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 SOMETHING OF:
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, girrafes.)
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 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
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 –
A very long shot of Kane’s enormous bed, silhouetted against
the enormous window.
INT. KANE’S BEDROOM – FAINT DAWN – 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 window.
The foot of Kane’s bed. The camera very close. Outlined
against the shuttered window, we can see a form – the form of
a nurse, as she pulls the sheet up over his head. The camera
follows this action up the length of the bed and arrives at
the face after the sheet has covered it.
INT. OF A MOTION PICTURE PROJECTION ROOM
On the screen as the camera moves in are the words:
Stirring, brassy music is heard on the soundtrack (which, of
course, sounds more like a soundtrack than ours.)
The screen in the projection room fills our screen as the second
NOTE: Here follows a typical news digest short, one of the
regular monthly or bi-monthly features, based on public events
or personalities. These are distinguished from ordinary
newsreels and short subjects in that they have a fully developed
editorial or storyline. Some of the more obvious
characteristics of the “March of Time,” for example, as well
as other documentary shorts, will be combined to give an
authentic impression of this now familiar type of short subject.
As is the accepted procedure in these short subjects, a narrator
is used as well as explanatory titles.
NEWS DIGEST NARRATOR
Legendary was the Xanadu where
Kubla Kahn decreed his stately
pleasure dome –
(with quotes in his
“Where twice five miles of fertile
ground, with walls and towers were
(DROPPING THE QUOTES)
Today, almost as legendary is
Florida’s XANADU – world’s largest
private pleasure ground. Here, on
the deserts of the Gulf Coast, a
private mountain was commissioned,
successfully built for its landlord.
Here in a private valley, as in
the Coleridge poem, “blossoms many
an incense-bearing tree.” Verily,
“a miracle of rare device.”
CHARLES FOSTER KANE
Opening shot of great desolate expanse of Florida coastline
(1940 – DAY)
Series of shots showing various aspects of Xanadu, all as they
might be photographed by an ordinary newsreel cameraman – nicely
photographed, but not atmospheric to the extreme extent of the
(dropping the quotes)
Here, for Xanadu’s landlord, will
be held 1940’s biggest, strangest
funeral; here this week is laid to
rest a potent figure of our Century –
America’s Kubla Kahn – Charles
Foster Kane. In journalism’s
history, other names are honored
more than Charles Foster Kane’s,
more justly revered. Among
publishers, second only to James
Gordon Bennet the First: his
dashing, expatriate son; England’s
Northcliffe and Beaverbrook;
Chicago’s Patterson and McCormick;
TO FORTY-FOUR MILLION U.S. NEWS BUYERS, MORE NEWSWORTHY THAN
THE NAMES IN HIS OWN HEADLINES, WAS KANE HIMSELF, GREATEST
NEWSPAPER TYCOON OF THIS OR ANY OTHER GENERATION.
Shot of a huge, screen-filling picture of Kane. Pull back to
show that it is a picture on the front page of the “Enquirer,”
surrounded by the reversed rules of mourning, with masthead
and headlines. (1940)
A great number of headlines, set in different types and
different styles, obviously from different papers, all
announcing Kane’s death, all appearing over photographs of
Kane himself (perhaps a fifth of the headlines are in foreign
languages). An important item in connection with the headlines
is that many of them – positively not all – reveal passionately
conflicting opinions about Kane. Thus, they contain variously
the words “patriot,” “democrat,” “pacifist,” “war-monger,”
“traitor,” “idealist,” “American,” etc.
1895 TO 1940 – ALL OF THESE YEARS HE COVERED, MANY OF THESE
YEARS HE WAS.
Newsreel shots of San Francisco during and after the fire,
followed by shots of special trains with large streamers: “Kane
Relief Organization.” Over these shots superimpose the date –
Artist’s painting of Foch’s railroad car and peace negotiators,
if actual newsreel shot unavailable. Over this shot
sumperimpose the date – 1918.
Denver’s Bonfils and Sommes; New
York’s late, great Joseph Pulitzer;
America’s emperor of the news
syndicate, another editorialist
and landlord, the still mighty and
once mightier Hearst. Great names
all of them – but none of them so
loved, hated, feared, so often
spoken – as Charles Foster Kane.
The San Francisco earthquake.
First with the news were the Kane
papers. First with Relief of the
Sufferers, First with the news of
their Relief of the Sufferers.
Kane papers scoop the world on the
Armistice – publish, eight hours
before competitors, complete details
of the Armistice teams granted the
Germans by Marshall Foch from his
railroad car in the Forest of
Compeigne. For forty years appeared
in Kane newsprint no public issue
on which Kane papers took no stand.
No public man whom Kane himself
did not support or denounce – often
support, then denounce. Its humble
beginnings, a dying dailey –
Shots with the date – 1898 (to be supplied)
Shots with the date – 1910 (to be supplied)
Shots with the date – 1922 (to be supplied)
Headlines, cartoons, contemporary newreels or stills of the
1. WOMAN SUFFRAGE
The celebrated newsreel shot of about 1914.
Breaking up of a speakeasy and such.
4. LABOR RIOTS
Brief clips of old newreel shots of William Jennings Bryan,
Theodore Roosevelt, Stalin, Walter P. Thatcher, Al Smith,
McKinley, Landon, Franklin D. Roosevelt and such. Also, recent
newsreels of the elderly Kane with such Nazis as Hitler and
Goering; and England’s Chamberlain and Churchill.
Shot of a ramshackle building with old-fashioned presses showing
through plate glass windows and the name “Enquirer” in old-
fashioned gold letters. (1892)
Kane’s empire, in its glory, held
dominion over thirty-seven
newpapers, thirteen magazines, a
radio network. An empire upon an
empire. The first of grocery
stores, paper mills, apartment
buildings, factories, forests,
ocean-liners – An empire through
which for fifty years flowed, in
an unending stream, the wealth of
the earth’s third richest gold
mine… Famed in American legend
is the origin of the Kane fortune…
How, to boarding housekeeper Mary
Kane, by a defaulting boarder, in
1868 was left the supposedly
worthless deed to an abandoned
mine shaft: The Colorado Lode.
The magnificent Enquirer Building
1891-1911 – a map of the USA, covering the entire screen, which
in animated diagram shows the Kane publications spreading from
city to city. Starting from New York, minature newboys speed
madly to Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San
Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, El Paso, etc., screaming
“Wuxtry, Kane Papers, Wuxtry.”
Shot of a large mine going full blast, chimneys belching smoke,
trains moving in and out, etc. A large sign reads “Colorado
Lode Mining Co.” (1940) Sign reading; “Little Salem, CO – 25
An old still shot of Little Salem as it was 70 years ago
(identified by copper-plate caption beneath the still). (1870)
Shot of early tintype stills of Thomas Foster Kane and his
wife, Mary, on their wedding day. A similar picture of Mary
Kane some four or five years later with her little boy, Charles
Fifty-seven years later, before a
Congressional Investigation, Walter
P. Thatcher, grand old man of
Wall Street, for years chief target
of Kane papers’ attack on “trusts,”
recalls a journey he made as a
Shot of Capitol, in Washington D.C.
Shot of Congressional Investigating Committee (reproduction of
existing J.P. Morgan newsreel). This runs silent under
narration. Walter P. Thatcher is on the stand. He is flanked
by his son, Walter P. Thatcher Jr., and other partners. He is
being questioned by some Merry Andrew congressmen. At this
moment, a baby alligator has just been placed in his lap,
causing considerable confusion and embarrassment.
Newsreel close-up of Thatcher, the soundtrack of which now
… because of that trivial
It is a fact, however, is it not,
that in 1870, you did go to
In connection with the Kane affairs?
Yes. My firm had been appointed
trustees by Mrs. Kane for the
fortune, which she had recently
acquired. It was her wish that I
should take charge of this boy,
Charles Foster Kane.
That same month in Union Square –
Is it not a fact that on that
occasion, the boy personally
attacked you after striking you in
the stomach with a sled?
Loud laughter and confusion.
Mr. Chairman, I will read to this
committee a prepared statement I
have brought with me – and I will
then refuse to answer any further
questions. Mr. Johnson, please!
A young assistant hands him a sheet of paper from a briefcase.
“With full awareness of the meaning
of my words and the responsibility
of what I am about to say, it is
my considered belief that Mr.
Charles Foster Kane, in every
essence of his social beliefs and
by the dangerous manner in which
he has persistently attacked the
American traditions of private
property, initiative and opportunity
for advancement, is – in fact –
nothing more or less than a
Newsreel of Union Square meeting, section of crowd carrying
banners urging the boycott of Kane papers. A speaker is on
the platform above the crowd.
(fading in on
– till the words “Charles Foster
Kane” are a menace to every working
man in this land. He is today
what he has always been and always
will be – A FASCIST!
And yet another opinion – Kane’s
Silent newsreel on a windy platform, flag-draped, in front of
the magnificent Enquirer building. On platform, in full
ceremonial dress, is Charles Foster Kane. He orates silently.
“I AM, HAVE BEEN, AND WILL BE ONLY ONE THING – AN AMERICAN.”
CHARLES FOSTER KANE.
Same locale, Kane shaking hands out of frame.
Another newsreel shot, much later, very brief, showing Kane,
older and much fatter, very tired-looking, seated with his
second wife in a nightclub. He looks lonely and unhappy in
the midst of the gaiety.
Twice married, twice divorced –
first to a president’s niece, Emily
Norton – today, by her second
marriage, chatelaine of the oldest
of England’s stately homes. Sixteen
years after that – two weeks after
his divorce from Emily Norton –
Kane married Susan Alexander,
singer, at the Town Hall in Trenton,
FEW PRIVATE LIVES WERE MORE PUBLIC.
Period still of Emily Norton (1900).
Reconstructed silent newsreel. Kane, Susan, and Bernstein
emerging from side doorway of City Hall into a ring of press
photographers, reporters, etc. Kane looks startled, recoils
for an instance, then charges down upon the photographers,
laying about him with his stick, smashing whatever he can hit.
For wife two, one-time opera singing
Susan Alexander, Kane built
Chicago’s Municipal Opera House.
Cost: three million dollars.
Conceived for Susan Alexander Kane,
half-finished before she divorced
him, the still unfinished Xanadu.
Cost: no man can say.
Still of architect’s sketch with typically glorified “rendering”
of the Chicago Municipal Opera House.
A glamorous shot of the almost-finished Xanadu, a magnificent
fairy-tale estate built on a mountain. (1920)
Then shots of its preparation. (1917)
Shots of truck after truck, train after train, flashing by
with tremendous noise.
Shots of vast dredges, steamshovels.
Shot of ship standing offshore unloading its lighters.
In quick succession, shots follow each other, some
reconstructed, some in miniature, some real shots (maybe from
the dam projects) of building, digging, pouring concrete, etc.
One hundred thousand trees, twenty
thousand tons of marble, are the
ingredients of Xanadu’s mountain.
Xanadu’s livestock: the fowl of
the air, the fish of the sea, the
beast of the field and jungle –
two of each; the biggest private
zoo since Noah. Contents of Kane’s
palace: paintings, pictures,
statues, the very stones of many
another palace, shipped to Florida
from every corner of the earth,
from other Kane houses, warehouses,
where they mouldered for years.
Enough for ten museums – the loot
of the world.
More shots as before, only this time we see (in miniature) a
large mountain – at different periods in its development –
rising out of the sands.
Shots of elephants, apes, zebras, etc. being herded, unloaded,
shipped, etc. in various ways.
Shots of packing cases being unloaded from ships, from trains,
from trucks, with various kinds of lettering on them (Italian,
Arabian, Chinese, etc.) but all consigned to Charles Foster
Kane, Xanadu, Florida.
A reconstructed still of Xanadu – the main terrace. A group
of persons in clothes of the period of 1917. In their midst,
clearly recognizable, are Kane and Susan.
Kane urged his country’s entry
into one war, opposed participation
in another. Swung the election to
one American President at least,
was called another’s assassin.
Thus, Kane’s papers might never
have survived – had not the
FROM XANADU, FOR THE PAST TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, ALL KANE
ENTERPRISES HAVE BEEN DIRECTED, MANY OF THE NATIONS DESTINIES
Shots of various authentically worded headlines of American
papers since 1895.
Spanish-American War shots. (1898)
A graveyard in France of the World War and hundreds of crosses.
Old newsreels of a political campaign.
Insert of a particularly virulent headline and/or cartoon.
HEADLINE: “PRESIDENT SHOT”
Kane, molder of mass opinion though
he was, in all his life was never
granted elective office by the
voters of his country. Few U.S.
news publishers have been.
