“Forgotten Hollywood”- Indiscretion…

Posted on October 27, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   A rags-to-riches story of an individual who made a career in business, and decides to enter politics. He offers a populist message that resonates with selective constituents, and the businessman is on track to win his election. His campaign is derailed when an indiscreet affair is revealed, and he doesn’t care. Despite the revelation, the candidate feels he is sure to win. He doesn’t. And, I’m not talking about the election of 2016…

330px-citizenkane   The above cautionary tale was a scene in a screenplay written in 1939 for a production that was released in 1941. Citizen Kane was written by Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz, and the pair earned an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for their efforts.

   The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character resembling the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and aspects of Welles’s own life. Mankiewicz based the original outline on the life of Hearst, whom he knew socially, and came to hate after he was exiled from Hearst’s circle.

   Kane’s career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Kane’s marriage disintegrates as he begins an affair with amateur singer Susan Alexander while he is running for Governor of New York. Both his wife and his political opponent discover the affair, and the public scandal ends his political career.  The character of his opponent, political boss Jim W. Gettys, is based on Charles F. Murphy, a leader in New York City’s infamous Tammany Hall political machine. The character of Susan Alexander was based on actress Marion Davies (and mistress of the newspaper publisher) was a major reason Hearst tried to destroy the production. Hearing about Citizen Kane enraged Hearst so much, he banned any advertising, reviewing, or mentioning of it in his newspaper chain, and he had his journalists actually libel Welles. In 2012, the Hearst estate agreed to screen the Citizen Kane at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, finally breaking with Hearst’s ban of the movie.

citizen-kane-welles-podium   citizen-kane-welles-collins

                                 ORSON WELLES       RAY COLLINS (as JIM W. GETTYS)

   An interesting aside… The News on the March newsreel scene presents Kane keeping company with Adolf Hitler and other dictators, while he smugly assures the public there will be no war. This reflects the political chatter between intervention and isolationism that was being waged in the United States; the motion picture was released six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, while President Franklin D. Roosevelt was laboring to win public opinion for support of the Allies prior to World War II. In the rhetoric of Citizen Kane, the destiny of isolationism is realized in metaphor: Kane’s own fate, eventually dying wealthy, lonely, and surrounded by his collection of artifacts.

330px-wendell_willkie_presidential_campaign_poster_1940   As an epilogue… Anyone who claims: 2016 is the strangest year in politics, only has to return to 1941 when Citizen Kane was released; the year that Roosevelt earned a third term as our president, defeating in a landslide a maverick businessman Wendell Willkie, the Republican dark horse candidate, who crusaded against FDR’s perceived failure to end The Great Depression, and his supposed eagerness for entry into war. Roosevelt carried 38 states; Wilkie won only 10 states.


                                     MANNY PACHECO

   May I remind you to vote responsibly this November…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2016 at 3:29 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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