History Extra Credit Paper – Movie Review Example

Citizen Kane and William Randolph Hearst William Randolph Hearst, born April 29, 1863, was raised by millionaire parents. After his father, George,received the San Francisco Examiner newspaper as payment for a debt, Hearst was determined to run it. He then went on to raise the paper to notoriety, before purchasing the New York Journal, building himself a mass media empire. Hearst even enticed much of Joseph Pulitzer’s staff to join his at the Journal. His paper fabricated sensationalistic stories, including some about the war in Cuba, politicians and even staged crimes so his reporters would have something to write, bringing “yellow journalism” to new depths previously unseen.
But, in 1941, RKO studios, along with director/writer/actor Orson Welles, released the cinematic masterpiece, Citizen Kane. The film openly criticized many moguls, including Hearst, among others, by depicting their irresponsible actions and lavish lifestyles. In Kane, the main protagonist, Charles Foster Kane, built a media empire by buying out his competitors (including enticing his rival’s writers to join his newspaper, as Hearst did with the Journal). Kane also built a prolific palace for himself and his various collected objects from around the world, known as Xanadu, as Hearst had built Sam Simeon, filled with obscure items without regard to aesthetics. However, although Xanadu was depicted as a dark, secluded estate, Sam Simeon was constantly full of parties. Also, Kane’s shaky relationship with his love, Susan Alexander, is in stark contrast to the relationship between Hearst and actress Marion Davies, one in which Davies sold her jewelry and other possessions to support Hearst when he lacked sufficient funds.
As the film was released, Hearst understood the connection between the new film and his own life, and attempted to thwart Welles’s new motion picture. He even convinced numerous theatres to refuse playing the film, which ultimately cost Welles a great deal of box-office revenue. But Citizen Kane was ultimately voted by the American Film Institute as the greatest film in history, vindicating Welles’s attempt to expose the life of William Randolph Hearst.