Few, like one-time Congressman
Hearst, have ever run for any office –
most know better – conclude with
other political observers that one
man’s press has power enough for
himself. But Kane papers were
once strong indeed, and once the
prize seemed almost his. In 1910,
as Independent Candidate for
governor, the best elements of the
state behind him – the White House
seemingly the next easy step in a
lightning political career –
NIGHT SHOT OF CROWD BURNING CHARLES FOSTER KANE IN EFFIGY.
THE DUMMY BEARS A GROTESQUE, COMIC RESEMBLANCE TO KANE. IT IS
TOSSED INTO THE FLAMES, WHICH BURN UP –
AND THEN DOWN… (1910)
IN POLITICS – ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE
Newsreel shots of great crowds streaming into a building –
Madison Square Garden – then shots inside the vast auditorium,
at one end of which is a huge picture of Kane. (1910)
Shot of box containing the first Mrs. Kane and young Howard
Kane, age five. They are acknowledging the cheers of the crowd.
(Silent Shot) (1910)
Newreel shot of dignitaries on platform, with Kane, alongside
of speaker’s table, beaming, hand upraised to silence the crowd.
(Silent Shot) (1910)
Then, suddenly – less than one
week before election – defeat!
Shameful, ignominious – defeat
that set back for twenty years the
cause of reform in the U.S., forever
cancelled political chances for
Charles Foster Kane. Then, in the
third year of the Great
Depression… As to all publishers,
it sometimes must – to Bennett, to
Munsey and Hearst it did – a paper
closes! For Kane, in four short
Eleven Kane papers, four Kane
magazines merged, more sold,
Newreel shot – closeup of Kane delivering a speech… (1910)
The front page of a contemporary paper – a screaming headline.
Twin phots of Kane and Susan. (1910)
Printed title about Depression.
Once more repeat the map of the USA 1932-1939. Suddenly, the
cartoon goes into reverse, the empire begins to shrink,
illustrating the narrator’s words.
The door of a newspaper office with the signs: “Closed.”
Then four long years more – alone
in his never-finished, already
decaying, pleasure palace, aloof,
seldom visited, never photographed,
Charles Foster Kane continued to
direct his falling empire … vainly
attempting to sway, as he once
did, the destinies of a nation
that has ceased to listen to him
… ceased to trust him…
SHOTS OF XANADU. (1940)
Series of shots, entirely modern, but rather jumpy and obviously
bootlegged, showing Kane in a bath chair, swathed in summer
rugs, being perambulated through his rose garden, a desolate
figure in the sunshine. (1935)
Last week, death came to sit upon
the throne of America’s Kubla Khan –
last week, as it must to all men,
death came to Charles Foster Kane.
Cabinent Photograph (Full Screen) of Kane as an old, old man.
This image remains constant on the screen (as camera pulls
back, taking in the interior of a dark projection room.
INT. PROJECTION ROOM – DAY –
A fairly large one, with a long throw to the screen. It is
The image of Kane as an old man remains constant on the screen
as camera pulls back, slowly taking in and registering
Projection Room. This action occurs, however, only after the
first few lines of encuring dialogue have been spoken. The
shadows of the men speaking appear as they rise from their
chairs – black against the image of Kane’s face on the screen.
NOTE: These are the editors of a “News Digest” short, and of
the Rawlston magazines. All his enterprises are represented
in the projection room, and Rawlston himself, that great man,
is present also and will shortly speak up.
During the entire course of this scene, nobody’s face is really
seen. Sections of their bodies are picked out by a table light,
a silhouette is thrown on the screen, and their faces and bodies
are themselves thrown into silhouette against the brilliant
slanting rays of light from the projection room.
A Third Man is on the telephone. We see a corner of his head
and the phone.
Stand by. I’ll tell you if we
want to run it again.
A short pause.
A MAN’S VOICE
It’s a tough thing to do in a
newsreel. Seventy years of a man’s
Murmur of highly salaried assent at this. Rawlston walks toward
camera and out of the picture. Others are rising. Camera
during all of this, apparently does its best to follow action
and pick up faces, but fails. Actually, all set-ups are to be
planned very carefully to exclude the element of personality
from this scene; which is expressed entirely by voices, shadows,
sillhouettes and the big, bright image of Kane himself on the
See what Arthur Ellis wrote about
him in the American review?
I read it.
(its owner is already
leaning across the
table, holding a
piece of paper
under the desk
light and reading
Listen: Kane is dead. He
contributed to the journalism of
his day – the talent of a
mountebank, the morals of a
bootlegger, and the manners of a
pasha. He and his kind have almost
succeeded in transforming a once
noble profession into a seven
percent security – no longer secure.
That’s what Arthur Ellis is writing
now. Thirty years ago, when Kane
gave him his chance to clean up
Detroit and Chicago and St. Louis,
Kane was the greatest guy in the
world. If you ask me –
Charles Foster Kane was a…
Then observations are made almost simultaneous.
Just a minute!
Camera moves to take in his bulk outlined against the glow
from the projection room.
What were Kane’s last words?
A silence greets this.
What were the last words he said
on earth? Thompson, you’ve made
us a good short, but it needs
That’s it – motivation. What made
Kane what he was? And, for that
matter, what was he? What we’ve
just seen are the outlines of a
career – what’s behind the career?
What’s the man? Was he good or
bad? Strong or foolish? Tragic
or silly? Why did he do all those
things? What was he after?
Maybe he told us on his death bed.
Yes, and maybe he didn’t.
Ask the question anyway, Thompson!
Build the picture around the
question, even if you can’t answer
I know, but –
(riding over him
like any other
All we saw on that screen was a
big American –
One of the biggest.
But how is he different from Ford?
Or Hearst for that matter? Or
Rockefeller – or John Doe?
I know people worked for Kane will
tell you – not only in the newspaper
business – look how he raised
salaries. You don’t want to forget –
You take his labor record alone,
they ought to hang him up like a
I tell you, Thompson – a man’s
dying words –
What were they?
Yes, Mr. Rawlston, what were Kane’s
A little ripple of laughter at this, which is promptly silenced
Tough guy, huh?
Dies calling for Rosebud!
Here’s a man who might have been
President. He’s been loved and
hated and talked about as much as
any man in our time – but when he
comes to die, he’s got something
on his mind called “Rosebud.”
What does that mean?
A racehorse he bet on once,
probably, that didn’t come in –
All right. But what was the race?
There is a short silence.
Hold this thing up for a week.
Two weeks if you have to…
But don’t you think if we release
it now – he’s only been dead four
days it might be better than if –
Nothing is ever better than finding
out what makes people tick. Go
after the people that knew Kane
well. That manager of his – the
little guy, Bernstein, those two
wives, all the people who knew
him, had worked for him, who loved
him, who hated his guts –
I don’t mean go through the City
Directory, of course –
The Third Man gives a hearty “yes-man” laugh.
I’ll get to it right away, Mr.
The camera from behind him, outlines his back against Kane’s
picture on the screen.
It’ll probably turn out to be a
very simple thing…
NOTE: Now begins the story proper – the seach by Thompson for
the facts about Kane – his researches … his interviews with
the people who knew Kane.
It is important to remember always that only at the very end
of the story is Thompson himself a personality. Until then,
throughout the picture, we photograph only Thompson’s back,
shoulders, or his shadow – sometimes we only record his voice.
He is not until the final scene a “character”. He is the
personification of the search for the truth about Charles Foster
Kane. He is the investigator.
EXT. CHEAP CABARET – “EL RANCHO” – ATLANTIC CITY – NIGHT –
1940 (MINIATURE) – RAIN
The first image to register is a sign:
SUSAN ALEXANDER KANE
These words, spelled out in neon, glow out of the darkness at
the end of the fade out. Then there is lightning which reveals
a squalid roof-top on which the sign stands. Thunder again,
and faintly the sound of music from within. A light glows
from a skylight. The camera moves to this and closes in.
Through the splashes of rain, we see through the skylight down
into the interior of the cabaret. Directly below us at a table
sits the lone figure of a woman, drinking by herself.
INT. “EL RANCO” CABARET – NIGHT –
Medium shot of the same woman as before, finishing the drink
she started to take above. It is Susie. The music, of course,
is now very loud. Thompson, his back to the camera, moves
into the picture in the close foreground. A Captain appears
behind Susie, speaking across her to Thompson.
This is Mr. Thompson, Miss
Susan looks up into Thompson’s face. She is fifty, trying to
look much younger, cheaply blonded, in a cheap, enormously
generous evening dress. Blinking up into Thompson’s face, she
throws a crink into ther mouth. Her eyes, which she thinks is
keeping commandingly on his, are bleared and watery.
(to the Captain)
I want another drink, John.
Low thunder from outside.
(seeing his chance)
Right away. Will you have
something, Mr. Thompson?
(staring to sit
I’ll have a highball.
(so insistently as
to make Thompson
change his mind
and stand up again)
Who told you you could sit down
Oh! I thought maybe we could have
a drink together?
There is an awkward pause as Thompson looks from her to the
Why don’t you people let me alone?
I’m minding my own business. You
If you’d just let me talk to you
for a little while, Miss Alexander.
All I want to ask you…
Get out of here!
Get out! Get out!
Thompson looks at the Captain, who shrugs his shoulders.
I’m sorry. Maybe some other time –
If he thought he would get a response from Susan, who thinks
she is looking at him steelily, he realizes his error. He
nods and walks off, following the Captain out the door.
She’s just not talking to anybody
from the newspapers, Mr. Thompson.
I’m not from a newspaper exactly,
They have come upon a waiter standing in front of a booth.
(to the waiter)
Get her another highball.
(after a moment,
They walk to the door.
She’s plastered, isn’t she?
She’ll snap out of it. Why, until
he died, she’d just as soon talk
about Mr. Kane as about anybody.
I’ll come down in a week or so and
see her again. Say, you might be
able to help me. When she used to
talk about Kane – did she ever
happen to say anything – about
Thompson has just handed him a bill. The Captain pockets it.
Thank you, sir. As a matter of
fact, yesterday afternoon, when it
was in all the papers – I asked
her. She never heard of Rosebud.
INT. THATCHER MEMORIAL LIBRARY – DAY –
An excruciatingly noble interpretation of Mr. Thatcher himself
executed in expensive marble. He is shown seated on one of
those improbable Edwin Booth chairs and is looking down, his
stone eyes fixed on the camera.
We move down off of this, showing the impressive pedestal on
which the monument is founded. The words, “Walter Parks
Thatcher” are prominently and elegantly engraved thereon.
Immediately below the inscription we encounter, in a medium
shot, the person of Bertha Anderson, an elderly, manish
spinnster, seated behind her desk. Thompson, his hat in his
hand, is standing before her. Bertha is on the phone.
Yes. I’ll take him in now.
(hangs up and looks
The directors of the Thatcher
Library have asked me to remind
you again of the condition under
which you may inspect certain
portions of Mr. Thatcher’s
unpublished memoirs. Under no
circumstances are direct quotations
from his manuscript to be used by
That’s all right.
You may come with me.
Without watching whether he is following her or not, she rises
and starts towards a distant and imposingly framed door.
Thompson, with a bit of a sigh, follows.
INT. THE VAULT ROOM – THATCHER MEMORIAL LIBRARY – DAY –
A room with all the warmth and charm of Napolean’s tomb.
As we dissolve in, the door opens in and we see past Thompson’s
shoulders the length of the room. Everything very plain, very
much made out of marble and very gloomy. Illumination from a
skylight above adds to the general air of expensive and
classical despair. The floor is marble, and there is a
gigantic, mahogany table in the center of everything. Beyond
this is to be seen, sunk in the marble wall at the far end of
the room, the safe from which a guard, in a khaki uniform,
with a revolver holster at his hip, is extracting the journal
of Walter P. Thatcher. He brings it to Bertha as if he were
the guardian of a bullion shipment. During this, Bertha has
(to the guard)
Pages eighty-three to one hundred
and forty-two, Jennings.
Yes, Miss Anderson.
You will confine yourself, it is
our understanding, to the chapter
dealing with Mr. Kane.
That’s all I’m interested in.
The guard has, by this time, delivered the precious journal.
Bertha places it reverently on the table before Thompson.
You will be required to leave this
room at four-thirty promptly.
