Raising Kane by Pauline Kael found a ton of success with movie buffs and casual readers alike. Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay :264–265, Mankiewicz's rancor toward Welles grew over the remaining 12 years of his life. "I Missed It at the Movies: Objections to 'Raising Kane, "Welles pic script scrambles H'wood history", "Exit the hatchet woman: Why Pauline Kael was bad for world cinema", "The 14th Academy Awards (1942) Nominees and Winners", It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Screenplay_for_Citizen_Kane&oldid=994051706, Films with screenplays by Herman J. Mankiewicz, Articles needing more detailed references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 December 2020, at 21:32. Welles's irritation with Mankiewicz passed quickly, and he spoke of him with fondness. Mank saw him simply as an egomaniac monster with all these people around him. Earlier, he was the Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the drama critic for The New York Times and The New Yorker. :12 "His behavior, public and private, was a scandal," wrote John Houseman. The authorship of the screenplay for Citizen Kane, the 1941 American motion picture that marked the feature film debut of Orson Welles, has been one of the film's long-standing controversies. Citizen Kane opened in New York City on May 1, 1941, and flopped. He told Welles that there were "not enough standard movie conventions being observed" and that he disliked the theatricality and lack of close-ups in the film. With the Victorville script now in hand he cut it by some 75 pages, and added or revised more than 170 pages. Stars Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton. The preliminary work consisted of dialogue and some camera instructions. Our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Filmmakers, You Should Stop Debating 8K And Start Embracing It. Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film by Orson Welles, its producer, co-screenwriter, director and star. Loved him. more… All Herman J. Mankiewicz scripts | Herman J. Mankiewicz Scripts Welles and Lederer later became great friends. :23 Mankiewicz and Houseman delivered the second draft, bearing a handwritten date of May 9,:99 to Welles after finishing their work in Victorville. He was a performer, as I think all very successful personalities are. The real kicker is the ending of Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane, American film drama, released in 1941, that was directed, produced, and cowritten by Orson Welles, who also starred in the lead role. "Houseman blandly ignores this fact. :132 "It was something [Mankiewicz] had been thinking about for years," Houseman wrote, “the idea of telling a man’s private life (preferably one that suggested a recognizable American figure), immediately following his death, through the intimate and often incompatible testimony of those who had known him at different times and in different circumstances.”:448–449, Welles himself had worked with the concept. "He liked the attention he got as a great, monumental self-destructing machine. I gave her all the information I had and will send her more. :359 He would receive $1,000 a week for his work as long as he was not "incapacitated by illness or any other reasons",:236 and would be paid a $5,000 bonus on delivery of the script. :359:17–18 Welles re-wrote and revised an incomplete first draft given to him, dated April 16, and sent it back to Victorville. :237 With his own secretary, Katherine Trosper, Welles was reworking the draft pages in Hollywood. Welles's first wife Virginia moved to Los Angeles shortly after their divorce,:231–232 and on May 18, 1940, she married screenwriter Charles Lederer, favorite nephew of Hearst's mistress Marion Davies. Some big American figure—couldn’t be a politician, because you’d have to pinpoint him. That terrible vulnerability. Only four of the five scripts reached the air: "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", "Dodsworth", "Vanity Fair" and "Huckleberry Finn". :231 "Mankiewicz, nursing his resentment, had subsequently become obsessed by both Hearst and Davies," Callow wrote, "collecting stories about them the way small boys collect stamps. [n] Carringer studied the collection of script records—"almost a day-to-day record of the history of the scripting"—that was then still intact at RKO. Leaming notes, "This assertion will seem odd to anyone who has examined Houseman's personal papers deposited at UCLA. :53, 72 Soon after moving to Hollywood in 1926,:215 Mankiewicz met Hearst and Davies through his friendship with Lederer. The Hateful Eight script reveals an Agatha Christie-like world where Quentin Tarantino pits angry western genre character archteypes at each other's throats amidst the tensions of the recently ended Civil War. Nobody disputes that Mankiewicz did, indeed, co-write the Citizen Kane screenplay; the argument is over how much of the resulting masterpiece is … One could have favorites, but Citizen Kane was always number one. In a mansion in Xanadu, a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Foster Kane is on his deathbed. :237:252 Author Clinton Heylin wrote that Mankiewicz "… probably believed that Welles had little experience as an original scriptwriter … [and] may even have felt that John Citizen, USA, Welles's working title, was a project he could make his own. :116, Carringer observed that Citizen Kane is one of the few Welles projects based on an original story idea rather than an adaption of existing work. ":394, By the time of Kael's death 30 years after its publication, "Raising Kane" was discredited. … The final version of the screenplay … was drawn from both sources. The contract with Mankiewicz left the matter of his receiving credit open; Welles's correspondence with his lawyer indicated that he did not wish to deny credit to Mankiewicz. :32:471 Carringer wrote that "in his lengthy account of the Victorville interlude, Houseman gives the impression that Mankiewicz started out with a clean slate, and that virtually everything in the Victorville drafts is Mankiewicz's original invention. A story of idealism corrupted by wealth, 'CITIZEN KANE' is the greatest film of all time & is credited with inspiring more directorial careers than any other film in history. ":6 Roger Hill, head of the Todd Seminary for Boys and Welles's mentor and lifelong friend, wrote that Welles once told him about a project he was considering: "He had outlined to me, years earlier, a plan for a stage play based on the life of an American tycoon who would be a composite of Insull, McCormick and Hearst. ":52–53, Welles admired Mankiewicz, and had met him in New York in 1938:234 at the time of the Mercury Theatre's Broadway successes. It was widely believed the film would win most of its Academy Award nominations, but it received only the award for Best Original Screenplay. ":168, Welles further said this to Mankiewicz's biographer: "I have only one real enemy in my life that I know about, and that is John Houseman. He respected Hearst's knowledge and was privileged to be invited to his private office where he mingled with Hearst's editors and columnists. :213 "When Mank left for Victorville, we were friends. The official credit reads, "Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles". The biggest misconception about Citizen Kane is that the content of the supposedly-final script is the key to what makes the film a masterpiece. :236 Welles's attorney, Arnold Weissberger, did not want to give RKO any cause to break Welles's contract should they wish to promote the film as solely his work. But in his hatred of Hearst, or whoever Kane was, Mank didn't have a clear enough image of who the man was. ":447 Orson Welles told Peter Bogdanovich that "Nobody was more miserable, more bitter, and funnier than Mank ... a perfect monument of self-destruction. ":260, For some time, Mankiewicz had wanted to write a screenplay about a public figure—perhaps a gangster—whose story would be told by the people who knew him. ":6, But at the same time, Houseman was stirring controversy, lunching with film critic Pauline Kael and giving Mankiewicz total credit for the creation of the script for Citizen Kane. Suffice it to say, people knew it was a good story but no one could anticipate what an impact the movie would have when it came into existence. The fact is that there isn't one single line in the picture that wasn't in writing—writing from and by me—before ever a camera turned. ":484, During March, April and early May 1940, Mankiewicz dictated the screenplay, titled American. He was fighting for his life. "[Welles] claims he wrote a parallel script," Houseman told Leaming. :185 In the last week of February or the first week of March 1940,:17 Mankiewicz retreated to the historic North Verde Ranch[c] on the Mojave River in Victorville, California, to begin working on the script. :494–501, "Orson was vigorously defended," wrote biographer Barton Whaley, "but in less prominently placed articles; so, again, the damage was immense and permanent. The official screenplay for Citizen Kane is credited to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles, but there's an ongoing rumor that Orson Welles didn't write the screenplay for Citizen Kane, which seems nuts and is hard to prove. With a story spanning 60 years, the quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a fictional character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick. The Citizen Kane script was the product of both of them. But we got pretty quickly to the press lords. [l][m] The article included the revelation that Kael used the research and interviews of Dr. Howard Suber, an assistant professor at UCLA where she was then a guest lecturer, without ever crediting him. ":111 Hill said that even as a boy Welles was interested in the lives of the controversial tycoons: "He sensed, even then, the theatrical impact that could be gained in assaulting, and possibly toppling, giants," wrote Brady. … Welles added the narrative brilliance—the visual and verbal wit, the stylistic fluidity, and such stunningly original strokes as the newspaper montages and the breakfast table sequence. However, Mankiewicz's assessment of the footage was full of contradictions. Not coincidentally, it is also the Welles film that has the strongest story, the most fully realized characters, and the most carefully sculpted dialogue. "That's why I left him on his own, finally," Welles said later, "because we'd started to waste too much time haggling. Get your FREE copy of the eBook called "astonishingly detailed and useful" by Filmmaker Magazine! :185, On February 19, 1940, Mankiewicz signed a contract with Mercury Productions to work on the screenplay. When he came back, we were enemies," Welles told biographer Richard Meryman. "It was a kind of controlled, cheerful virulence … I personally liked Kane, but I went with that. :215 They were always given the same apartment in La Casa del Monte guest cottage:214—"like a little castle of our own," said Sara Mankiewicz. :206–207, "Raising Kane" angered many critics, most notably Bogdanovich, a close friend of Welles who rebutted Kael's claims in "The Kane Mutiny", an October 1972 article for Esquire. ":270, Mankiewicz had seen rushes of the film shortly before this and said