atop the nightclub, passes through to
oversee Thompson approaching Susan inside, drunk. The camera pans over showcasing
the cracks in the glass and walls which creates emphasis on the empty, lifeless
and demoralized place as well as Susan’s pathetic state after the divorce. She
is drunk and distraught, and screams for Thompson to leave her alone. She is
crumbled under alcoholism amidst the weight of Kane’s death
7Alannah?“Why until he died, she’d just as soon talk about Mr Kane as anyone... Sooner.” What does the waiter suggest by this comment?The waiter is suggesting by this that previous to his death Susan had no trouble at all talking about Kane until he passed away. This suggests that on leaving Kane, she did not leave him due to lack of love and emmotional connection but his persistance in lack of showing emotion and overwhelming dominance within their relationship. Her emotional response advocates her mourning due to the still remaining emotional connection to Kane.
8Jade?How did Thatcher become involved in Kane’s life?
9Abigail?Describe Mary Kane’s feelings upon giving up her son to the bank.Throughout the scene, Mary seems to be unfeeling towards her son as his father attempts to persuade her not to give Charles to the bank. The fact that she has already packed his belongings and not showing any signs of sadnes or regret reflecting this. However, towards the end of the scene it is revealed that she is doing so because Charles' father seems to be rather violent towards Charles when he misbehaves and due to this Mary felt obligated to give her son to the bank for his protection and betterment.
10Callum?“You won’t be lonely, Charles.” Mary Kane soothes her son. How are we made to feel here?The tone in the sentence subtly gives the viewer the idea of abandoment as it can be portrayed as an ironic quote that leads to Charle's need of his lost rosebud, his need of reliving the day where he wasn't lonely.
11Jay?“I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.” Why does Kane want to run the paper? Why does he refuse to let his money or power influence what is published? (take care to quote Kane here)
12Kimberly0.24:00What insight do we gain into Kane’s character through the following quote: “At the rate of losing a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in sixty years.” How does Welles play this line?Through this quote it is evident that Kane is such a wealthy man that he doesn’t need to think about finances. He is free to do as he pleases and thinks ‘it would be fun to run a newspaper’. This means that although the newspaper isn’t financially viable he will continue to run it because he takes pleasure in providing the underprivileged with information that that they wouldn’t otherwise receive. He also has more than enough money to fund it. However, Welles craves power and he sees that running this newspaper is the ultimate tool in influencing the public’s opinions so they are
more like his own.
13Amelia?Explain Kane’s line, “If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.”
14Reece?What does Kane mean when he says he’d like to have been everything that Thatcher hated?
15Jared0.35:00Kane actually moved into The Inquirer building. What does this say about him?When Kane moved into the building he was transferring his identity from Charles Kane to The lead writer and owner of 'The Inquirer'. It represented Kane allowing the newspaper to take over all aspects of his life; this is seen to cause the downfall of his first marriage and would lead to a loss of himself.
It also represents Kane's inability to allow others to make decisions for themselves, this is evident within his relationship with Susan and his tendency to take over roles and jobs within 'The Inquirer'.

16Sarah?Review the conversation between Bernstein and Leland at the party. What concerns do they share now that Kane owns The Chronicle?
17Georgia?Identify how Kane has changed, both physically and mentally, since he left for his holiday. What is suggested through these changes?
18Rachael00:47:20Who is Miss Emily Norton? How do The Inquirer staff react upon discovering their engagement?
Miss Emily Norton is Kane’s first wife and died alongside their son in a car accident. Kane marries her due to her connection with presidency, as she is the niece of President Monroe. The Inquirer staff understand Kane’s initial purpose of marrying Emily just for her status as soon as they are made aware of their engagement, as Mr Bernstein immediately says “President's niece, huh? Before Mr Kane's through with her, she'll be a president's wife.”

19Michaela?“That first night, all she had was a toothache.” What does Leland imply here?
20Jarrod?Why does Susan laugh at Kane covered in mud?
21Sylvie?Describe the early interactions between Kane and Susan. What does this demonstrate in terms of his character and their relationship?
22Allira?Explain Kane’s pause before he agrees with Susan’s statement, “You know what mothers are like.”
23?Describe Emily’s feelings upon discovering her husband’s affair. How does she react?

Emily shows a lack of emotion as she maintains her composed and demanding behaviour. The
camera constantly showcases her as the tallest in the group creating emphasis
on her authority. And the camera shot creates an illusion of Kane looking
shorter than everyone else when it is seen from her point of view. Emily manages
to control her emotions unlike Susan and leaves the apartment while
expecting Kane to come with her. But when he refuses, she leaves without any
comments and without looking back at Kane who is now in turmoil of emotions.

