Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) has long enjoyed the reputation of being one of – if not the – “greatest of all time” (G.O.A.T.). Our task in this class will not be to confirm or contest the film’s place in the critical pantheon, but instead to learn what we can about its deft and adventurous use of film style, aided by selected archival materials drawn from the Welles papers in the University of Michigan Special Collections Research Center. We will view the entire film in the first session, and then discuss it in the second session by looking closely at, and listening carefully to, a series of specific examples from the film. The session will be interactive, with observations, comments, and questions from attendees strongly encouraged. We will conclude with a more general discussion of the film.
Matthew Solomon is an associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Media at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini, and the New Magic of the Twentieth Century, which won the Kraszna-Krausz Award for the best moving image book. He is also the author of a BFI Film Classics monograph on Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, and editor of Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Méliès's Trip to the Moon.