Essay: Reception Theory: Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is an American drama film that was first performed in 1941. It is directed and starring Orson Welles. It is regarded as the greatest movie of its time as it is praised for its narrative, music and cinematography structure (Ebert, 2008). It is the director’s first feature film. After Welles succeeded in the Mercury Players theatre, and immediately after the War of the Worlds radiobroadcast controversial in 1938, he signed a contract with the RKO pictures in the year 1939. It was very unusual for untried director like Welles to be allowed to develop a story of his own but he was given the chance. The development of Citizen Kane play followed tow abortive trials. Although all the shooting was done in the year 1940, it only managed to make it to be released in the year1941. considering the difficult time that Welles underwent as he tried to release this play, he can be seen as bold and courageous since he made it through all these difficulties.
During the time when Welles was producing his film, there was a lot of interference in the theatre work with so many threats and restrictions. The only weekly American magazine that was famous by then and that could advertise any literature work and make it succeed was not supportive. The publisher of the magazine instead threatened to make a negative article about Nelson Rockefeller’s grandfather. This made all the exhibitors retaliate due to fear. Since Welles was courageous, he grew impatient and thus threatened RKO of suing them. Due to the fear the exhibitors still had, the movie could not be advertised and thus it made huge losses at first. After it was performed and came out fine, so many scholars were attracted and thus most of tem gave out positive comments. For instance as Kate Cameron was reviewing the New York Daily-News, she said that the film was “one of the most interesting and technically superior films that has ever come out of a Hollywood studio” (Cameron, 1941).