citizen kane

"I thought that you could do anything with a camera that the eye could do, or the imagination could do."

Orson Welles in a 1960 interview -- "Financially, Citizen Kane wasn't extraordinary in any way at all. It was extraordinary in the control it gave me over my own material. Total control; so much so that the rushes, which I perhaps should explain -- these are the pieces of film that are shown at the end of the day's work -- are always checked by everybody in the studio: departments heads, and the bankers and distributors and everything long before there's a rough cut ... according to the terms of my contract, the rushes couldn't be seen by anyone. And indeed the film couldn't be seen until it was ready for release.

"I got that good a contract because I didn't really want to make a film. And you know when you don't really want to go out to Hollywood (at least this is true in the old days, the golden days of Hollywood), when you honestly didn't want to go, then the deals got better and better. In my case I didn't want money, I wanted authority. So I asked the impossible hoping to be left alone, and at the end of the year's negotiations I got it -- simply because there was no real vocation, there. My love for films began only when we started work.

"Ignorance; sheer ignorance! There's no confidence to equal it. It's only when you know something about a profession that you're timid, or careful. I thought that you could do anything with a camera that the eye could do, or the imagination could do. And if you come up from the bottom of the film business you're taught all the things that the cameraman doesn't want to attempt, for fear he will be critizied for having failed. In this case I had a cameraman who didn't care if he was criticized if he failed, and I didn't know that there were things you couldn't do, so anything I could think up in my dreams I attempted to photograph.

"And of course again I had a great advantage, not only in the real genius of my cameraman but in the fact that he -- like all great men, I think, who are masters of a craft -- told me right at the outset that there was nothing about camerawork that I couldn't learn in half a day, that any intelligent person couldn't learn in half a day. And he was right. The great mystery that requires twenty years doesn't exist."