She leaves. Thompson starts to light a cigarette. The guard
shakes his head. With a sigh, Thompson bends over to read the
manuscript. Camera moves down over his shoulder onto page of
Manuscript, neatly and precisely written:
“CHARLES FOSTER KANE
WHEN THESE LINES APPEAR IN PRINT, FIFTY YEARS AFTER MY DEATH,
I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE WHOLE WORLD WILL AGREE WITH MY OPINION
OF CHARLES FOSTER KANE, ASSUMING THAT HE IS NOT THEN COMPLETELY
FORGOTTEN, WHICH I REGARD AS EXTREMELY LIKELY. A GOOD DEAL OF
NONSENSE HAS APPEARED ABOUT MY FIRST MEETING WITH KANE, WHEN
HE WAS SIX YEARS OLD… THE FACTS ARE SIMPLE. IN THE WINTER
The camera has not held on the entire page. It has been
following the words with the same action that the eye does the
reading. On the last words, the white page of the paper
EXT. MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
The white of a great field of snow, seen from the angle of a
In the same position of the last word in above Insert, appears
the tiny figure of Charles Foster Kane, aged five (almost like
an animated cartoon). He is in the act of throwing a snowball
at the camera. It sails toward us and over our heads, out of
Reverse angle – on the house featuring a large sign reading:
MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE
HIGH CLASS MEALS AND LODGING
Charles Kane’s snowball hits the sign.
INT. PARLOR – MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Camera is angling through the window, but the window-frame is
not cut into scene. We see only the field of snow again, same
angle as in previous scene. Charles is manufacturing another
snowball. Now –
Camera pulls back, the frame of the window appearing, and we
are inside the parlor of the boardinghouse. Mrs. Kane, aged
about 28, is looking out towards her son. Just as we take her
in she speaks:
Be careful, Charles!
Mrs. Kane –
(Calling out the
window almost on
top of this)
Pull your muffler around your neck,
But Charles, deliriously happy in the snow, is oblivious to
this and is running away. Mrs. Kane turns into camera and we
see her face – a strong face, worn and kind.
think we’ll have to tell him now –
Camera now pulls back further, showing Thatcher standing before
a table on which is his stove-pipe hat and an imposing
multiplicity of official-looking documents. He is 26 and, as
might be expected, a very stuffy young man, already very
expensive and conservative looking, even in Colorado.
I’ll sign those papers –
You people seem to forget that I’m
the boy’s father.
At the sound of Kane Sr.’s voice, both have turned to him and
the camera pulls back still further, taking him in.
Kane Sr., who is the assistant curator in a livery stable, has
been groomed as elegantly as is likely for this meeting ever
From outside the window can be heard faintly the wild and
cheerful cries of the boy, blissfully cavorting in the snow.
It’s going to be done exactly the
way I’ve told Mr. Thatcher –
If I want to, I can go to court.
father has a right to –
Mr. Kane, the certificates that
Mr. Graves left here are made out
to Mrs. Kane, in her name. Hers
to do with as she pleases –
Well, I don’t hold with signing my
boy away to any bank as guardian
just because –
I want you to stop all this
The Bank’s decision in all matters
concerning his education, his place
of residence and similar subjects
will be final.
(clears his throat)
The idea of a bank being the
Mrs. Kane has met his eye. Her triumph over him finds
expression in his failure to finish his sentence.
(even more quietly)
I want you to stop all this
We will assume full management of
the Colorado Lode – of which you,
Mrs. Kane, are the sole owner.
Kane Sr. opens his mouth once or twice, as if to say something,
but chokes down his opinion.
(has been reading
shoulder as he
Where do I sign, Mr. Thatcher?
Right here, Mrs. Kane.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Mrs. Kane lifts the quill pen.
Mary, I’m asking you for the last
time – anyon’d think I hadn’t been
a good husband and a –
Mrs. Kane looks at him slowly. He stops his speech.
The sum of fifty thousand dollars
a year is to be paid to yourself
and Mr. Kane as long as you both
live, and thereafter the survivor –
Mrs. Kane puts pen to the paper and signs.
Well, let’s hope it’s all for the
It is. Go on, Mr. Thatcher –
Mrs. Kane, listening to Thatcher, of course has had her other
ear bent in the direction of the boy’s voice. Thatcher is
aware both of the boy’s voice, which is counter to his own,
and of Mrs. Kane’s divided attention. As he pauses, Kane Sr.
genteelly walks over to close the window.
EXT. MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Kane Jr., seen from Kane Sr.’s position at the window. He is
advancing on the snowman, snowballs in his hands, dropping to
one knee the better to confound his adversary.
If the rebels want a fight boys,
let’s give it to ‘em!
He throws two snowballs, missing widely, and gets up and
advances another five feet before getting on his knees again.
The terms are underconditional
surrender. Up and at ‘em! The
INT. PARLOR – MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Kane Sr. closes the window.
(over the boy’s
Everything else – the principal as
well as all monies earned – is to
be administered by the bank in
trust for your son, Charles Foster
Kane, until his twenty-fifth
birthday, at which time he is to
come into complete possession.
Mrs. Kane rises and goes to the window.
Go on, Mr. Thatcher.
Thatcher continues as she opens the window. His voice, as
before, is heard with overtones of the boy’s.
EXT. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Kane Jr., seen from Mrs. Kane’s position at the window. He is
now within ten feet of the snowman, with one snowball left
which he is holding back in his right hand.
You can’t lick Andy Jackson! Old
Hickory, that’s me!
He fires his snowball, well wide of the mark and falls flat on
his stomach, starting to crawl carefully toward the snowman.
It’s nearly five, Mrs. Kane, don’t
you think I’d better meet the boy –
INT. PARLOR – MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Mrs. Kane at the window. Thatcher is now standing at her side.
I’ve got his trunk all packed –
(she chokes a little)
I’ve it packed for a couple of
She can’t say anymore. She starts for the hall day. Kane
Sr., ill at ease, has no idea of how to comfort her.
I’ve arranged for a tutor to meet
us in Chicago. I’d have brought
him along with me, but you were so
anxious to keep everything secret –
He stops as he realizes that Mrs. Kane has paid no attention
to him and, having opened the door, is already well into the
hall that leads to the side door of the house. He takes a
look at Kane Sr., tightens his lips and follows Mrs. Kane.
Kane, shoulders thrown back like one who bears defeat bravely,
EXT. MRS. KANE’S BOARDINGHOUSE – DAY –
Kane, in the snow-covered field. With the snowman between him
and the house, he is holding the sled in his hand, just about
to make the little run that prefaces a belly-flop. The Kane
house, in the background, is a dilapidated, shabby, two-story
frame building, with a wooden outhouse. Kane looks up as he
sees the single file procession, Mrs. Kane at its head, coming
Mrs. Kane smiles.
(gesturing at the
See, Mom? I took the pipe out of
his mouth. If it keeps on snowin’,
maybe I’ll make some teeth and –
You better come inside, son. You
and I have got to get you all ready
for – for –
Charles, my name is Mr. Thatcher –
This is Mr. Thatcher, Charles.
How do you do, Charles?
He comes from the east.
Hello. Hello, Pop.
Mr. Thatcher is going to take you
on a trip with him tonight, Charles.
You’ll be leaving on Number Ten.
That’s the train with all the
You goin’, Mom?
Your mother won’t be going right
away, Charles –
Where’m I going?
You’re going to see Chicago and
New York – and Washington, maybe…
Isn’t he, Mr. Thatcher?
He certainly is. I wish I were a
little boy and going to make a
trip like that for the first time.
Why aren’t you comin’ with us,
We have to stay here, Charles.
You’re going to live with Mr.
Thatcher from now on, Charlie!
You’re going to be rich. Your Ma
figures – that is, re – she and I
have decided that this isn’t the
place for you to grow up in.
You’ll probably be the richest man
in America someday and you ought
You won’t be lonely, Charles…
We’re going to have a lot of good
times together, Charles… Really
Kane stares at him.
Come on, Charles. Let’s shake
(extends his hand.
to look at him)
Now, now! I’m not as frightening
as all that! Let’s shake, what do
He reaches out for Charles’s hand. Without a word, Charles
hits him in the stomach with the sled. Thatcher stumbles back
a few feet, gasping.
(with a sickly grin)
You almost hurt me, Charles.
(moves towards him)
Sleds aren’t to hit people with.
Sleds are to – to sleigh on. When
we get to New York, Charles, we’ll
get you a sled that will –
He’s near enough to try to put a hand on Kane’s shoulder. As
he does, Kane kicks him in the ankle.
He throws himself on her, his arms around her. Slowly Mrs.
Kane puts her arms around him.
It’s all right, Charles, it’s all
Thatcher is looking on indignantly, occasionally bending over
to rub his ankle.
Sorry, Mr. Thatcher! What the kid
needs is a good thrashing!
That’s what you think, is it, Jim?
Mrs. Kane looks slowly at Mr. Kane.
That’s why he’s going to be brought
up where you can’t get at him.
1870 – NIGHT (STOCK OR MINIATURE)
Old-fashioned railroad wheels underneath a sleeper, spinning
along the track.
INT. TRAIN – OLD-FASHIONED DRAWING ROOM – NIGHT –
Thatcher, with a look of mingled exasperation, annoyance,
sympathy and inability to handle the situation, is standing
alongside a berth, looking at Kane. Kane, his face in the
pillow, is crying with heartbreaking sobs.
The white page of the Thatcher manuscript. We pick up the
“HE WAS, I REPEAT, A COMMON ADVENTURER, SPOILED, UNSCRUPULOUS,
The words are followed by printed headline on “Enquirer” copy
(as in following scene).
INT. ENQUIRER CITY ROOM – DAY –
Close-up on printed headline which reads:
“ENEMY ARMADA OFF JERSEY COAST”
Camera pulls back to reveal Thatcher holding the “Enquirer”
copy, on which we read the headline. He is standing near the
editorial round table around which a section of the staff,
including Reilly, Leland and Kane are eating lunch.
Is that really your idea of how to
run a newspaper?
I don’t know how to run a newspaper,
Mr. Thatcher. I just try everything
I can think of.
of paper he is
“Enemy Armada Off Jersey Coast.”
You know you haven’t the slightest
proof that this – this armada – is
off the Jersey Coast.
Can you prove it isn’t?
Bernstein has come into the picture. He has a cable in his
hand. He stops when he sees Thatcher.
Mr. Bernstein, Mr. Thatcher –
How are you, Mr. Thatcher?
How do you do? –
We just had a wire from Cuba, Mr.
That’s all right. We have no
secrets from our readers. Mr.
Thatcher is one of our most devoted
readers, Mr. Bernstein. He knows
what’s wrong with every issue since
I’ve taken charge. What’s the
The food is marvelous in Cuba the
senoritas are beautiful stop I
could send you prose poems of palm
trees and sunrises and tropical
colors blending in far off
landscapes but don’t feel right in
spending your money for this stop
there’s no war in Cuba regards
You see! There hasn’t been a true
I think we’ll have to send our
friend Wheeler a cable, Mr.
Bernstein. Of course, we’ll have
to make it shorter than his, because
he’s working on an expense account
and we’re not. Let me see –
(snaps his fingers)
(a fairly tough
to take dictation,
his mouth still
full of food)
Go ahead, Mr. Kane.
Dear Wheeler –
(pauses a moment)
You provide the prose poems – I’ll
provide the war.
Laughter from the boys and girls at the table.
That’s fine, Mr. Kane.
I rather like it myself. Send it
Mike and Bernstein leave. Kane looks up, grinning at Thatcher,
who is bursting with indignation but controls himself. After
a moment of indecision, he decides to make one last try.
I came to see you, Charles, about
your – about the Enquirer’s campaign
against the Metropolitan Transfer
Won’t you step into my office, Mr.
They cross the City Room together.
I think I should remind you,
Charles, of a fact you seem to
have forgotten. You are yourself
one of the largest individual
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – DAY –
Kane holds the door open for Thatcher. They come in together.
Mr. Thatcher, isn’t everything
I’ve been saying in the Enquirer
about the traction trust absolutely
They’re all part of your general
attack – your senseless attack –
on everything and everybody who’s
got more than ten cents in his
pocket. They’re –
The trouble is, Mr. Thatcher, you
don’t realize you’re talking to
Kane moves around behind his desk. Thatcher doesn’t understand,
looks at him.
As Charles Foster Kane, who has
eighty-two thousand, six hundred
and thirty-one shares of
Metropolitan Transfer – you see, I
do have a rough idea of my holdings –
I sympathize with you. Charles
Foster Kane is a dangerous
scoundrel, his paper should be run
out of town and a committee should
be formed to boycott him. You
may, if you can form such a
committee, put me down for a
contribution of one thousand
Charles, my time is too valuable
for me –
On the other hand –
(his manner becomes
I am the publisher of the Enquirer.
