In , he declined offers from David O. Selznick , who asked him to head his film company's story department, and William Wyler , who wanted him for a supporting role in Wuthering Heights. Schaefer wanted to work with Welles after the notorious broadcast, believing that Welles had a gift for attracting mass attention. At first he simply wanted to spend three months in Hollywood and earn enough money to pay his debts and fund his next theatrical season. This legendary contract stipulated that Welles would act in, direct, produce and write two films.
The most controversial aspect of the contract was granting Welles complete artistic control of the two films so long as RKO approved both project's stories : Granting final cut privilege was unprecedented for a studio since it placed artistic considerations over financial investment.
The contract was deeply resented in the film industry, and the Hollywood press took every opportunity to mock RKO and Welles. Schaefer remained a great supporter : Knowing the script would take time to prepare, Welles suggested to RKO that while that was being done—"so the year wouldn't be lost"—he make a humorous political thriller. Mankiewicz , who had been writing Mercury radio scripts.
Screenplay for Citizen Kane Herman J. Mankiewicz co-wrote the script in early He and Welles separately re-wrote and revised each other's work until Welles was satisfied with the finished product.
One of the long-standing controversies about Citizen Kane has been the authorship of the screenplay. Welles later explained, "I left him on his own finally, because we'd started to waste too much time haggling. So, after mutual agreements on storyline and character, Mank went off with Houseman and did his version, while I stayed in Hollywood and wrote mine. The industry accused Welles of underplaying Mankiewicz's contribution to the script, but Welles countered the attacks by saying, "At the end, naturally, I was the one making the picture, after all—who had to make the decisions.
I used what I wanted of Mank's and, rightly or wrongly, kept what I liked of my own. Mankiewicz also threatened to go to the Screen Writers Guild and claim full credit for writing the entire script by himself. The guild credit form listed Welles first, Mankiewicz second. Welles's assistant Richard Wilson said that the person who circled Mankiewicz's name in pencil, then drew an arrow that put it in first place, was Welles. The official credit reads, "Screenplay by Herman J.
Mankiewicz and Orson Welles". He reviewed all seven drafts and concluded that "the full evidence reveals that Welles's contribution to the Citizen Kane script was not only substantial but definitive.
Hearst was disturbed by the film's supposed depiction of Marion Davies , but Welles always denied that Susan Alexander Kane was based on Davies.
Welles never confirmed a principal source for the character of Charles Foster Kane. Houseman wrote that Kane is a synthesis of different personalities, with Hearst's life used as the main source. Some events and details were invented, : Hearst was quite a bit like Kane, although Kane isn't really founded on Hearst in particular. Many people sat for it, so to speak".
Gettys is based on Charles F. He regarded it as the prototype of Charles Foster Kane's sled. Mankiewicz had a bet on the horse in the Kentucky Derby , which he won, and McGilligan wrote that "Old Rosebud symbolized his lost youth, and the break with his family".
In testimony for the Lundberg suit, Mankiewicz said, "I had undergone psycho-analysis, and Rosebud, under circumstances slightly resembling the circumstances in [Citizen Kane], played a prominent part. Thatcher was loosely based on J. Maurice Bernstein, appointed Welles's guardian; : The company produced theatrical presentations, radio programs, films, promptbooks and phonographic recordings.
Citizen Kane was a rare film in that its principal roles were played by actors new to motion pictures. Ten were billed as Mercury Actors, members of the skilled repertory company assembled by Welles for the stage and radio performances of the Mercury Theatre, an independent theater company he founded with Houseman in Welles cast Dorothy Comingore , an actress who played supporting parts in films since using the name "Linda Winters",  as Susan Alexander Kane.
She characterized her own personal relationship with Welles as motherly. That was something new in Hollywood: But Orson knew it was necessary, and we rehearsed every sequence before it was shot. Corrado had appeared in many Hollywood films, often as a waiter, and Welles wanted all of the actors to be new to films. Sonny Bupp , who played Kane's young son, was the last surviving credited cast member of Citizen Kane when he died in He then taught himself filmmaking by matching its visual vocabulary to The Cabinet of Dr.
Caligari , which he ordered from the Museum of Modern Art, : After dinner every night for about a month, I'd run Stagecoach, often with some different technician or department head from the studio, and ask questions. On June 29, —a Saturday morning when few inquisitive studio executives would be around—Welles began filming Citizen Kane. Welles said that he would consider making the project but wanted to make a different film first.
At this time he did not inform them that he had already begun filming Citizen Kane. For these scenes Welles had Comingore's throat sprayed with chemicals to give her voice a harsh, raspy tone. Most of the filming took place in what is now Stage 19 on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood. Welles leaked stories to newspaper reporters that the tests had been so good that there was no need to re-shoot them.
The first official scene to be shot was the breakfast montage sequence between Kane and his first wife Emily. To strategically save money and appease the RKO executives who opposed him, Welles rehearsed scenes extensively before actually shooting and filmed very few takes of each shot set-up. When the journalists arrived Welles told them they had "just finished" shooting for the day but still had the party.
Gettys; his injuries required him to direct from a wheelchair for two weeks. Welles usually worked 16 to 18 hours a day on the film. He often began work at 4 a. Welles used this time to discuss the day's shooting with Toland and other crew members. The special contact lenses used to make Welles look elderly proved very painful, and a doctor was employed to place them into Welles's eyes.
Welles had difficulty seeing clearly while wearing them, which caused him to badly cut his wrist when shooting the scene in which Kane breaks up the furniture in Susan's bedroom. While shooting the scene in which Kane shouts at Gettys on the stairs of Susan Alexander's apartment building, Welles fell ten feet; an X-ray revealed two bone chips in his ankle. Paul Stewart recalled that on the ninth take the Culver City Fire Department arrived in full gear because the furnace had grown so hot the flue caught fire.
When the executives would sometimes arrive on set unannounced the entire cast and crew would suddenly start playing softball until they left. Before official shooting began the executives intercepted all copies of the script and delayed their delivery to Welles. They had one copy sent to their office in New York, resulting in it being leaked to press. Welles then took several weeks off of the film for a lecture tour, during which he also scouted additional locations with Toland and Ferguson.
Filming resumed November 15 : The final day of shooting on November 30 was Kane's death scene. Wise was hired after Welles finished shooting the "camera tests" and began officially making the film.
Wise said that Welles "had an older editor assigned to him for those tests and evidently he was not too happy and asked to have somebody else. I was roughly Orson's age and had several good credits. It was outstanding film day in and day out. Dunn experimented with an optical printer to improve certain scenes that Welles found unsatisfactory from the footage. Stewart to re-do their work several times until he was satisfied.