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Sunday, November 22, 2020

The story behind 'Citizen Kane'

Famous screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, only 55 when he died of alcoholism in 1953 (public domain photo.)

Herman Mankiewicz came up with the idea of making a movie about William Randolph Hearst and won an Oscar for co-writing the script  of "Citizen Kane" with Orson Welles, although he had to fight to get any credit at all. An article at the New Yorker discusses Mankiewicz' role in the film, and a new movie, "Mank," about the writer's Hollywood years. The piece also quotes part of a telegram Mankiewicz sent to Ben Hecht to lure Hecht to Hollywood: “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.”

The piece by Richard Brody is called "Herman Mankiewicz, Pauline Kael, and the Battle Over
'Citizen Kane'." All of you Orson Welles fans should read it. 

Thanks to John Merritt for calling my attention to the piece. 


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this. I loved David Thomson’s piece on the film:

Eric Wagner said...

Oops Unknown = Eric Wagner