As such, it is my duty – I’ll let
you in on a little secret, it is
also my pleasure – to see to it
that decent, hard-working people
of this city are not robbed blind
by a group of money – mad pirates
because, God help them, they have
no one to look after their
interests! I’ll let you in on
another little secret, Mr. Thatcher.
I think I’m the man to do it. You
see, I have money and property –
Thatcher doesn’t understand him.
If I don’t defend the interests of
the underprivileged, somebody else
will – maybe somebody without any
money or any property and that
would be too bad.
Thatcher glares at him, unable to answer. Kane starts to dance.
Do you know how to tap, Mr.
Thatcher? You ought to learn –
he continues to
Thatcher puts on his hat.
I happened to see your consolidated
statement yesterday, Charles.
Could I not suggest to you that it
is unwise for you to continue this
philanthropic enterprise –
this Enquirer – that is costing
you one million dollars a year?
You’re right. We did lose a million
dollars last year.
Thatcher thinks maybe the point has registered.
We expect to lost a million next
year, too. You know, Mr. Thatcher –
at the rate of a million a year –
we’ll have to close this place in
INT. THE VAULT ROOM – THATCHER MEMORIAL LIBRARY – DAY
Thompson – at the desk. With a gesture of annoyance, he is
closing the manuscript.
Camera arcs quickly around from over his shoulder to hold on
door behind him, missing his face as he rises and turns to
confront Miss Anderson, who has come into the room to shoo him
out. Very prominent on this wall is an over-sized oil painting
of Thatcher in the best Union League Club renaissance style.
You have enjoyed a very rare
privilege, young man. Did you
find what you were looking for?
No. Tell me something, Miss
Anderson. You’re not Rosebud, are
I didn’t think you were. Well,
thanks for the use of the hall.
He puts his hat on his head and starts out, lighting a cigarette
as he goes. Miss Anderson, scandalized, watches him.
INT. BERNSTEIN’S OFFICE – ENQUIRER SKYSCRAPER – DAY –
Closeup of a still of Kane, aged about sixty-five. Camera
pulls back, showing it is a framed photograph on the wall.
Over the picture are crossed American flags. Under it sits
Bernstein, back of his desk. Bernstein, always an undersized
Jew, now seems even smaller than in his youth. He is bald as
an egg, spry, with remarkably intense eyes. As camera continues
to travel back, the back of Thompson’s head and his shoulders
come into the picture.
Who’s a busy man? Me? I’m Chairman
of the Board. I got nothing but
time … What do you want to know?
Well, Mr. Bernstein, you were with
Mr. Kane from the very beginning –
From before the beginning, young
fellow. And now it’s after the
(turns to Thompson)
Anything you want to know about
him – about the paper –
– We thought maybe, if we can
find out what he meant by that
last word – as he was dying –
That Rosebud? Maybe some girl?
There were a lot of them back in
the early days, and –
Not some girl he knew casually and
then remembered after fifty years,
on his death bed –
You’re pretty young, Mr. –
(remembers the name)
Mr. Thompson. A fellow will
remember things you wouldn’t think
he’d remember. You take me. One
day, back in 1896, I was crossing
over to Jersey on a ferry and as
we pulled out, there was another
ferry pulling in –
– and on it, there was a girl
waiting to get off. A white dress
she had on – and she was carrying
a white pastrol – and I only saw
her for one second and she didn’t
see me at all – but I’ll bet a
month hasn’t gone by since that I
haven’t thought of that girl.
See what I mean?
Well, so what are you doing about
this “Rosebud,” Mr. Thompson.
I’m calling on people who knew Mr.
Kane. I’m calling on you.
Who else you been to see?
Well, I went down to Atlantic City –
Susie? I called her myself the
day after he died. I thought maybe
somebody ought to…
She couldn’t even come to the
You know why? She was so –
I’m going back there.
Who else did you see?
Nobody else, but I’ve been through
that stuff of Walter Thatcher’s.
That journal of his –
Thatcher! That man was the biggest
darn fool I ever met –
He made an awful lot of money.
It’s not trick to make an awful
lot of money if all you want is to
make a lot of money.
(his eyes get
Bernstein looks out of the window and keeps on looking, seeming
to see something as he talks.
He never knew there was anything
in the world but money. That kind
of fellow you can fool every day
in the week – and twice on Sundays!
The time he came to Rome for Mr.
Kane’s twenty-fifth birthday…
You know, when Mr. Kane got control
of his own
money… Such a fool like Thatcher –
I tell you, nobody’s business!
INT. BERNSTEIN’S OFFICE – DAY –
Bernstein speaking to Thompson.
He knew what he wanted, Mr. Kane
did, and he got it! Thatcher never
did figure him out. He was hard
to figure sometimes, even for me.
Mr. Kane was a genius like he said.
He had that funny sense of humor.
Sometimes even I didn’t get the
joke. Like that night the opera
house of his opened in Chicago…
You know, the opera house he built
for Susie, she should be an opera
(indicates with a
little wave of his
hand what he thinks
of that; sighing)
That was years later, of course –
1914 it was. Mrs. Kane took the
leading part in the opera, and she
was terrible. But nobody had the
nerve to say so – not even the
critics. Mr. Kane was a big man
in those days. But this one fellow,
this friend of his, Branford Leland –
He leaves the sentence up in the air, as we
INT. CITY ROOM – CHICAGO ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
It is late. The room is almost empty. Nobody is at work at
the desks. Bernstein, fifty, is waiting anxiously with a little
group of Kane’s hirelings, most of them in evening dress with
overcoats and hats. Eveybody is tense and expectant.
(turns to a young
What about Branford Leland? Has
he got in his copy?
Go in and ask him to hurry.
Well, why don’t you, Mr. Bernstein?
You know Mr. Leland.
(looks at him for a
moment; then slowly)
I might make him nervous.
(after a pause)
You and Leland and Mr. Kane – you
were great friends back in the old
days, I understand.
(with a smile)
That’s right. They called us the
Somebody behind Bernstein has trouble concealing his laughter.
The City Editor speaks quickly to cover the situation.
He’s a great guy – Leland.
Why’d he ever leave New York?
(he isn’t saying)
That’s a long story.
(a tactless one)
Wasn’t there some sort of quarrel
I had nothing to do with it.
It was Leland and Mr. Kane, and
you couldn’t call it a quarrel
exactly. Better we should forget
such things –
(turning to City
Leland is writing it up from the
Yes. I thought it was a good idea.
We’ve covered it from the news
end, of course.
And the social. How about the
music notice? You got that in?
Oh, yes, it’s already made up.
Our Mr. Mervin wrote a small review.
Well, well – isn’t that nice?
Mr. Bernstein –
Medium long shot of Kane, now forty-nine, already quite stout.
He is in white tie, wearing his overcoat and carrying a folded
Hello, Mr. Kane.
The Hirelings rush, with Bernstein, to Kane’s side. Widespread,
Mr. Kane, this is a surprise!
We’ve got a nice plant here.
Everybody falls silent. There isn’t anything to say.
Was the show covered by every
Exactly according to your
instructions, Mr. Kane. We’ve got
two spreads of pictures.
(very, very casually)
And the notice?
Yes – Mr. Kane.
Is it good?
Yes, Mr. kane.
Kane looks at him for a minute.
But there’s another one still to
come – the dramatic notice.
It isn’t finished?
No, Mr. Kane.
That’s Leland, isn’t it?
Yes, Mr. Kane.
Has he said when he’ll finish?
We haven’t heard from him.
He used to work fast – didn’t he,
He sure did, Mr. Kane.
Where is he?
Right in there, Mr. Kane.
The Hireling indicates the closed glass door of a little office
at the other end of the City Room. Kane takes it in.
(helpless, but very
MR. KANE –
That’s all right, Mr. Bernstein.
Kane crosses the length of the long City Room to the glass
door indicated before by the Hireling. The City Editor looks
at Bernstein. Kane opens the door and goes into the office,
closing the door behind him.
Leland and Mr. Kane – they haven’t
spoke together for ten years.
(long pause; finally)
(starts toward the
INT. LELAND’S OFFICE – CHICAGO ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Bernstein comes in. An empty bottle is standing on Leland’s
desk. He has fallen over his typewriter, his face on the keys.
A sheet of paper is in the machine. A paragraph has been typed.
Kane is standing at the other side of the desk looking down on
him. This is the first time we see murder in Kane’s face.
Bernstein looks at Kane, then crosses to Leland. He shakes
Hey, Brad! Brad!
looks at Kane;
He ain’t been drinking before, Mr.
Kane. Never. We would have heard.
(finally; after a
What does it say there?
Bernstein stares at him.
What’s he written?
Bernstein looks over nearsightedly, painfully reading the
paragraph written on the page.
“Miss Susan Alexander, a pretty
but hopelessly incompetent amateur –
(he waits for a
minute to catch
his breath; he
doesn’t like it)
– last night opened the new Chicago
Opera House in a performance of –
(looks up miserably)
I can’t pronounce that name, Mr.
Bernstein looks at Kane for a moment, then looks back, tortured.
“Her singing, happily, is no concern
of this department. Of her acting,
it is absolutely impossible to…”
(he continues to
stare at the page)
(after a short
(without looking up)
That’s all there is.
Kane snatches the paper from the roller and reads it for
himself. Slowly, a queer look comes over his face. Then he
speaks, very quietly.
Of her acting, it is absolutely
impossible to say anything except
that it represents a new low…
Have you got that, Mr. Bernstein?
In the opinion of this reviewer –
I didn’t see that.
It isn’t here, Mr. Bernstein. I’m
(looks at him)
I can’t take shorthand.
Get me a typewriter. I’ll finish
Bernstein retreats from the room.
QUICK DISSOLVE OUT:
QUICK DISSOLVE IN:
INT. LELAND’S OFFICE – CHICAGO ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Long shot of Kane in his shirt sleeves, illuminated by a desk
light, typing furiously. As the camera starts to pull even
farther away from this, and as Bernstein – as narrator – begins
to speak –
INT. BERNSTEIN’S OFFICE – DAY –
Bernstein speaking to Thompson.
He finished it. He wrote the worst
notice I ever read about the girl
he loved. We ran it in every paper.
(after a pause)
I guess Mr. Kane didn’t think so
well of Susie’s art anyway.
(looks at him very
He thought she was great, Mr.
Thompson. He really believed that.
He put all his ambition on that
girl. After she came along, he
never really cared for himself
like he used to. Oh, I don’t
blame Susie –
Well, then, how could he write
that roast? The notices in the
Kane papers were always very kind
Oh, yes. He saw to that. I tell
you, Mr. Thompson, he was a hard
man to figure out. He had that
funny sense of humor. And then,
too, maybe he thought by finishing
that piece he could show Leland he
was an honest man. You see, Leland
didn’t think so. I guess he showed
him all right. He’s a nice fellow,
but he’s a dreamer. They were
always together in those early
days when we just started the
On these last words, we
INT. CITY ROOM – ENQUIRER BUILDING – DAY –
The front half of the second floor constitutes one large City
Room. Despite the brilliant sunshine outside, very little of
it is actually getting into the room because the windows are
small and narrow. There are about a dozen tables and desks,
of the old-fashioned type, not flat, available for reporters.
Two tables, on a raised platform at the end of the room,
obviously serve the city room executives. To the left of the
platform is an open door which leads into the Sanctrum.
As Kane and Leland enter the room, an elderly, stout gent on
the raised platform, strikes a bell and the other eight
occupants of the room – all men – rise and face the new
arrivals. Carter, the elderly gent, in formal clothes, rises
and starts toward them.
Welcome, Mr. Kane, to the
“Enquirer.” I am Herbert Carter.
Thank you, Mr Carter. This is Mr.
How do you do, Mr. Leland?
(pointing to the
Are they standing for me?
I thought it would be a nice gesture
the new publisher –
Ask them to sit down.
You may resume your work, gentlemen.
I didn’t know your plans and so I
was unable to make any preparations.
I don’t my plans myself.
They are following Carter to his raised platform.
As a matter of fact, I haven’t got
any. Except to get out a newspaper.
There is a terrific crash at the doorway. They all turn to
see Bernstein sprawled at the entrance. A roll of bedding, a
suitcase, and two framed pictures were too much for him.
Oh, Mr. Bernstein!
Bernstein looks up.
If you would come here a moment,
please, Mr. Bernstein?
Bernstein rises and comes over, tidying himself as he comes.
Mr. Carter, this is Mr. Bernstein.
Mr. Bernstein is my general manager.
How do you do, Mr. Bernstein?
