On the Screen

A 25-year-old first-time director (who also putatively co-wrote the script, starred in the movie, and invented a new lens to accommodate camera-angles he wanted to shoot).

A cast of actors who had never been in a movie.
Hostile reviews from a powerful publishing-syndicate.
Only one Oscar win (for the screenplay).
A box-office flop.

How can Citizen Kane possibly be the best film ever made?


Shooting script, “Citizen Kane” [credited to Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Samuel Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
James Whale, Frankenstein [film] William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; short stories
Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari [film] Walt Disney Studios, Snow White [animated film] Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times [film] John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath [film] Sigmund Freud, “Fetishism”
photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans