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Shot By Shot Analysis Of The ‘Picnic Scene’ In Citizen Cane

1275 words - 5 pages

Shot-By-Shot Analysis of the "˜Picnic Scene' in Citizen Cane Citizen Kane, produced, directed and starring the "˜boy genius' Orsen Welles, is considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. Written by Welles, and Herman J. Mankiewicz, the film is an investigation into the life of the deceased newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane. It is told through a series of well-crafted flashbacks, and highly revered for its violation of classic Hollywood conventions. In Citizen Kane, Welles' innovative use of cinematography, sound, lighting, music, and editing, shape and propel the narrative, painting a more complete picture of Mr. Kane than each of the flashbacks could. This essay will focus on how the editing and other techniques of the 23 shot Everglades picnic sequence relate to the thematic intentions of the sequence which appears in Susan Alexander's flashback, and marks the end of Susan and Charles' relationship.The sequence begins with a dissolve from Kane at Xanadu, where Susan has taken to jig saw puzzles of outdoor scenes to escape the boredom and suffocation of her situation, to a medium shot of the couple whose tension is still quite visible, being chauffeured in a car. The tension comes from an argument the couple had shortly before, wherein Susan wants to go to New York, but Kane decides on an Everglades picnic instead. In doing so, the production which ensues denies Susan even the enjoyment of the outdoors she got from her puzzles. She and Kane continue to argue, and we hear a blues piece which symbolizes Susan's mood. This scene then dissolves to a linear shot in deep focus of Kane's motorcade, appearing like a funeral procession in their lifeless uniform order.After the seemingly endless procession of black cars, there is a dissolve to a close up head shot of a black singer and the lyrics "this can't be love, for there is no true love". These lyrics and the use of black are no doubt a comment on Susan and Kane's relationship, and possibly even a comment on Kane's inability to love anything. The camera then tracks forward, panning to stay focused on the singers head and then zooms out to reveal some of the festivities. Kane's butler Raymond pops into the frame and the camera follows him, panning left. The deep focus used allows us to see some of the mise-en-scene; the band of course, dancing, a whole pig being roasted on a spit, the huge trees of the forest, and gigantic tents glowing in the background. We know that this type of picnic must be torture for Susan as Kane has brought all the suffocating elements of Xanadu with them to the Everglades. The camera then zooms forward, toward a tent we know must be Kane's as it is differentiated from all the others by a fabric awning. There is then a dissolve to a full shot of Kane and Susan in their tent.Susan and Kane are dressed for bed. Kane sits in a chair, looking very old and tired. Susan kneels on the floor in front of him, a motif we have seen before; at the opera, and...

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