It broke new ground in numerous areas. It was one of the very first
films to use miniature sets that were filmed to look life size. In
order to make the characters look larger than life, they put the
camera in the floor and made the ceilings out of cloth so they'd
look solid, but microphones could still pick up the sound. It
broke new ground in special effects, extra long and distant camera
movements, lighting, cinematography, and make-up that aged Wells
and made him look like he aged almost 60 years, convincingly, in a
two hour movie. It's a revolutionary film.
Film scholars and historians view Citizen Kane as Welles' attempt
to create a new style of filmmaking by studying various forms of
movie making, and combining them all into one. The most innovative
technical aspect of Citizen Kane is the extended use of deep
focus.In nearly every scene in the film, the foreground,
background and everything in between are all in sharp focus.
Specifically, Toland often used telephoto lenses to shoot close-up
scenes. However, some apparently deep-focus shots were the result
of in-camera effects, as in the famous example of the scene where
Kane breaks into Susan Alexander's room after her suicide
Another unorthodox method used in the film was the way low-angle
shots were used to display a point of view facing upwards, thus
allowing ceilings to be shown in the background of several scenes.
Since movies were primarily filmed on sound stages and not on
location during the era of the Hollywood studio system, it was
impossible to film at an angle that showed ceilings because the
stages had none. In some instances, Welles' crew used muslin
draped above the set to produce the illusion of a regular room
with a ceiling, while the boom mikes were hidden above the cloth.
One of the story-telling techniques introduced in this film was
using an episodic sequence on the same set while the characters
changed costume and make-up between cuts so that the scene
following each cut would look as if it took place in the same
location, but at a time long after the previous cut. In this way,
Welles chronicled the breakdown of Kane's first marriage, which
took years of story time, in a matter of minutes.
Welles also pioneered several visual effects in order to cheaply
shoot things like crowd scenes and large interior spaces.
The film also broke new ground with its use of special effects
makeup, believably aging the cast many decades over the course of
Welles brought his experience with sound from radio along to
filmmaking, producing a layered and complex soundtrack. In one
scene, the elderly Kane strikes Susan in a tent on the beach, and
the two characters silently glower at each other while a woman at
the nearby party can be heard hysterically laughing in the
background, her giddiness in grotesque counterpoint to the misery
of Susan and Kane.
In addition to expanding on the potential of sound as a creator of
moods and emotions, Welles pioneered a new aural technique, known
as the "lightning-mix". Welles used this technique to
link complex montage sequences via a series of related sounds or
phrases. In offering a continuous sound track, Welles was able to
join what would otherwise be extremely rough cuts together into a