What would possess a left-leaning 24 year old from Kenosha, WI to co-write, direct, produce and star in a motion picture intended to skewer the oligarchs who controlled the American media in the 1930’s? In Orson Welles’ own words, “Ignorance.” Having already achieved critical acclaim as a theater actor, playwright and director, perhaps it is this audacity of scope combined with the fresh technological innovations of the silver screen that led Welles to create what is now almost universally agreed to be one of the greatest films ever made.
Citizen Kane, a fictional biopic of the newspaper magnate Charles Kane, is Welles’ first film and employs numerous experimental techniques developed for this movie. Many of these contributions to style and cinematography have entered the movie making lexicon. Today these remain as fresh and important to the story as when Citizen Kane was released in 1941.
Charles Kane, played by the young Orson Welles, is transparent in life and mysterious in death. Welles and his co-writer, Herman Mankiewicz, ask the viewer to share in the detective work of newsreel reporter Jerry Thompson, played by William Alland, to discover Kane’s deepest secrets by investigating the mundane meaning of the final utterance on his deathbed: “Rosebud.” This thinly veiled misdirection provides the audience the opportunity to approach and receive the film on numerous levels. Today, the parallels to our culture remain as strong as they did 76 years ago with just as much opportunity to be challenged and entertained.
With a handpicked cast, many of whom such as Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotten would go on to storied careers, Citizen Kane represents a high watermark in cinematic storytelling. Whether you are a fan of film, student of history, have interest in the media’s role in modern politics or simply want to share this experience with friends and family, the Waukesha Civic Theatre invites you to join us at 6:30 pm on Monday, June 5th to watch and celebrate this Hollywood masterwork.
This exciting film did not come without its dangers, however. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, reacted to the makeup and had to be replaced. The aluminum powder makeup coated his lungs, causing him to be hospitalized and the makeup team to switch to an aluminum paste over a layer of clown white. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch Of The West, suffered second degree burns when the grease in her makeup caught fire during a Munchkinland scene. They had to fully remove the makeup before treating her burns. After six weeks in the hospital, she returned to finish filming.
Don’t Be A Grinch … Come See The Grinch!
By now you are all most likely aware of our new PIX Flix movie series, where we have brought the Silver Screen back to the PIX one Monday every month. We are half way through our second season of the series, and our next movie makes me giddy. It is no secret that I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year, and I love, love, love, love, love holiday movies. I’m hoping to get a full house for our December movie, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, and more. This is easily one of my all-time favorite holiday movies, and I can watch it over and over.
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss and the original 1966 cartoon TV special narrated by Boris Karloff, the movie brings the wonderful world of the Whos to life. Ron Howard directed the movie, which has become the second highest-grossing holiday film of all time with over $345 million worldwide. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
And of course there’s Jim Carrey.
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Jim Carrey’s 100% commitment to every role he plays. When Mr. Carrey first started having success on the big screen I was not amused. I didn’t understand what the buzz was about, but I saw every film he was in. Perhaps begrudgingly, but I saw it. Over time I grew to appreciate his genius, and now he is one of my favorite actors of all time. His ability to completely transform himself, both vocally and physically, is a wonder to behold. And his Grinch is pure brilliance.
I love quoting the Grinch. I’m no Jim Carrey, but it sure is fun to imitate him. This is my usual go-to:
The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?
The movie’s soundtrack is loaded with fun, funny, and sentimental songs, including “Green Christmas,” “Christmas Of Love,” “Better Do It Right,” and “Perfect Christmas Night.” And of course, Carrey’s inspired version of the classic “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is spectacular. These songs are in my personal holiday music playlist and always make me smile when they start to play.
The movie will be on Monday, December 19th at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $5 each, and we have concessions (including popcorn!) and bar service. It would be a great night for everyone that loves WCT to gather just before the holiday to celebrate this incredible organization, each other, a very fun and funny movie, and our NEW SCREEN and PROJECTOR!!!!! I’m hoping that we can get 200, or MORE, of our key supporters and participants to come see this movie. You can fully experience our projector and screen, purchased and installed a little over a year ago thanks to the generous donations we have received for our Spotlight On The Future Campaign. (It’s never too late to give to the campaign, or give again to the campaign. We are at 47% of our total goal). You can buy tickets online or at the box office by phone, email, fax or in person. Get your tickets early so you are sure to have a seat! I’ll see you then, if not before!
Managing Artistic Director
PS – click here to check out the rest of our PIX Flix series!