You’ve got a private office here,
The delivery wagon driver has now appeared in the entrance
with parts of the bedstead and other furniture. He is looking
about, a bit bewildered.
door to left of
My little sanctum is at your
disposal. But I don’t think I
I’m going to live right here.
As long as I have to.
But a morning newspaper, Mr. Kane.
After all, we’re practically closed
twelve hours a day – except for
the business offices –
That’s one of the things I think
must be changed, Mr. Carter. The
news goes on for twenty-four hours
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – LATE DAY –
Kane, in his shirt sleeves, at a roll-top desk in the Sanctum,
is working feverishly on copy and eating a very sizeable meal
at the same time. Carter, still formally coated, is seated
alongside him. Leland, seated in a corner, is looking on,
detached, amused. The furniture has been pushed around and
Kane’s effects are somewhat in place. On a corner of the desk,
Bernstein is writing down figures. No one pays any attention
I’m not criticizing, Mr. Carter,
but here’s what I mean. There’s a
front page story in the “Chronicle,”
(points to it)
and a picture – of a woman in
Brooklyn who is missing. Probably
(looks to make sure
of the name)
A Mrs. Harry Silverstone. Why
didn’t the “Enquirer” have that
Because we’re running a newspaper,
Mr. Kane, not a scandal sheet.
Kane has finished eating. He pushes away his plates.
I’m still hungry, Brad. Let’s go
to Rector’s and get something
(pointing to the
The “Chronicle” has a two-column
headline, Mr. Carter. Why haven’t
There is no news big enough.
If the headline is big enough, it
makes the new big enough. The
murder of Mrs. Harry Silverstone –
As a matter of fact, we sent a man
to the Silverstone home yesterday
Our man even arrived before the
“Chronicle” reporter. And there’s
no proof that the woman was murdered –
or even that she’s dead.
(smiling a bit)
The “Chronicle” doesn’t say she’s
murdered, Mr. Carter. It says the
neighbors are getting suspicious.
It’s not our function to report
the gossip of housewives. If we
were interested in that kind of
thing, Mr. Kane, we could fill the
paper twice over daily –
That’s the kind of thing we are
going to be interested in from now
on, Mr. Carter. Right now, I wish
you’d send your best man up to see
Mr. Silverstone. Have him tell
Mr. Silverstone if he doesn’t
produce his wife at once, the
“Enquirer” will have him arrested.
(he gets an idea)
Have him tell Mr. Silverstone he’s
a detective from the Central Office.
If Mr. Silverstone asks to see his
badge, your man is to get indignant
and call Mr. Silverstone an
Loudly, so that the neighbors can hear.
Really, Mr. Kane, I can’t see the
function of a respectable newspaper –
Kane isn’t listening to him.
Oh, Mr. Bernstein!
Bernstein looks up from his figures.
I’ve just made a shocking discovery.
The “Enquirer” is without a
telephone. Have two installed at
I ordered six already this morning!
Got a discount!
Kane looks at Leland with a fond nod of his head at Bernstein.
Leland grins back. Mr. Carter, meantime, has risen stiffly.
But, Mr. Kane –
That’ll be all today, Mr. Carter.
You’ve been most understanding.
Good day, Mr. Carter!
Carter, with a look that runs just short of apoplexy, leaves
the room, closing the door behind him.
Poor Mr. Carter!
(shakes his head)
What makes those fellows think
that a newspaper is something rigid,
something inflexible, that people
are supposed to pay two cents for –
(without looking up)
Bernstein lifts his head and looks at Kane. Kane gazes back
(tapping on the
This is all figured at three cents
Re-figure it, Mr. Bernstein, at
(sighs and puts
papers in his pocket)
All right, but I’ll keep these
figures, too, just in case.
Ready for dinner, Brad?
Mr. Leland, if Mr. Kane, he should
decide to drop the price to one
cent, or maybe even he should make
up his mind to give the paper away
with a half-pound of tea – you’ll
just hold him until I get back,
I’m not guaranteeing a thing, Mr.
Bernstein. You people work too
fast for me! Talk about new brooms!
Who said anything about brooms?
It’s a saying, Mr. Bernstein. A
new broom sweeps clean.
INT.PRIMITIVE COMPOSING AND PRESSROOM – NEW YORK ENQUIRER –
The ground floor witht he windows on the street – of the
“Enquirer.” It is almost midnight by an old-fashioned clock
on the wall. Grouped around a large table, on which are several
locked forms of type, very old-fashioned of course, but true
to the period – are Kane and Leland in elegant evening clothes,
Bernstein, unchanged from the afternoon, and Smathers, the
composing room foreman, nervous and harassed.
But it’s impossible, Mr. Kane. We
can’t remake these pages.
These pages aren’t made up as I
want them, Mr. Smathers. We go to
press in five minutes.
(about to crack up)
The “Enquirer” has an old and
honored tradition, Mr. Kane…
The “Enquirer” is not in competition
with those other rags.
We should be publishing such rags,
that’s all I wish. Why, the
“Enquirer” – I wouldn’t wrap up
the liver for the cat in the
Mr. Kane, I must ask you to see to
it that this – this person learns
to control his tongue.
Kane looks up.
I’ve been a newspaperman my whole
life and I don’t intend –
(he starts to sputter)
– if it’s your intention that I
should continue to be harassed by
this – this –
(he’s really sore)
I warn you, Mr. Kane, it would go
against my grain to desert you
when you need me so badly – but I
would feel obliged to ask that my
resignation be accepted.
It is accepted, Mr. Carter, with
assurances of my deepest regard.
But Mr. Kane, I meant –
Kane turns his back on him, speaks again to the composing room
Let’s remake these pages, Mr.
Smathers. We’ll have to publish a
half hour late, that’s all.
(as though Kane
were talking Greek)
We can’t remake them, Mr. Kane.
We go to press in five minutes.
Kane sighs, unperturbed, as he reaches out his hand and shoves
the forms off the table onto the floor, where they scatter
into hundreds of bits.
You can remake them now, can’t
you, Mr. Smathers?
Smather’s mouth opens wider and wider. Bradford and Bernstein
After the types ‘ve been reset and
the pages have been remade according
to the way I told you before, Mr.
Smathers, kindly have proofs pulled
and bring them to me. Then, if I
can’t find any way to improve them
(almost as if
– I suppose we’ll have to go to
He starts out of the room, followed by Leland.
In case you don’t understand, Mr.
Smathers – he’s a new broom.
EXT. NEW YORK STREET – VERY EARLY DAWN –
The picture is mainly occupied by a large building, on the
roof of which the lights spell out the word “Enquirer” against
the sunrise. We do not see the street or the first few stories
of this building, the windows of which would be certainly
illuminated. What we do see is the floor on which is located
the City Room. Over this scene, newboys are heard selling the
Chronicle, their voices growing in volume.
As the dissolve complete itself, camera moves toward the one
lighted window – the window of the Sanctrum.
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – VERY EARLY DAWN –
The newsboys are still heard from the street below – fainter
but very insistent.
Kane’s office is gas-lit, of course, as is the rest of the
Kane, in his shirt sleeves, stands at the open window looking
out. The bed is already made up. On it is seated Bernstein,
smoking the end of a cigar. Leland is in a chair.
CHRONICLE! CHRONICLE! H’YA – THE
CHRONICLE – GET YA! CHRONICLE!
Kane, taking a deep breath of the morning air, closes the window
and turns to the others. The voices of the newsboys, naturally,
are very much fainter after this.
We’ll be on the street soon, Charlie –
another ten minutes.
(looking at his
It’s three hours and fifty minutes
late – but we did it –
Leland rises from the chair, stretching painfully.
It’s been a tough day.
A wasted day.
You just made the paper over four
times today, Mr. Kane. That’s all –
I’ve changed the front page a
little, Mr. Bernstein. That’s not
enough – There’s something I’ve
got to get into this paper besides
pictures and print – I’ve got to
make the “New York Enquirer” as
important to New York as the gas
in that light.
What’re you going to do, Charlie?
Kane looks at him for a minute with a queer smile of happy
My Declaration of Principles –
(he says it with
quotes around it)
Don’t smile, Brad –
(getting the idea)
Take dictation, Mr. Bernstein –
Can’t take shorthand, Mr. Kane –
I’ll write it myself.
Kane grabs a piece of rough paper and a grease crayon. Sitting
down on the bed next to Bernstein, he starts to write.
(looking over his
You don’t wanta make any promises,
Mr. Kane, you don’t wanta keep.
(as he writes)
These’ll be kept.
(stops for a minute
and reads what he
has written; reading)
I’ll provide the people of this
city with a daily paper that will
tell all the news honestly.
(starts to write
again; reading as
will also provide them –
That’s the second sentence you’ve
started with “I” –
People are going to know who’s
responsible. And they’re going to
get the news – the true news –
quickly and simply and
(he speaks with
And no special interests will be
allowed to interfere with the truth
of that news.
He looks at Leland for a minute and goes back to his writing,
reading as he writes.
Bernstein has risen and crossed to one side of Kane. They
both stand looking out. Leland joins him on the other side.
Their three heads are silhouetted against the sky. Leland’s
head is seen to turn slightly as he looks into Kane’s face –
camera very close on this – Kane turns to him and we know their
eyes have met, although their faces are almost in sillhouette.
Bernstein is still smoking a cigar.
Front page of the “Enquirer” shows big boxed editorial with
MY PRINCIPLES – A DECLARATION BY CHARLES FOSTER KANE
Camera continues pulling back and shows newspaper to be on the
top of a pile of newspapers. As we draw further back, we see
four piles, and as camera contines to pull back, we see six
piles and go on back until we see a big field of “Enquirers” –
piles of “Enquirers” – all 26,000 copies ready for distribution.
A wagon with a huge sign on its side reading
“ENQUIRER – CIRCULATION 26,000”
passes through foreground, and we wipe to:
A pile of “Enquirers” for sale on a broken down wooden box on
a street corner, obviously a poor district. A couple of coins
fall on the pile.
The stoop of a period door with old-fashioned enamel milk can
and a bag of rolls. Across the sidewalk before this, moves
the shadow of an old-fashioned bicycle with an enormous front
wheel. A copy of the “Enquirer” is tossed on the stoop.
A breakfast table – beautiful linen and beautiful silver –
everything very expensive, gleaming in the sunshine. Into a
silver newspaper rack there is slipped a copy of the “Enquirer”.
Here, as before, the boxed editorial reading MY PRINCIPLES – A
DECLARATION BY CHARLES FOSTER KANE, is very prominent on the
The wooden floor of a railroad station, flashing light and
dark as a train behind the camera rushes by. On the floor,
there is tossed a bound bundle of the “New York Enquirer” –
the Declaration of Principles still prominent.
Rural Delivery – a copy of the “Enquirer”s being put into bins,
showing state distribution.
The railroad platform again. We stay here for four images.
On each image, the speed of the train is faster and the piles
of the “Enquirer” are larger. On the first image, we move in
to hold on the words “CIRCULATION – 31,000.” We are this close
for the next pile which reads 40,000; the next one which reads
55,000, and the last which is 62,000. In each instance, the
bundles of newspapers are thicker and the speed of the moving
train behind the camera is increased.
The entire montage above indicated is accompanied by a
descriptive complement of sound – the traffic noises of New
York in the 1890’s; wheels on cobblestones and horses’ hooves;
bicycle bells; the mooning of cattle and the crowing of roosters
(in the RFD shot), and in all cases where the railroad platform
is used – the mounting sound of the railroad train.
The last figure “62,000” opposite the word “CIRCULATION” on
the “Enquirer” masthead changes to:
EXT. STREET AND CHRONICLE BUIDING – DAY –
Angle up to wall of building – a painter on a cradle is putting
the last zero to the figure “62,000” on an enormous sign
advertising the “Enquirer.” It reads:
THE ENQUIRER THE PEOPLE’S NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION 62,000
Camera travels down side of building – takes in another building
on which there is a sign which reads:
READ THE ENQUIRER AMERICA’S FINEST CIRCULATION 62,000
Camera continues to travel down to sidewalk in front of the
Chronicle office. The Chronicle office has a plateglass window
in which is reflected traffic moving up and down the street,
also the figures of Kane, Leland and Bernstein, who are munching
Inside the window, almost filling it, is a large photograph of
the “Chronicle” staff, with Reilly prominently seated in the
center. A sign over the photo reads: EDITORIAL AND EXECUTIVE
STAFF OF THE NEW YORK CHRONICLE. A sign beneath it reads:
GREATEST NEWSPAPER STAFF IN THE WORLD. The sign also includes
the “Chronicle” circulation figure. There are nine men in the
(looking up at the
sign – happily)
Sixty-two thousand –
That looks pretty nice.