24?Why does Kane choose Susan over his wife and child?While Kane was with his wife and child he still did not feel as though he was complete. On his never endind quest to find this fulfilled self he sought that purhaps Susan was the piece of the puzzle that was missing. Susan represented the youthfull and exuberant characteristics that his wife had lost over the years. His wife began to criticise the direction of the paper and ofcourse Kane's swollen ego didnt appreciate this and as a result apted to open a relationship with a young, exciting woman who enjoyed being on his arm.
25?Explain Kane’s declaration, “I’m Charles Foster Kane. I’m no cheap crooked politician trying to save himself from the consequences of his crimes!”
26Abigail?Why does Welles follow this dramatic scene with a moment of humour?Welles uses a combination of sombre and comedic scenes as a means to break down the tension between highly serious and solemn scenes which further serves to keep the audience entertained and interested in what's happening to the characters deeply embroiled in the plot.
27?Discuss Leland’s reaction to Kane’s loss: “You talk about ‘the people’ as though you own them ... sail away to a desert island and lord it over the monkeys.” Note the link to the opening scene at Xanadu where the monkeys are playing in Kane’s backyard. What is Leland criticising?
Why does Kane build the opera house?
29?How does Welles suggest Kane’s power over the critical reviews in his newspaper?Leland is responsible for writing a review on Susan’s debut in the new opera house. However a few lines in Leland became unconscious due to alcohol consumption. Kane finds Leland unconscious, reads the beginning of the negative review and decides that he is going to finish it but anonymously as he is still going to sign it with Leland’s name. Kane’s decision to overpower Leland’s review and write it himself in Leland’s name without any consequences and anyone objecting is how Welles suggests Kane’s power over the reviews in his own paper.
30?How does Welles suggest Kane’s power over the critical reviews in his newspaper?
31?Explain Susan’s comment, “You know, maybe I shouldn’t have sung for Charlie that first time I met him, but I did an awful lot of singing after that.”
32Jared01:34:10How does Welles direct the argument between Susan and Kane? What makes Kane’s threat, “You will continue with your singing” more effective? What does the argument say about their relationship at this point?Susan is portrayed sitting down surrounded by newspapers, and while screaming directly at Kane. Welles emphasises Kane's lack of empathy towards Susan through the minimal eye contact with Susan during the argument. His lack of eye contact with Susan during the line "you will continue with your singing" and the low enthusiasm tone he uses represents that this was not up to discussion and that Kane had already decided on the future of Susan despite her cries against it. The argument represents Kane's expectation of total control over her, and by making decisions for her is giving her what he thinks she should want rather then listening or taking into account what she truly wants.

33?What makes Leland send Kane the original “Declaration of Principles”? How is Kane’s moral decline made clear through his response?
34?Why does Susan become so obsessed with jigsaw puzzles?She becomes so obsessed due to her life being deteriorated by her involvement with Kane.
She becomes desperate to try and piece her life back together again, hence her constant habit of
piecing puzzles together.
35Rachael01:40Explain Susan’s statement, ‘You never give me anything I really care about.”
Susan’s statement “you never gave me anything I really care about” expresses her frustration at Kane for only giving her materialistic objects such as jewellery, clothes or even their palace. The only thing she truly wanted from Kane was his love and his affection, of which she received neither.

36MichaelaWhy does Kane collect statues from around the world? How oes Susan’s account make this hobby seem more sinister?When he cannot manipulate the people around him he buys statues that he can then manipulate. As they are inanimate objects, they cannot protest or disagree with him. He tries to control others, more he fails, the more statues he buys. It's sinister as he feels the need to control the people around him and feels it's the only way for happiness and accomplishment in his life.
37?As Susan leaves the marriage, the power-dynamic seems to hange. How and why?
38?Both Thompson and Susan feel sorry for Kane by the end of this account. Why?
39?Why does Raymond’s account begin with a screeching cockatoo?
40?What does Thompson infer when he calls the butler, “a sentimental fellow”?
41?The sled proves Thompson’s thesis correct: “Maybe rosebud was something he couldn’t get or maybe lost.” Why is it significant that the sled is deemed by the workmen as “junk”?

Rosebud to Kane was an emblem of the hope, security and innocence of his childhood. His
childhood was something that was taken away from him due to the lust for wealth
and something he could not recover as Kane’s once innocent status was now
tainted with the unforgiving corruption of his adulthood. The sledge to the
workmen is nothing but an old useless sledge as they do not share the same
memories like Kane did with the sledge. The burning of Rosebud symbolises the
end of Kane. Even his most loved possession is treated like junk by the people.
No matter how monumental his achievements, even a man like Kane will eventually
be forgotten. 

42?The film concludes with the “NO TRESPASSING” sign on the security fence of Xanadu. How does this relate to the events we have witnessed? What is the dramatic irony of this conclusion? How is the “joke” on the reporters?As wittnessed, Kane spent his entire adult life on the climb for power, wealth and the idealized notion that with all his possessions he will also find himself at the top. The begining of his rampage, Kane purchases the Inquirer Newspaper. As a result he spent his time completely invading and investigating the lives of others. Once he had collected the information he required he then built his own interpretation and published it for all to read. Ofcourse to also build the rapport of the paper he must keep things interesting and as a result showed no murcy on placing a spin on every story. The next stage after the Inquirer, was for Kane to become mayor. Therefore moving from telling the the stories of others he now is seeking the ability to influence others. A oiece of the puzzle towards his climb for power. The sign concluding the move "NO TRESPASSING" on the doors of his mansion is an attempt to keep the repoters out of his life and his business. In his final days, kane begins a downward spiral, losing Susan, losing his self control and power. Kane understands the capability of others and puts that sign up in a hypocritical attempt to maintain the control and keep others from doing what he so carelessly did to them.