Film students, history students and journalism students all should see both Orson Welles’ 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” and the 1996 PBS American Experience documentary about its creation “The Battle Over Citizen Kane,” conveniently packaged with the movie a two-DVD set. (Not to be confused with the made-for-TV dramatic movie, “RKO 291 – The Battle Over Citizen Kane,” which I haven’t seen.)
In response to the shouted question, “Is that really your idea of how to run a newspaper!?” Kane has a speech about how he thinks it would be fun to do just that, which was posted on YouTube the last time I taught a media history course.
Toward the end of the scene, Kane speaks as a crusading (millionaire, capitalist) newspaperman:
“I am the publisher of The Inquirer. As such it’s my duty… it’s also my pleasure — to see to it that decent hardworking people in this community aren’t robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates…
I have money and property; if I don’t look after the interests of the underprivileged, maybe somebody else will, maybe somebody without any money or property, and that would be too bad.”
That excerpt also includes Welles’ version of an apocryphal Hearst telegram about the Spanish American War that supposedly went “You provide the pictures; I’ll provide the war.” The line is — embarrassingly — presented again by historian David McCullough about 2:20 into this American Experience intro, with only the word “reportedly” as attribution.
American Experience intro:
Hollywood interviews on Kane as one of the all-time top films
“It’s All True” documentary, with Ed (Lou Grant) Asner
1960 BBC interview with Welles, via YouTube