Let’s hope they like it there.
From the Chronicle Building that
sign is the biggest thing you can
see – every floor guaranteed –
let’s hope it bothers them – it
cost us enough.
(pointing to the
sign over the
photograph in the
Look at that.
The “Chronicle” is a good newspaper.
It’s a good idea for a newspaper.
(reading the figures)
Four hundred sixy thousand.
Say, with them fellows –
(referring to the
– it’s no trick to get circulation.
You’re right, Mr. Bernstein.
You know how long it took the
“Chronicle” to get that staff
together? Twenty years.
Kane, smiling, lights a cigarette, at the same time looking
into the window. Camera moves in to hold on the photograph of
nine men, still holding the reflection of Kane’s smiling face.
INT. CITY ROOM – THE ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Nine men, arrayed as in the photograph, but with Kane beaming
in the center of the first row. The men, variously with
mustaches, beards, bald heads, etc. are easily identified as
being the same men, Reilly prominent amongst them.
As camera pulls back, it is revealed that they are being
photographed – by an old-type professional photographer, big
box, black hood and all – in a corner of the room. It is 1:30
at night. Desks, etc. have been pushed against the wall.
Running down the center of the room is a long banquet table,
at which twenty diners have finished their meals. The eleven
remaining at their seats – these include Bernstein and Leland –
are amusedly watching the photographic ceremonies.
That’s all. Thank you.
The photographic subjects rise.
(a sudden thought)
Make up an extra copy and mail it
to the “Chronicle.”
Chuckling and beaming, he makes his way to his place at the
head of the table. The others have already sat down. Kane
gets his guests’ attention by rapping on the table with a knife.
Gentlemen of the “Enquirer”! This
has, I think, been a fitting welcome
to those distinguished journalists –
(indicates the eight
Mr. Reilly in particular – who are
the latest additions to our ranks.
It will make them happy to learn
that the “Enquirer’s” circulation
this morning passed the two hundred
Two hundred and one thousand, six
hundred and forty-seven.
All of you – new and old – You’re
all getting the best salaries in
town. Not one of you has been
hired because of his loyalty.
It’s your talent I’m interested
in. That talent that’s going to
make the “Enquirer” the kind of
paper I want – the best newspaper
in the world!
However, I think you’ll agree we’ve
heard enough about newspapers and
the newspaper business for one
night. There are other subjects
in the world.
He puts his two fingers in his mouth and lets out a shrill
whistle. This is a signal. A band strikes up a lively ditty
of the period and enters in advance a regiment of very
magnificent maidens, as daringly arrayed as possible in the
chorus costumes of the day. The rest of this episode will be
planned and staged later. Its essence is that Kane is just a
healthy and happy young man having a wonderful time.
As some of the girls are detached from the line and made into
partners for individual dancing –
THE “ENQUIRER” SIGN: THE ENQUIRER AMERICA’S FINEST
Dissolve just completes itself – the image of Kane dancing
with a girl on each arm just disappears as camera pans down
off the Temple Bldg. in the same action as the previous street
scene. There is a new sign on the side of the building below.
READ THE ENQUIRER GREATEST STAFF IN THE WORLD
Camera continues panning as we
A montage of various scenes, between the years 1891-1900.
The scenes indicate the growth of the “Enquirer” under the
impulse of Kane’s personal drive. Kane is shown, thus, at
Move down from the sign: READ THE ENQUIRER GREATEST STAFF IN
THE WORLD to street in front of saloon with parade passing
(boys going off to the Spanish-American War)- A torchlight
parade with the torches reflected in the glass window of the
saloon – the sound of brass band playing “It’s a Hot Time.”
In the window of the saloon is a large sign or poster “REMEMBER
INSERT: Remington drawing of American boys, similar to the
parade above, in which “Our Boys” in the expeditionary hats
are seen marching off to war.
Back of observation car. Shot of Kane congratulating Teddy
Roosevelt (the same shot as in the News Digest – without
The wooden floor of the railroad platform again – a bundle of
“Enquirers” – this time an enormous bundle – is thrown down,
and the moving shadows of the train behind the camera indicate
that it is going like a bat out of hell. A reproduction of
Kane and Teddy shaking hands as above is very prominent in the
frame and almost hogs the entire front page. The headline
indicates the surrender of Cuba.
INT. ENQUIRER OFFICE
Cartoon, highly dramatic and very involved as to content –
lousy with captions, labels, and symbolic figures, the most
gruesome and recognizable – “Capitalistic Greed.” This cartoon
is almost finished and is on a drawing board before which stand
Kane and the artist himself. Kane is grinning over some
suggestion he has made.
The cartoon finished and reproduced on the editorial page of
the “Enquirer” – in quite close, with an editorial and several
faces of caps shown underneath. The entire newspaper is crushed
with an angry gesture and thrown down into an expensive-looking
wastebasket (which is primarily for ticker tape) tape is
INT. ENQUIRER OFFICE
Cartoonist and Kane working on comic strip of “Johnny the Monk.”
Floor of room – Two kids on floor, with newspaper spread out,
looking at the same comic strip.
Kane’s photographic gallery with photographers, stooges, and
Kane himself in attendance on a very hot-looking item of the
period. A sob sister is interviewing this hot number and Kane
is arranging her dress to look more seductive.
The hot number reproduced and prominently displayed and covering
almost half a page of the “Enquirer.” It is being read in a
barber shop and is seen in an over-shoulder shot of the man
who is reading it. He is getting a shine, a manicure, and a
haircut. The sob-sister caption over the photograph reveals:
“I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING, SAYS DANCER. EVERYTHING WENT
RED.” An oval photograph of the gun is included in the lay-
out of the pretty lady with a headline which says: “DEATH GUN.”
STREET – SHOT OF BUCKET BRIGADE
Shot of Kane, in evening clothes, in obvious position of danger,
grabbing camera from photographer. Before him rages a terrific
INSERT: Headline about inadequacy of present fire equipment.
Final shot of a new horse-drawn steam engine roaring around a
street corner (Stock).
A black pattern of iron bars. We are in a prison cell. The
door is opened and a condemned man, with priest, warden and
the usual attendants, moves into foreground and starts up the
hall past a group which includes phtographers, Kane’s sob-
sister, and Kane. The photographers take pictures with a mighty
flash of old-fashioned flash powder. The condemned man in the
foreground (in silhouette) is startled by this.
A copy of the “Enquirer” spread out on a table. A big lay-out
of the execution story includes the killer as photographed by
Kane’s photographers, and nearby on the other page there is a
large picture of the new steam fire engine (made from the stock
shot) with a headline indicating that the “Enquirer” has won
its campaign for better equipment. A cup of coffee and a
doughnut are on the newspaper, and a servant girl – over whose
shoulder we see the paper – is stirring the coffee.
The Beaux Art Ball. A number of elderly swells are jammed
into a hallway. Servants suddenly divest them of their furs,
overcoats and wraps, revealing them to be in fancy dress
costume, pink fleshings, etc., the effect to be very surprising,
very lavish and very very ridiculous. We see, among others,
Mr. Thatcher himself (as Ben Hur) ribbon around, his bald head
and all. At the conclusion of this tableau, the image freezes
and we pull back to show it reproduced on the society page of
the “New York Enquirer.”
Over the “Enquirer”‘s pictorial version of the Beaux Art Ball
is thrown a huge fish – then coffee grounds – altogether a
pretty repulsive sight.
The whole thing is bundled up and thrown into a garbage can.
Extreme close-up of the words: “OCCUPATION – JOUNALIST.”
Camera pulls back to show passport open to the photograph page
which shows Kane, registering birth, race, and nationality.
Passport cover is closed, showing it to be an American passport.
EXT. CUNARD DOCKS – GANGPLANK AND DECK OF BOAT – NIGHT –
As camera pulls back over shoulder of official, taking in Kane,
Leland, and Bernstein, we see the bustle and noise of departing
ocean liner. Behind the principles can be seen an enormous
plain sign which reads: “FIRST CLASS.” From offstage can be
heard the steward’s cry, indispensable in any Mercury
production, the old familiar cry, “All Ashore That’s Going
Ashore!” – gongs, also blasts of the great whistle and all the
rest of it.
There you are, Mr. Kane. Everything
Kane and Leland and Bernstein start up the gangplank.
Have a good rest, Mr. Kane.
But please, Mr. Kane, don’t buy
any more paintings. Nine Venuses
already we got, twenty-six Virgins –
two whole warehouses full of stuff –
I promise not to bring any more
Venuses and not to worry – and not
to try to get in touch with any of
the papers –
– and to forget about the new
feature sections – and not to try
to think up and ideas for comic
All ashore that’s going ashore!
Kane leaves Leland and Bernstein midway up gangplank, as he
rushes up to it, calling back with a wave:
(at the top of the
gangplank, he turns
and calls down)
(calling down to
You don’t expect me to keep any of
those promises, do you?
A band on deck strikes up “Auld Lang Syne.” Bernstein and
Leland turn to each other.
Do you, Mr. Leland?
They start down the gangplank together.
LONG SHOT OF THE ENQUIRER BUILDING – NIGHT
The pattern of telegraph wires, dripping with rain, through
which we see the same old building but now rendered fairly
remarkable by tremendous outline sign in gold which reads “THE
NEW YORK DAILY ENQUIRER.” A couple of lights show in the
building. We start toward the window where the lights show,
as we –
EXT. OUTSIDE THE WINDOW AT BERNSTEIN’S DESK – NIGHT
The light in the window in the former shot was showing behind
the letter “E” of the Enquirer sign. Now the letter “E” is
even larger than the frame of the camera. Rain drips
disconsolately off the middle part of the figure. We see
through this and through the drizzle of the window to
Bernstein’s desk where he sits working under a blue shaded
Same setup as before except that it is now late afternoon and
late in the winter of the year. The outline “E” is hung with
icicles which are melting, dripping despairingly between us
and Mr. Bernstein, still seated at his desk – still working.
Same setup as before except that it is spring. Instead of the
sad sounds of dripping rain or dripping icicles, we hear the
melancholy cry of a hurdy-gurdy in the street below. It is
spring and through the letter “E” we can see Bernstein working
at his desk. Pigeons are gathering on the “E” and on the sill.
Bernstein looks up and sees them. He takes some crumbs from
his little homemade lunch which is spread out on the desk before
him, carries them to the windows and feeds the pigeons, looking
moodily out on the prospect of spring on Park Row. The birds
eat the crumbs – the hurdy-gurdy continues to play.
The same setup again, it is now summer. The window was half-
open before .. now it’s open all the way and Bernstein has
gone so far as to take off his coat. His shirt and his
celluloid collar are wringing wet. Camera moves toward the
window to tighten on Bernstein and to take in the City Room
behind him, which is absolutely deserted. It is clear that
there is almost nothing more for Bernstein to do. The hurdy-
gurdy in the street is playing as before, but a new tune.
A beach on Coney Island.
Bernstein in a rented period bathing suit sits alone in the
sand, reading a copy of the “Enquirer.”
INT. CITY ROOM – ENQUIRER BUILDING – DAY –
The whole floor is now a City Room. It is twice its former
size, yet not too large for all the desks and the people using
them. The windows have been enlarged, providing a good deal
more light and air. A wall calendar says September 9th.
Kane and Bernstein enter and stand in the entrance a moment.
Kane, who really did look a bit peaked before, is now clear-
eyed and tanned. He is wearing new English clothes. As they
come into the room, Bernstein practically walking sideways, is
doing nothing but beaming and admiring Kane, quelling like a
mother at the Carnegie Hall debut of her son. Seeing and
recognizing Kane, the entire staff rises to its feet.
(referring to the
staff; with a smile)
Ask them to sit down, Mr. Bernstein.
Sit down, everybody – for heaven’s
The order is immediately obeyed, everybody going into business
of feverish activity.
So then, tonight, we go over
everything thoroughly, eh?
Especially the new papers –
We certainly do. Vacation’s over –
starting right after dinner. But
right now – that lady over there –
(he indicates a
woman at the desk)
– that’s the new society editor, I
take it? You think I could
interrupt her a moment, Mr.
Huh? Oh, I forgot – you’ve been
away so long I forgot about your
He trails after Kane as he approaches the Society Editor’s
desk. The Society Editor, a middle-aged spinster, sees him
approaching and starts to quake all over, but tries to pretend
she isn’t aware of him. An envelope in her hand shakes
violently. Kane and Bernstein stop at her desk.
