Oct 13

Jason Greenfield                                                                        10/13/11

Film analysis #1

Scene analysis: from Citizen Kane (director Orson Welles, RKO, 1941)

5 shots from the Declaration of Principles scene, where Kane writes down his principles on how he will run the Inquirer.

Shot #1: LS, camera is angular, large depth of field (able to see many buildings), but the camera is focused primarily on the Inquirer building.  The viewers are able to see what is going on in the street.  There are two types of sounds in this shot, there is a man on the street selling newspapers (diegetic sound).  Additionally non-diegetic music is present as well.  The shot ends with the camera moving to the top of the Inquirer building.

Shot #2: MS, the camera is straight on, large depth of field (the audience is able to see the whole room as well as what is outside of the room).  Camera goes from outside of the window to inside the building where the three men inside of the top floor of the Inquirer building. The three men are Kane, Mr. Leland, and Mr. Bernstein.  Kane is standing up, writing something on a piece of paper against the window, Mr. Leland is sitting down and smoking, and Mr. Bernstein is sitting off to the side by himself. There is also a light right next to Kane and Mr. Leland

Shot #3: MS, large depth of field (able to see buildings outside of the window), camera angle is low (able to see ceiling) music halts, its an extremely long take. The three men, Kane, Mr. Leland, and Mr. Bernstein are sitting down. The viewer is able to see the light from shot #2, the lights reflection is present.  The three men are talking about the newspaper they are going to produce for that day.  Kane turns around from the window (puts his pencil on top of his ear), and the men continue to discuss the newspaper.  Kane shuts off the light to his side, after he gave an analogy in which he said, “just as important as the light needs that gas to work, the New York Inquirer needs to be just as important to New York.” Kane now starts to move to the front of the room.  As he moves to the front there is no longer such a large depth of field.  Kane then starts to read what he wrote on the paper at the beginning of the scene.  What he wrote was his Declaration of Principles for his newspaper.  As Kane starts to read what he wrote in his declaration there is a dark shadow on him.  The camera angle widens as Mr. Leland gets off his chair and talks to Kane.  Camera angle changes again when Leland takes a seat on the table where Kane’s Declaration of Principles rests.  The shadow remains on Kane the whole time he is speaking about what’s in his declaration.  When Kane signs his document the shadow is off him, he then calls a man named Solly to publish his declaration in that’s paper.  When Solly enters, the camera angle moves and one is not able to see Mr. Bernstein for a couple of seconds (until Solly leaves the room).  When Kane handed his document to Solly to type, as Solly is about to exit the room, Mr. Leland asks Solly to make him a copy of Kane’s document.  Kane appears to be angry and bewildered at Leland’s request for a copy of the Declaration of Principles.  It also appears that Solly was not happy at Leland’s request for a copy of the document.  It appears as though Solly rolls his eyes and gives a Leland a look, before he exits the room.  Mr. Leland justifies the reason he wants the document.  He looks directly at the camera when says about why he wants a copy. (It looks as if Leland is foreshadowing that this Declaration of Principles will come up again later on in the film.)

Shot #4: ECU, straight on, the depth of field is very limited.  Only is Mr. Leland is in the shot.  He says that he wants a copy of the document, because he wants to hold onto it because it’s something special.  He gives examples of important documents that need to be held on to, for example the Constitution, and his first report card from school.  When he says his first report card in school, there is an extreme close up of his facial expressions. (He appears to be showing happy emotions, he smiles.)

Shot #5: ECU, straight on, depth of field is very limited.  The camera moves directly to Kane after Leland mentions his first report card.  Kane’s emotions seem to change from anger towards Leland, to an emotion of amusement and joy towards Leland.  We now begin to hear non-diegetic music in the background after the extreme close up of Kane smiling.  The scene now fades to the Daily Inquirer’s front page, and it has Kane’s Declaration of Principles on it.

This scene is rich with different types of movie making techniques. One of the most profound elements in this scene is the shadow on Kane when he reads his Declaration of Principles.  Throughout the movie we see the use of shadows.  For example, when Susan Alexander tried to commit suicide there is a shadow on her, and also when Kane forced Susan Alexander to continue singing there was a dark shadow over him.  There are also close-ups in this scene (one on Mr. Leland the other on Kane). We see some great camera work with low angle use; from this use of this technique, we are able to see the ceilings of the room.  Another feature incorporated is the use of large depth of fields. (In one instance, the viewer can see the surroundings of the room the men are in, and in another instance Kane is writing his document against the window one is able to see buildings in the distance.)  One last great feature briefly used by Welles is the use of reflections, as seen from the light in the room, which Kane ultimately shuts off.

The use of shadows in this scene and all the other scenes are to show that a character is troubled and not the way they appear.  In this scene the reason the shadow was on Kane, was because he was lying in the declaration he put in his newspaper.  He said he wanted to “provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell honestly.” This is obviously false because if Kane would stumble upon an interesting story like the story of the man’s wife missing, he would fabricate the story and say the husband killed her, and put that as the headline to sell newspapers.          The use of the low angle shot of Kane’s camera is seen throughout the movie.  This was a revolutionary idea that most directors did not utilize because camera crews tended to leave all their equipment all over the place, so if they would use a low angle camera view the audience would be able to see all their equipment.  Welles uses deep focus in many scenes throughout the movie.  The use of deep focus tries to demonstrate to the audience the significance of the characters or location in that shot.  In this scene I think Welles wanted to show that the Inquirer building was a really nice big building.

Close-ups are not really utilized very often in the movie, but in this scene it was used it twice.  One possible reason Welles used close-ups here was possibly to break the tension that was building in the room between Kane and Mr. Leland, over the copy of Kane’s document.  The close-ups show both men with a smile on their face before the scene ends.  The use of reflections in this scene was briefly shown, but throughout the movie we see more of it.  The classic example of reflections is seen when Susan Alexander left Kane.  Kane walks through his hallway, and we see him walking as if there is multiple Kane’s walking.  I think the use of reflection show the audience that something is missing.  When Kane was walking in his hallway, he saw his reflection but something was missing, namely his wife.  As a result we do not see the full Charles Kane, we see a reflection of him.  From this point on, until Kane shut off the light we see something missing from Kane, specifically Kane’s honesty.  After Kane shuts the light he starts to read his Declaration of Principles.  In it he describes what he is going to do in his newspaper, to provide the city with honest news, which was a lie.

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