Charles Foster Kane

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Researched by: dustinprewitt

Charles Foster Kane is a fictional character and the subject of Orson Welles's 1941 film Citizen Kane. Welles played Kane (receiving an Oscar nomination), with Buddy Swan playing Kane as a child. Welles also co-wrote and directed the film.

Citizen Kane explores the life of the titular character, who is born of humble origins in the fictional settlement of Little Salem, Colorado, circa 1863. A mine given to his parents — to settle a bill for room and board — happens to be rich in gold, making the family suddenly wealthy. In 1871, Kane's mother puts him under the guardianship of a New York City banker named Walter Parks Thatcher, who raises him in luxury until he becomes an adult. However, Kane blames Thatcher for ripping him away from his family. In acts of rebellion, he attends prestigious colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Cornell — and gets himself expelled from all of them.

As an adult, Kane takes control of a Thatcher-owned newspaper called the New York Inquirer , thinking that "it might be fun to run a newspaper". His first act as the paper's new owner is to publish a "declaration of principles" stating his duty to be truthful to his readers. However, he almost immediately begins using yellow journalism tactics to blow stories out of proportion, encourage a war with Spain, and thwart Thatcher's political goals and business interests — including ones Kane holds stock in. Kane also hires staff members away from the rival Chronicle newspaper, regarding them as collectibles. To finance the initially-fledgling Inquirer, Kane uses his personal resources; this would allow him to operate it — even at a million dollar annual loss — for decades.

Kane eventually marries Emily Monroe Norton, the niece of an apparently fictional president of the United States. Unfortunately, the marriage sours as his wealth and power feed his megalomania ego. As his popularity and fortune increases, Kane runs for Governor of New York against reputedly corrupt boss J. W. Gettys. An election victory is almost certain until Gettys reveals evidence of Kane's affair with a young "singer" named Susan Alexander. Gettys blackmail Kane, meeting with him and his wife at Susan's apartment. Kane, however, refuses to drop out of the race despite Gettys' leverage. As a result, the scandal goes public and Kane loses the election decisively. Furthermore, his best friend, Jedediah Leland, becomes profoundly disillusioned at Kane's haughty arrogance — first by humiliating his family, and then by treating the electorate like his personal property — insisting on being transferred to Kane's Chicago paper to stay away from him.

Read more about Charles Foster Kane at Wikipedia ...

Official Site: RKO Pictures
Links:  Wikipedia: Charles Foster Kane   IMDB: Citizen Kane   Sparknotes:Charles Foster Kane  

 

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