An Orson Welles press release for Citizen Kane

WellesNet recounts an Orson Welles press release for Citizen Kane from January 1941. Kane examines the private life of a public figure and his simultaneous quests for power and a return to the simplicity of childhood.

ORSON WELLES:  I wished to make a motion picture which was not a narrative of action so much as an examination of character. For this, I desired a man of many sides and many aspects....

I wished him to be an American, since I wished to make him an American president. Deciding against this, I could find no other position in public life beside that of a newspaper publisher in which a man of enormous wealth exercises what might be called real power in a democracy. It is possible to show how a powerful industrialist is potent in certain phases of government. It is possible to show how he can be good and bad according to the viewpoint of whoever is discussing him, but no industrialist can ever achieve in a democratic government the kind of general and catholic power with which I wished to invest my particular character. The only solution seemed to place my man in charge of some important channel of communication—radio or newspaper. It was essential for the plot of the story that my character (Kane) live to a great age, but be dead at the commencement of the narrative. This immediately precluded radio. There was no other solution except to make Kane a newspaper publisher—the owner of a great chain of newspapers.


  1. How fascinating! I've never read that quote before!

  2. Hi Emma,

    Yes, it is wonderful to get his perspective. It helps lay to rest the rumors about Kane being an expose of Hearst - a rumor that always seemed too unimaginative to be true for Welles.

    Hearst may have been a bit paranoid.

    Thanks for stopping by.


Thanks for your contribution to Java's Journey.


About Java

"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email:


Blog Archive

Writer's Block Doesn't Stand a Chance