he was unhappy with the footage. Herman Mankiewicz deserves credit for writing original drafts for Citizen Kane, and Welles also deserves credit for his involvement in writing and honing the early material. All Rights Reserved. :119 Welles came to suspect that Houseman had turned Mankiewicz against him. As a teenager in 1932 he wrote a play about the life of abolitionist John Brown called Marching Song. "John Houseman on 'What happened to Orson Welles? :55, 184–185 "Orson was from Chicago," said the Mercury Theatre's Richard Wilson, "and I believe he was as much influenced by Samuel Insull and Colonel Robert McCormick as he was by the figure of Hearst. "A neurotic drinker and a compulsive gambler, he was also one of the most intelligent, informed, witty, humane and charming men I have ever known. :244 Carringer summarized: Mankiewicz (with assistance from Houseman and with input from Welles) wrote the first two drafts. There was continual communication with Welles,:81 and Houseman often travelled to Los Angeles to confer with him. Mankiewicz immediately went to work on another project for MGM,[f]:24 and Houseman left for New York four days later. :498, "One of the things that bound his friends to him was his extraordinary vulnerability," Welles told Mankiewicz's biographer. :202, After he came to agreement with Welles on the story line and character,:54 Mankiewicz was given the job of writing the first draft that Welles could rework. Herman J. Mankiewicz Herman Jacob Mankiewicz was an American screenwriter, who, with Orson Welles, wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Welles then "adapted it with the same freedom and disregard for authority with which he adapt[ed] a Shakespeare play or a thriller by Nicholas Blake. January 16, 2016 Tags Citizen Kane screenplay, citizen kane script, Herman J. Mankiewicz, John Houseman, Mollie Kent, orson welles, Roger Q. Denny Top 10 Film Scripts in American History In the film industry, there are three types of films: the good, the bad, and the great. … ":270 Mankiewicz wrote his father, "I'm particularly furious at the incredibly insolent description of how Orson wrote his masterpiece. :499–500:204, One of the long-standing controversies about Citizen Kane has been the authorship of the screenplay. While the script formatting is not what we use today (it's blocky and the screenplay is 200+ pages), you can still see the images pop off the page and into your mind. With a story spanning 60 years, the quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a fictional character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick. Kane's death becomes sensational news around the world, and the newsreel's producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson wit… Subscribe to receive the free PDF! You can really see the culmination of those opening frames. :20 "There were two castes in Hollywood," wrote Meryman, "those who had been guests at San Simeon and those who had not." ":494 The mainstream press accepted Kael's flamboyant but unsubstantiated essay—an extension of her dispute with Andrew Sarris and the auteur theory—based on her credibility as one of the country's top film critics. These pages were given to RKO script supervisor Amalia Kent, who broke the material down in continuity form for the production units. Mankiewicz proved very useful, particularly working with Houseman as editor,:240–242 and wrote five scripts for Campbell Playhouse shows broadcast between November 12, 1939, and March 17, 1940. More works of conjecture … have been written on the creation of the screenplay for Citizen Kane than Orson and Herman were ever able to cram between those blue covers. Obviously, lots of people want to claim ownership of the idea. That terrible wreck. :236–237 Welles hesitated to officially agree to give Mankiewicz credit. While not structured like modern movies on the page, it serves as the blueprint for the most important film of the 20th century. But I thought, 'We'll see what he comes up with.'" Citizen Kane was filmed from an original screenplay by American screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz along with principle actor, director, and producer Orson Wells, with additional uncredited contributions by John Houseman, Roger Q. Denny, and Mollie Kent. His contract with RKO stated that the film would be produced, directed, performed and written by Welles, and his "boy wonder" persona had great publicity value for the studio. As far as I could judge, the co-billing was correct. But, you know, when the bitterness wasn't focused straight at you, he was the best company in the world. Citizen Kane script by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles The plot device of the unseen journalist Thompson in Citizen Kane is also reminiscent of the unseen Marlow in Welles's proposed film Heart of Darkness, in which the narrator and audience share the point of view. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of Kane, an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher. The film was praised for its cinematography, music, and also for its narrative. Citizen Kane is acclaimed by many critics as the greatest movie ever made. ", "The by-line carried only my name," Bogdanovich later wrote, "but Orson had taken a strong hand in revising and rewriting. The Citizen Kane script was a thing of beauty. The fourth draft dated June 18 was the first to be titled Citizen Kane. :88 In December 1939, after a violent quarrel with Welles over finances, Houseman resigned and returned to New York. ":54 In February 1940,:444, 448 Welles arranged a lunch at New York's 21 Club and persuaded Houseman to return to California.