full title Citizen Kane
director Orson Welles
leading actor/actresses Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane
supporting actors/actresses George Coulouris, Ruth Warrick, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Shannon,
William Alland, Ray Collins
type of work Full-length feature film
time and place produced 1940–1941,
awards Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, New York
Critics Award fo Best Picture
date of release May 1, 1941
producer Orson Welles
setting (time) Approximately 1860 to 1950
setting (place) America
protagonist Charles Foster Kane
major conflict Kane tries to control press coverage of his political
career and suppress his affair with Susan Alexander.
rising action Kane’s political rival, Jim “Boss” Gettys, forces a
showdown between Kane, Kane’s wife, and Susan Alexander in an attempt to
force Kane from the governor’s race.
climax Kane chooses to stay with Susan and sends his wife
away while daring Gettys to expose him by threatening impotently
that he’ll make sure Gettys goes to prison.
falling action The papers are filled with the news of Kane’s “love
nest,” and he loses the election.
themes The difficulty of interpreting a life; the myth of
the American Dream; the unreliability of memory
motifs Isolation; old age; materialism
symbols Sleds; snow globe; statues
· The snow globe. Also known as the glass ball, the snow
globe first appears in the dying Welles’s hand at the beginning
of the movie and foreshadows the later flashback to his abandonment as
a child. Chronologically, it first makes its appearance in Kane’s life
the night he meets Susan. The snow globe belongs to her and is sitting
on her dressing table. We see it next when Susan leaves Kane and
he destroys her room. After this episode, Kane is left only with
the snow globe, which foreshadows his lonely death.
· Rosebud, the sled. We don’t know its name when we see
it at the scene of young Kane’s abandonment by his mother, but it foreshadows
the film's final scene, when we finally learn the meaning of Kane's
· Crusader, the sled. Given to young Charles Kane by
Thatcher, this sled foreshadows Charles’s later crusading work against Thatcher
and his business enterprises.
· Kane’s statement to Thatcher that if his paper lost
$1 million a year he could still run it for
sixty years. This cocky comment foreshadows Kane’s bankruptcy and
the selling of his assets to Thatcher.
· The scene in which Leland, in conversation with Bernstein, questions
the new staff’s loyalty to Kane. Kane has just stolen them from
the rival paper by offering them more money. Leland wonders if this
is enough to make them loyal to Kane. Leland’s doubts foreshadow
the departures of Leland and Susan from Kane's life.