Citizen Kane

How Orson Welles Almost Made His Film Debut With an Innovative ‘Heart of Darkness’ Adaptation

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles, one of the cinema’s foremost artists — and one of its greatest tragedies, personifying as he does the industry’s predilection for chewing up great filmmakers and spitting them out, leaving them to scrounge for scraps. The tale of Welles’ post-Citizen Kane career has been told and told (his masterpiece debut all but blackballed by a bitter William Randolph Hearst and an indifferent industry, its follow-up massacred by a nervous studio, his remaining films scraped together on the cheap and treated poorly by studios, distributors and audiences), and these days, there’s nearly as much ink devoted to the films he didn’t make or complete — due to financial troubles, rights issues, and the like — as those he did. But for this fan, the most fascinating of the Welles movies that never happened would’ve been his first feature: an ambitious film adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, potentially as groundbreaking as Kane, the film he settled on when Darkness fell apart. … Read More

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The Stories Behind 10 Iconic Movie Scenes

Sixty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe stepped on a subway grate and made movie history. She was shooting a film called The Seven-Year Itch in New York City, and the image of her on the grate, the train passing underneath blowing up her skirt, would become one of the most iconic in all of cinema. To commemorate that magic movie moment, we’ve gathered behind-the-scenes tales of that and nine other classic movie scenes. (We didn’t include Raiders. Harrison Ford shot the guy with the sword instead of fighting him because he had the trots. We’re assuming you knew that one.) … Read More

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Watch Orson Welles’ Long-Lost, Pre-‘Citizen Kane’ Movie ‘Too Much Johnson’

Back in 1938, 23-year-old theatrical whiz kid Orson Welles had a bang-up idea: for his Mercury Theatre’s upcoming production… Read More

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10 Notorious Leaked Screenplay Scandals

Earlier this week, we told you about Xavier Macafee, the New Mexico man who was arrested on suspicion of burglary after allegedly breaking into Bryan Cranston’s car and stealing, among other things, the script to one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes. While we still don’t know if it was a coincidental act or the work of a brilliant BB superfan, this isn’t the first time a swiped script has created havoc in Hollywood. Here are ten tales of leaked screenplays, and what happened to the films… Read More

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Mind-Blowing Matte Paintings From Classic Movies

Before 3D modeling came along, filmmakers had to rely on simpler means to give the illusion of a lavish set: paint. To create a dystopic city or elegant hall without spending the entire budget on a physical set, matte painters would create impeccably detailed backgrounds for the characters to look out into or even directly interact with. Reddit user Rowsdower_Rowsdower put together a compilation of some of the best photorealistic landscapes from classic films, many including photos of the artists at work. Here are some of our favorites from the collection. … Read More

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10 of the Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Movie References

Whether through homage or satire, there’s a rich tradition in cinema — fueled by the likes of cinephile filmmakers such as Godard and Tarantino — of making inside references to other filmmakers. But perhaps even more than the directors enjoy making movie references, audiences love picking up on them. It makes us feel like we have a specialized, albeit useless, expertise. Apparently the writers of The Simpsons have indulged in their share of cinephilia over the years as well, and the Movie Simpsons Tumblr — which launched earlier this year — has been posting animated gifs of famous movie scenes reconstructed, referenced, or otherwise alluded to on the show. We’ve put together ten of our favorites here. … Read More

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Open Thread: Is ‘Vertigo’ Really the Greatest Movie Ever Made?

Cinephiles have been in a tizzy for the last day or so, engaging in fierce and opinionated discussions on Twitter and blogs and message boards, debating the merits of something you may or may not have heard of: the Sight & Sound poll. For those unaware, Sight & Sound is the magazine of the British Film Institute, and yesterday they put out their lists of the greatest films ever made. Big deal, you’d be forgiven for thinking, there’s like a new greatest films list every other day. And while that’s true, Sight & Sound polls hundreds of critics and filmmakers to make their lists (one for each group), and only puts out an updated list every ten years. “It is by far the most respected of the countless polls of great movies,” Roger Ebert wrote in 2002, “the only one most serious movie people take seriously.” And the reason this year’s list is a big deal is because, for the first time since 1962, the list was not topped by Citizen Kane, but by Hitchcock’s Vertigo. For movie lovers and film historians, that’s a very big deal. Too bad it’s wrong. … Read More

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The Best Opening Lines in Cinema

Whether you’re reading a book or watching a film, audiences and bookworms want to be pulled into the story’s world, immersed in the life of its characters, and get a keen sense of the setting where the action is taking place. Skilled writers can ignite that connection almost instantly, and as the Guardian shared over the weekend, the literary world is full of fine examples where the first lines in fiction have been enrapturing readers for decades. Cinema is no different, and we wanted to search for the most unforgettable movie openers. These oft-quotable opening lines have acted as a foreshadowing device, added instant drama, and allowed us to understand the inner workings of different characters’ minds. We could have spent all day reciting first lines from our favorite films, but we narrowed our picks down and left you the opportunity to share your own past the break. … Read More

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