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Citizen Kane

A Filmmaker's Journey

Harlan Lebo

Thomas Dunne Books

Citizen Kane Download image

ISBN10: 1250077532
ISBN13: 9781250077530


384 Pages



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It is the story of a film masterpiece—how it was created and how it was almost destroyed.

It is the celebration of brilliant achievement and a sinister tale of conspiracy, extortion, and Communist witch hunts.

It is the chronicle of a plot orchestrated in boardrooms and a mountaintop palace, as a media company that claimed to stand for “genuine democracy” defied the First Amendment and schemed to burn Hollywood’s greatest creation.

Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey
is the extraordinary story of the production of Orson Welles’ classic film, using previously unpublished material from studio files and the Hearst organization, exclusive interviews with the last surviving members of the cast and crew, and what may be the only surviving copies of the “lost” final script.

Harlan Lebo charts the meteoric rise to stardom of the twenty-three-year-old Orson Welles, his defiance of the Hollywood system, and the unprecedented contract that gave him near-total creative control of his first film. Lebo recounts the clashes between Welles and studio executives eager to see him fail, the high-pressure production schedule, and the groundbreaking results. Lebo reveals the plot by the organization of publisher William Randolph Hearst to attack Hollywood, discredit Welles, and incinerate the film. And, at last, he follows the rise of Citizen Kane to its status as the greatest film ever made.


Praise for Citizen Kane

"The most thorough account yet of the genesis, production and release of Welles's most famous film."New York Times Book Review

"A deep dive into the film that made 'Rosebud' a household word. In time for the 75th anniversary, there are interviews with cast and crew, access to studio correspondence and a 'lost' final script."Fort Worth Star Telegram

"A definitive resource for anyone interested in Welles and 'Kane.'"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Film-scholar Lebo has conducted painstaking research, combing through voluminous interviews as well as production reports, memos, budgets, drafts of the script, news accounts, and critiques."Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



There but for the grace of God goes God.


The weather had been balmy in Southern California...

About the author

Harlan Lebo

HARLAN LEBO is a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Lebo has written books about The Godfather, Casablanca, and a coffee-table photo book on Citizen Kane, and served as a historical consultant to Paramount Pictures for the fiftieth anniversary of the theatrical release of Citizen Kane. He lives in California.

Dave Teel

Harlan Lebo