Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz
Produced by Orson Welles
Directed by Orson Welles
Orson Welles Charles Foster Kane Joseph Cotton Jedediah Leland Dorothy Comingore Susan Alexander Everett Sloane Mr. Bernstein Ray Collins Boss J.W. "Big Jim" Gettys George Coulouris Walter Parks Thatcher Agnes Moorehead Mary Kane Paul Stewart Raymond Ruth Warrick Emily Norton Kane
EXT. XANADU – FAINT DAWN – 1940 (MINIATURE)
Window, very small in the distance, illuminated.
All around this is an almost totally black screen. Now, as the camera moves slowly towards the
window which is almost a postage stamp in the frame, other forms appear; barbed wire, cyclone
fencing, and now, looming up against an early morning sky, enormous iron grille work. Camera
travels up what is now shown to be a gateway of gigantic proportions and holds on the top of it – a
huge initial "K" showing darker and darker against the dawn sky. Through this and beyond we see
the fairy-tale mountaintop of Xanadu, the great castle a sillhouette as its summit, the little window
a distant accent in the darkness.
A SERIES OF SET-UPS, EACH CLOSER TO THE GREAT WINDOW, ALL TELLING
The literally incredible domain of CHARLES FOSTER KANE.
Its right flank resting for nearly forty miles on the Gulf Coast, it truly extends in all directions
farther than the eye can see. Designed by nature to be almost completely bare and flat – it was, as will develop, practically all marshland when Kane acquired and changed its face – it is now pleasantly uneven, with its fair share of rolling hills and one very good-sized mountain, all man-
made. Almost all the land is improved, either through cultivation for farming purposes of through
careful landscaping, in the shape of parks and lakes. The castle dominates itself, an enormous pile,
compounded of several genuine castles, of European origin, of varying architecture – dominates the scene, from the very peak of the mountain.
GOLF LINKS (MINIATURE)
Past which we move. The greens are straggly and overgrown, the fairways wild with tropical
weeds, the links unused and not seriously tended for a long time.
WHAT WAS ONCE A GOOD-SIZED ZOO (MINIATURE)
Of the Hagenbeck type. All that now remains, with one exception, are the individual plots,
surrounded by moats, on which the animals are kept, free and yet safe from each other and the
landscape at large. (Signs on several of the plots indicate that here there were once tigers, lions,
THE MONKEY TERRACE (MINIATURE)
In the foreground, a great obscene ape is outlined against the dawn murk. He is scratching himself
slowly, thoughtfully, looking out across the estates of Charles Foster Kane, to the distant light
glowing in the castle on the hill.
THE ALLIGATOR PIT (MINIATURE)
The idiot pile of sleepy dragons. Reflected in the muddy water – the lighted window.
THE LAGOON (MINIATURE)
The boat landing sags. An old newspaper floats on the surface of the water – a copy of the New York Enquirer." As it moves across the frame, it discloses again the reflection of the window in the
castle, closer than before.
THE GREAT SWIMMING POOL (MINIATURE)
It is empty. A newspaper blows across the cracked floor of the tank.
THE COTTAGES (MINIATURE)
In the shadows, literally the shadows, of the castle. As we move by, we see that their doors and
windows are boarded up and locked, with heavy bars as further protection and sealing.
A DRAWBRIDGE (MINIATURE)
Over a wide moat, now stagnant and choked with weeds. We move across it and through a huge
solid gateway into a formal garden, perhaps thirty yards wide and one hundred yards deep, which
extends right up to the very wall of the castle. The landscaping surrounding it has been sloppy and
causal for a long time, but this particular garden has been kept up in perfect shape. As the camera
makes its way through it, towards the lighted window of the castle, there are revealed rare and
exotic blooms of all kinds. The dominating note is one of almost exaggerated tropical lushness,
hanging limp and despairing. Moss, moss, moss. Ankor Wat, the night the last King died.
THE WINDOW (MINIATURE)
Camera moves in until the frame of the window fills the frame of the screen. Suddenly, the light
within goes out. This stops the action of the camera and cuts the music which has been
accompanying the sequence. In the glass panes of the window, we see reflected the ripe, dreary
landscape of Mr. Kane's estate behind and the dawn sky.
INT. KANE'S BEDROOM – FAINT DAWN – 1940
A very long shot of Kane's enormous bed, silhouetted against the enormous window.
INT. KANE'S BEDROOM – FAINT DAWN – 1940
A snow scene. An incredible one. Big, impossible flakes of snow, a too picturesque farmhouse and
a snow man. The jingling of sleigh bells in the musical score now makes an ironic reference to
Indian Temple bells – the music freezes –
KANE'S OLD OLD VOICE
The camera pulls back, showing the whole scene to be contained in one of those glass balls which
are sold in novelty stores all over the world. A hand – Kane's hand, which has been holding the
ball, relaxes. The ball falls out of his hand and bounds down two carpeted steps leading to the bed,
the camera following. The ball falls off the last step onto the marble floor where it breaks, the
fragments glittering in the first rays of the morning sun. This ray cuts an angular pattern across
the floor, suddenly crossed with a thousand bars of light as the blinds are pulled across the
The foot of Kane's bed. The camera very close. Outlined against the shuttered window, we can see