World News – US – « Mank » and the writer behind « Citizen Kane »


Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz talks about the movie about his grandfather for « CBS Sunday Morning »

This is arguably the most famous word to ever say on a movie: Rosebud And it comes from what many consider to be the greatest film ever made « Citizen Kane », Orson Welles’ masterpiece in 1941 on the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, a ruthless capitalist based primarily on newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst

With its deep focus camera work and daring lighting techniques that use shadows to grab audiences’ attention, « Citizen Kane » is a cinematic landmark

And that’s the story that director David Fincher tells in his new Netflix movie I spoke to Fincher on Stage 19 at Paramount Studios, where Welles created Citizen Kane 80 years ago

« When you watch a movie that is consistent, like Kane was, from the author’s point of view, it fires at all cylinders, » Fincher told me

Fincher’s movie is called « Mank » Oscar winner Gary Oldman plays Herman Mankiewicz, whom Welles hired to write the screenplay for « Kane »

« For all I know and for all my dad knew about his dad, you captured Herman in a completely authentic way, » I told Fincher

Fincher’s resume includes « Fight Club », « Gone Girl » and « The Social Network » A vintage black and white play about someone most people have never heard of seems a choice curious

“It wasn’t That was the character,” Fincher said. “It was the guy It was the notion of someone with great abilities and personal issues And, you know, he pushes a rock on a gravel hill « 

Three years before « Kane », Welles’ radio show on « War of the Worlds » frightened thousands into believing the Martians had invaded New Jersey

Welles was a genius and he knew it Just like Hollywood The 24-year-old had carte blanche to make the movie he wanted

So he went to see my grandfather, who had an idea Confront the original media mogul, William Randolph Hearst

Herman had attended parties organized by William Randolph Hearst, witness to the wild excesses

« What interests me is the notion of a guy who had heard a lot of things and who had a very precise understanding of the world from which he was drawing the curtain »

In « Citizen Kane », Herman revealed how men like William Randolph Hearst used their power to manipulate their readers and crush dissent

« There’s a great shot of Gary Oldman as my grandfather, coming out, like, looking for Marion? » I told Fincher

“It was a set about as big as, you know, it was about 20ft by 20ft, just the doorway, then the rest of his matte paints,” Fincher said. “Quite honestly, exactly – as Welles would have done « 

Marion Davies, who everyone knew was Hearst’s mistress, is played in the film by Amanda Seyfried

“The perception was that she wasn’t that bright, an actress, a really very talkative young lady,” Seyfried said. “She was actually so much smarter than people attribute to her”

For Seyfried, who starred in « Mean Girls » and « Mamma Mia, » a black and white film set during Hollywood’s golden age was a welcome change of pace

« It’s a great way to step back in time and experience an era we weren’t a part of, » said Seyfried

The debate over who wrote « Citizen Kane » has been raging for decades My grandfather had a long first draft Welles condensed it They shared the film’s only Oscar, the Oscar for Best Screenplay

« I was interested in looking at how these extremely different personalities collided for a while in time and did something that we are still talking about today, » said Fincher

« You look at the titles of this movie – ‘script by’, what does it say? » I asked Fincher

« He’s been a journalist most of his life, which is why his assessment of the only good films is written by and / or about journalists, » said David Fincher

David Fincher is not inclined to sentimentality But it was clearly special for him to finish what his father had started 25 years ago

« I wish he could have seen it done before, you know, nine months of chemo, » he said « But that didn’t happen »

There is a circle filled for me too I love seeing my grandfather’s name on « Citizen Kane », but I never knew him He died in 1953

But through Fincher and Gary Oldman, I feel like I’m tasting the real Herman Mankiewicz

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David Fincher, Herman J Mankiewicz, Citizen Kane, Netflix

News from the world – United States – « Mank » and the writer behind « Citizen Kane »



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