Miss Townsend –
Miss Townsend looks up and is so surprised to see Bernstein
with a stranger.
Good afternoon, Mr. Bernstein.
This is Mr. Kane, Miss Townsend.
Miss Townsend can’t stick to her plan. She starts to rise,
but her legs are none too good under her. She knocks over a
tray of copy paper as she rises, and bends to pick it up.
and very softly)
Miss Townsend –
At the sound of his voice, she straightens up. She is very
close to death from excitement.
I’ve been away for several months,
and I don’t know exactly how these
things are handled now. But one
thing I wanted to be sure of is
that you won’t treat this little
announcement any differently than
you would any other similar
He hands her an envelope. She has difficulty in holding on to
Read it, Miss Townsend. And
remember – just the regular
treatment! See you at nine o’clock,
Kane leaves. Bernstein looks after him, then at the paper.
Miss Townsend finally manages to open the envelope. A piece
of flimsy paper, with a few written lines, is her reward.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Moore Norton
announce the engagement of their
daughter, Emily Monroe Norton, to
Mr. Charles Foster Kane.
(starts to read it)
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Moore Norton
(fluttering – on
top of him)
She’s – she’s the niece of – of
the President of the United States –
know. Come on, Miss Townsend –
From the window, maybe we can get
He takes her by the hand and leads her off.
Angle toward open window. Bernstein and Miss Townsend, backs
to camera, rushing to the window.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE ENQUIRER BUILDING – DAY –
High angle downward – what Bernstein and Miss Townsend see
from the window.
Kane is just stepping into an elegant barouch, drawn up at the
curb, in which sits Miss Emily Norton. He kisses her full on
the lips before he sits down. She acts a bit taken aback,
because of the public nature of the scene, but she isn’t really
annoyed. As the barouche starts off, she is looking at him
adoringly. He, however, has turned his head and is looking
adoringly at the “Enquirer.” He apparently sees Bernstein and
Miss Townsed and waves his hand.
INT. CITY ROOM – ENQUIRER – DAY –
Bernstein and Miss Townsend at window.
A girl like that, believe me, she’s
lucky! Presiden’t niece, huh!
Say, before he’s through, she’ll
be a Presiden’t wife.
Miss Townsend is now dewey-eyed. She looks at Bernstein, who
has turned away, gazing down at the departing couple.
Front page of the “Enquirer.” Large picture of the young couple –
Kane and Emily – occupying four columns – very happy.
INT. BERNSTEIN’S OFFICE – ENQUIRER – DAY –
Bernstein and Thompson. As the dissolve comes, Bernstein’s
voice is heard.
The way things turned out, I don’t
need to tell you – Miss Emily Norton
was no rosebud!
It didn’t end very well, did it?
(shaking his head)
It ended –
(a slight pause)
Then there was Susie – that ended,
(shrugs, a pause;
then looking up
guess he didn’t make her very happy –
You know, I was thinking – that
Rosebud you’re trying to find out
Maybe that was something he lost.
Mr. Kane was a man that lost –
almost everything he had –
You ought to talk to Bradford
Leland. He could tell you a lot.
I wish I could tell you where Leland
is, but I don’t know myself. He
may be out of town somewhere – he
may be dead.
In case you’d like to know, Mr.
Bernstein, he’s at the Huntington
Memorial Hospital on 180th Street.
You don’t say! Why I had no idea –
Nothing particular the matter with
him, they tell me. Just –
Just old age.
It’s the only disease, Mr. Thompson,
you don’t look forward to being
You ought to see Mr. Leland.
There’s a whole lot of things he
could tell you – if he wanted to.
EXT. HOSPITAL ROOF – DAY –
Close shot – Thompson. He is tilted back in a chair which
seems to be, and is, leaning against a chimney. Leland’s voice
is heard for a few moments before Leland is seen.
When you get to my age, young man,
you don’t miss anything. Unless
maybe it’s a good drink of bourbon.
Even that doesn’t make much
difference, if you remember there
hasn’t been any good bourbon in
this country for twenty years.
Camera has pulled back, during above speech, revealing that
Leland, wrapped in a blanket, is in a wheel chair, talking to
Thompson. They are on the flat roof of a hospital. Other
people in wheel chairs can be seen in the background, along
with a nurse or two. They are all sunning themselves.
Mr. Leland, you were –
You don’t happen to have a cigar,
do you? I’ve got a young physician –
must remember to ask to see his
license – the odds are a hundred
to one he hasn’t got one – who
thinks I’m going to stop smoking…
I changed the subject, didn’t I?
Dear, dear! What a disagreeable
old man I’ve become. You want to
know what I think of Charlie Kane?
Well – I suppose he has some private
sort of greatness. But he kept it
He never – gave himself away – He
never gave anything away. He just –
left you a tip. He had a generous
mind. I don’t suppose anybody
ever had so many opinions. That
was because he had the power to
express them, and Charlie lived on
power and the excitement of using
it – But he didn’t believe in
anything except Charlie Kane. He
never had a conviction in his life.
I guess he died without one –
That must have been pretty
unpleasant. Of course, a lot of
us check out with no special
conviction about death. But we do
know what we’re leaving … we
believe in something.
(looks sharply at
You’re absolutely sure you haven’t
got a cigar?
Sorry, Mr. Leland.
Never mind – Bernstein told you
about the first days at the office,
didn’t he? Well, Charlie was a
bad newspaper man even then. He
entertained his readers, but he
never told them the truth.
Maybe you could remember something
I can remember everything. That’s
my curse, young man. It’s the
greatest curse that’s ever been
inflicted on the human race. Memory –
I was his oldest friend.
As far as I was concerned, he
behaved like swine. Maybe I wasnt’
his friend. If I wasn’t, he never
had one. Maybe I was what nowadays
you call a stooge –
INT. CITY ROOM – THE ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
The party (previously shown in the Bernstein sequence).
We start this sequence toward the end of the former one, but
from a fresh angle, holding on Leland, who is at the end of
the table. Kane is heard off, making a speech.
Not one of you has been hired
because of his loyalty. It’s your
talent I’m interested in. That
talent that’s going to make the
“Enquirer” the kind of paper I
want – the best newspaper in the
Applause. During above, Bernstein has come to Leland’s side.
Isn’t it wonderful? Such a party!
His tone causes Bernstein to look at him.
However, I think you’ll agree we’ve
heard enough about newspapers and
the newspaper business for one
The above speeches are heard under the following dialogue.
What’s the matter?
Mr. Bernstein, these men who are
now with the “Enquirer” – who were
with the “Chronicle” until yesterday –
weren’t they just as devoted to
the “Chronicle” kind of paper as
they are now to – our kind of paper?
Sure. They’re like anybody else.
They got work to do. They do it.
Only they happen to be the best
men in the business.
(finishing his speech)
There are other subjects in the
Kane whistles. The band and the chorus girls enter and hell
breaks loose all around Leland and Bernstein.
(after a minute)
Do we stand for the same things
that the “Chronicle” stands for,
Certainly not. So what’s that got
to do with it? Mr. Kane, he’ll
have them changed to his kind of
newspapermen in a week.
Probably. There’s always a chance,
of course, that they’ll change Mr.
Kane – without his knowing it.
Kane has come up to Leland and Bernstein. He sits down next
to them, lighting a cigarette.
Well, gentlemen, are we going to
Our readers are, anyway, I don’t
know about the rest of the country.
It’ll be our first foreign war in
fifty years, Brad. We’ll cover it
the way the “Hickville Gazette”
covers the church social! The
names of everybody there; what
they wore; what they ate; who won
the prizes; who gave the prizes –
I tell you, Brad, I envy you.
By Bradford Leland, the “Enquirer’s”
Special Correspondent at the Front.
I’m almost tempted –
But there is no Front, Charlie.
There’s a very doubtful civil war.
Besides, I don’t want the job.
All right, Brad, all right – you
don’t have to be a war correspondent
unless you want to – I’d want to.
Georgie, a very handsome madam has walked into the picture,
stands behind him. She leans over and speaks quietly in his
Is everything the way you want it,
If everybody’s having fun, that’s
the way I want it.
I’ve got some other little girls
coming over –
Charles, I tell you there is no
war! There’s a condition that
should be remedied – but between
that and a –
How would the “Enquirer” look with
no news about this non-existent
war – with Benton, Pulitzer and
Heart devoting twenty columns a
day to it?
They do it only because you do!
And I do it because they do it,
and they do it – it’s a vicious
circle, isn’t it?
I’m going over to Georgie’s, Brad –
you know, Georgie, don’t you?
(over Kane’s next
Glad to meet you, Brad.
I told you about Brad, Georgie.
He needs to relax.
Brad doesn’t answer.
Some ships with wonderful wines
have managed to slip through the
enemy fleet that’s blockading New
York harbor –
Georgie knows a young lady whom
I’m sure you’d adore – wouldn’t
he, Georgie? Why only the other
evening I said to myself, if Brad
were only here to adore this young
lady – this –
(snaps his fingers)
What’s her name again?
INT. GEORGIE’S PLACE – NIGHT –
Georgie is introducing a young lady to Branford Leland. On
sound track we hear piano music.
(right on cue from
Ethel – this gentlemen has been
very anxious to meet you – This
Hello, Mr. Leland.
Camera pans to include Kane, seated at piano, with girls
gathered around him.
ONE OF THE GIRLS
Charlie! Play the song about you.
Is there a song about Charlie?
Kane has broken into “Oh, Mr. Kane!” and Charlie and the girls
start to sing. Ethel leads the unhappy Leland over to the
group. Kane, seeing Leland and taking his eye, motions to the
professor who has been standing next to him to take over. The
professor does so. The singing continues. Kane rises and
crosses to Leland.
(draws him slightly
I’ve got an idea.
I mean I’ve got a job for you.
You don’t want to be a war
correspondent – how about being a
(sincerely, but not
I’d like that.
Kane starts quietly to dance in time to the music. Leland
smiles at him.
You start tomorrow night. Richard
Carl in “The Spring Chicken.”
(or supply show)
I’ll get us some girls. You get
tickets. A drama critic gets them
free, you know.
Rector’s at seven?
It doesn’t make any difference
about me, but one of these days
you’re going to find out that all
this charm of yours won’t be enough –
(has stopped dancing)
You’re wrong. It does make a
difference to you – Rector’s,
(starts to dance
Come to think of it, I don’t blame
you for not wanting to be a war
correspondent. You won’t miss
anything. It isn’t much of a war.
Besides, they tell me there isn’t
a decent restaurant on the whole
INT. RECTOR’S – NIGHT –
Leland, Kane, two young ladies at Rector’s. Popular music is
heard over the soundtrack. Everybody is laughing very, very
hard at something Kane has said. The girls are hysterical.
Kane can hardly breathe. As Leland’s laughter becomes more
and more hearty, it only increases the laughter of the others.
EXT. CUNARD LOCKS – GANGPLANK AND DECK OF BOAT – NIGHT –
As told by Bernstein. Kane is calling down to Leland and
Bernstein (as before).
You don’t expect me to keep any of
those promises, do you?
A band on deck strikes up “Auld Lang Syne” and further ship-to-
shore conversation is rendered unfeasible.
Bernstein and Leland on deck.
(turns to Leland)
Do you, Mr. Leland?
Slight pause. They continue on their way.
Mr. Leland, why didn’t you go to
Europe with him? He wanted you
to. He said to me just yesterday –
I wanted him to have fun – and
with me along –
This stops Bernstein. Bernstein looks at him.
Mr. Bernstein, I wish you’d let me
ask you a few questions, and answer
Don’t I always? Most of the time?
Mr. Bernstein, am I a stuffed shirt?
Am I a horse-faced hypocrite? Am
I a New England school-marm?
Leland is surprised.
If you thought I’d answer different
from what Mr. Kane tells you –
well, I wouldn’t.
You’re in a conspiracy against me,
you two. You always have been.
Against me there should be such a
conspiracy some time!
He pauses. “Auld Lang Syne” can still be heard from the deck
of the department steamer.
(with a hopeful
look in his eyes)
Well, he’ll be coming back in
September. The Majestic. I got
the reservations. It gets in on
September the ninth?
Leland puts his hand in his pocket, pulls out a pencil and
small engagement book, opens the book and starts to write.
Leland’s pencil writing on a page in the engagement book open
to September 9: “Rector’s – 8:30 p.m.”
Front page “Enquirer.” Large picture of the young couple –
Kane and Emily – occupying four columns – very happy.
EXT. HOSPITAL ROOF – DAY –
Leland and Thompson. Leland is speaking as we dissolve.
I used to go to dancing school
Thompson had handed Leland a paper.
It’s a letter from her lawyers.
(reading aloud from
David, Grobleski & Davis – My
dear Rawlston –
Rawlston is my boss.
Oh, yes. I know about Mr. Rawlston.
He knows the first Mrs. Kane
socially – That’s the answer we
I am in receipt of your favor of
yesterday. I beg you to do me the
courtesy of accepting my assurance
that Mrs. Whitehall cannot be
induced to contribute any more
information on the career of Charles
She has authorized me to state on previous occasions that she
regards their brief marriage as a distateful episode in her
life that she prefers to forget. With assurances of the highest
esteem – Leland hands the paper back to Thompson.
Brief marriage! Ten years!
Was he in love?
He married for love –
(a little laugh)
That’s why he did everything.
That’s why he went into politics.
It seems we weren’t enough. He
wanted all the voters to love him,
too. All he really wanted out of
life was love. That’s Charlie’s
story – it’s the story of how he
lost it. You see, he just didn’t
have any to give. He loved Charlie
Kane, of course, very dearly – and
his mother, I guess he always loved
her. As for Emily – well, all I
can tell you is Emily’s story as
she told it to me, which probably
isn’t fair – there’s supposed to
be two sides to every story – and
I guess there are. I guess there’s
more than two sides –
Newspaper – Kane’s marriage to Emily with still of group on
White House lawn, same setup as early newsreel in News Digest.
Screaming headline: OIL SCANDAL!
Headline reading: KANE TO SEE PRESIDENT
Big headline on “Enquirer” front page which reads: KANE TO SEE
Under this, one of those big box signed editorials, typical of
Kane, illustrated, on subject of the power of the president,
expressed in about nine different cases of type, and illustrated
by a cartoon of the White House, on which camera tightens, as
INT. THE WHITE HOUSE – THE PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE OFFICE – DAY –
This scene is shot so as never to show the President – or at
least never his face. There is present the President’s
Secretary, sitting on one side of the desk, intently taking
notes. Kane is on his feet, in front of the desk, tense and
It is the unanimous opinion of my
Cabinent – in which I concur –
that the proposed leases are in
the best interests of the
Governement and the people.
You are not, I hope, suggesting
that these interests are not
I’m not suggesting anything, Mr.
President! I’ve come here to tell
you that, unless some action is
taken promptly – and you are the
only one who can take it – the oil
that is the property of the people
of this country will be turned
over for a song to a gang of high-
I must refuse to allow you to
continue in this vein, Mr. Kane.
It’s the only vein I know. I tell
the facts the way I see them. And
any man that knows that facts –
I know the facts, Mr. Kane. And I
happen to have the incredible
insolence to differ with you as to
what they mean.
You’re a man of great talents, Mr.
I understand that you have political
ambitions. Unfortunately, you
seem incapable of allowing any
other opinion but your own –
(building to a frenzy)
I’m much obliged, Mr. President,
for your concern about me. However,
I happen to be concerned at this
moment with the matter of extensive
oil lands belonging to the people
of the United States, and I say
that if this lease goes through,
the property of the people of the
United States goes into the hands
You’ve made your point perfectly
clear, Mr. Kane. Good day.
The Secretary rises. Kane, with every bit of will power
remotely at his disposal to control what might become an
hysterical outburst, manages to bow.
He starts out of the office.
INT. COMPOSING ROOM – ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Kane, Reilly, Leland and a composing room Foreman, in working
clothes, bending over a table with several forms of type.
They are looking, at this moment, at a made-up headline – but
Kane’s back is in the way … so we can’t read it.
How about it, Mr. Kane?
Reilly glances at his wrist watch and makes a face. Kane smiles
as he notices this.
All right. Let her slide!
He turns away, and we can now read the headline.
Insert of the headline, which reads: “OIL THEFT BECOMES LAW AS
PRESIDENT WITHOLDS VETO”
Here follows a quick montage (presently to be worked out) of
no more than four or five images in which the President, by
means of cartoons, editorials, headlines (all faithfully
reproduced from period yellow journalism) is violently attacked.
The montage ends on the word TREASON. The music cuts.
A hand reaches in a side pocket which contains a newspaper –
recognizably the “Enquirer.” The hand removes a gun. The gun
is shot. Many arms seize the hand which is pulled up – gun
still firing. As the arm is raised in the air, we see that
the other arms holding the arm and struggling with it are
uniformed, and we see the White House beyond.
News ticker which is spelling out the words: “ASSASSINATED
NOTE: Under the following – a down shot, below the “Enquirer,”
shows a crowd forming, looking angrily up toward the camera.
Crowd noises on the soundtrack under music.
A hand snatches the ticker tape away and as the image of the
crowd dissolves out, we pull back to show:
INT. OF KANE’S OFFICE – NIGHT –
The ticker tape is in Reilly’s hand. Reilly has a phone to
Looks bad for us, Mr. Kane. How
shall we handle it?
INT. GEORGIE’S PLACE –
Kane in shirtsleeves at phone.
It’s a news story! Get it on the
Headline under “Enquirer” masthead which reads:
Newsboy is crying the headline at the same time. We pull back
to show him and –
INT. THEATRE – NIGHT
The camera is in tight on a box which contains Emily and
distinguished elderly ladies and gentlemen, obviously family
and friends. On the soundtrack, very limpid opera music.
Another elderly gent, in white tie but still wearing an
overcoat, comes into the box and whispers to Emily. He has a
copy of the “Enquirer” in his hand. Emily rises. He shows
the paper to her.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE ENQUIRER BUILDING – NIGHT –
An angry crowd seen from the window of Kane’s office. They
make a deep threatening sound which is audible during the
following scene. Across the heads of the crowd are two great
squares of light from the windows above them. One of these
disappears as the blind is pulled. As the dissolve completes
itself, the second square of light commences to reduce in size,
and then the entire street is cut off by a blind which Leland
pulls down, covering the entire frame.
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
The staff standing around, worried to death, in their
Take dictation – Front page
editorial – “This afternoon a
great man was assassinated. He
was the President of the United
Do you think you’re the one who
should call him a great man?
Why not? Well – nobody’s a great
man in your estimation until he’s
Maybe we’d better wait for more
word on the President’s condition.
(still looking at
What do you mean by that?
He may recover –
(still holding on
What do you mean by that?
Yesterday morning you called the
President a traitor. What do you
think that crowd is doing down
there? They think you murdered
Because the crackpot who did it
had a copy of the “Enquirer” in
– and that copy of the “Enquirer”
said the President should be killed.
I said treason was a capital offense
punishable by death –
You’ve said a lot of things about
the President in the last few
They’re true! Everything I said!
Witholding that veto was treason!
(riding over him)
Oil belonging to the people of the
United States was leased out for a
song to a gang of high-pressure
crooks – Nobody can blame me
Look out that window.
Kane stops – looks at him.
There are the people of the United
States, and they are blaming you –
Oh, I know it doesn’t make any
sense, but at least you can learn
a lesson from it.
What lesson? Not to expose fraud
when I see it? Not to fight for
the right of the people to own
their own property?
(he turns to Reilly)
Run it the way I said, Reilly –
“This afternoon a great man was
Charlie! Now you’re not making
I don’t have to. I run a newspaper
with half a million readers and
they’re getting a martyred president
this morning with their breakfast.
I can’t help that. Besides, they
all know I’m married to his niece.
I’ve got to think of her.
I’ve got to think of Emily –
(after a silence)
I’d like to talk to you about that.
Leland looks back at Kane, is conscious of the boys standing
Finish your editorial.
Leland walks out in to the City Room. More staff members in
shirt sleeves in a state of panic. Leland goes to his desk,
takes out a bottle, pours himself a very stiff drink. A door
opens. A Policeman enters with Bernstein. Bernstein is badly
battered. The boys crowd around.
I’m all right, Mr. Leland. Only
there was some fellows out front
that thought they ought to take
things up with me. I learned ‘em!
Didn’t I, officer?
You sure did – Say, the
Commissioner said I was to stand
by and protect Mr. Kane until
further orders, no matter how he
felt about it. Where is he?
(finishing his drink)
If you hadn’t come along and
protected me when you did, I’d
have killed them fellows.
Go and get yourself washed up, Mr.
(he looks his face
There doesn’t seem to be an serious
Not to me. But you will let that
cop go home with Mr. Kane, won’t
Yes, Mr. Bernstein.
Bernstein leaves the picture with sympathetic attendance.
Leland finishes his second drink.
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – NIGHT –
The bottle is finished. The door in the Sanctrum opens. Reilly
and the others leave.
(as they go)
Goodnight, Mr. Kane.
Kane stands in the door, waiting for Leland. Leland gets up
and moves toward the office – goes in, sits down across from
Kane at the desk. An uncomfortable pause. Then Kane smiles
ingratiatingly. Leland tries to cope with this.
First of all –
(he can’t go on)
(not cruelly –
What’s wrong, Brad?
I’ll get you some coffee.
He rises and goes to the door.
First of all, I will not write a
good review of a play because
somebody paid a thousand dollars
for an advertisement in the
(gently – opening
That’s just a little promotion
scheme. Nobody expects you –
Mike, will you try and get Mr.
Leland some coffee?
Sure thing, Mr. Kane.
Kane turns back to Leland. Leland doesn’t look up at him.
Charlie, it’s just no go. We can’t
agree anymore. I wish you’d let
me go to Chicago.
I want to be transferred to the
new paper. You’ve been saying
yourself you wish you had somebody
(he is heartsick,
That’s not what I wanted to talk
Kane goes around behind the desk and sits down.
I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Brad –
I’ll get drunk, too – maybe that’ll
No, that won’t help. Besides, you
never get drunk. I wanted to talk
about you and Emily.
Kane looks at Leland sharply before he speaks.
(without looking at
She’s going to leave you –
I don’t think so, Brad. We’ve
just had word that the President
is out of danger.
It seems I didn’t kill him after
(takes his eye)
She was going to leave you anyway –
Kane takes this in.
Emily’s going south next week with
the child. As far as anybody’s to
know, it’s a holiday. When they
get back –
Brad, you are drunk.
Sure I am. She wants full custody
of the child no matter what happens.
If you won’t agree to that, she’ll
apply for a divorce regardless of
the President’s wishes. I can’t
tell her she’s wrong, because she
isn’t wrong –
Why is she leaving me?
(it’s very hard for
him to say all
She hasn’t any friends left sine
you started this oil business, and
she never sees you.
Do you think the “Enquirer”
shouldn’t have campaigned against
the oil leases?
You might have made the whole thing
No answer from Kane.
It isn’t just that the President
was her uncle – everyone she knows,
all the people she’s been brought
up with, everything she’s ever
been taught to believe is important –
Still no answer from Kane.
There’s no reason why this – this
savage personal note –
The personal note is all there is
to it. It’s all there ever is to
it. It’s all there every is to
anything! Stupidity in our
government, complacency and self-
satisfaction and unwillingness to
believe that anything done by a
certain class of people can be
wrong – you can’t fight those things
impersonally. They’re not
impersonal crimes against people.
They’re being done by actual persons –
with actual names and positions
and – the right of the American
people to own their own country is
not an academic issue, Brad, that
you debate – and then the judges
retire to return a verdict and the
winners give a dinner for the
You almost convince me.
I’m just drunk enough to tell you
the truth. I have to be a little
drunk for that because I’m a coward.
You know that. That’s why you
keep me around.
You only associate with your
inferiors, Charlie. I guess that’s
why you ran away from Emily.
Because you can’t stand the company
of your equals. You don’t like to
admit they exist – the other big
people in your world are dead.
I told you that.
Kane looks at Leland, but Leland can’t be stopped now. He
speaks very quietly – no poison in his voice – no personal
indignation – as though he were explaining the nature of a
You talk about the people of the
United States as though they
belonged to you. When you find
out they don’t think they are,
you’ll lose interest. You talk
about giving them their rights as
though you could make a present of
liberty. Remember the working
man? You used to defend him quite
a good deal. Well, he’s turning
into something called organized
labor and you don’t like that at
all. And listen, when your precious
underprivileged really get together –
that’s going to add up to something
bigger than – than your privilege
and then I don’t know what you’ll
do – sail away to a desert island,
probably, and lord it over the
Are you finished?
Now, will you let me go to Chicago?
(with a little smile)
You’re not going to like it in
Chicago. They wind comes howling
in from the lake. And there’s
practically no opera season at all –
and the Lord only knows whether
they’ve ever heard of Lobster
That’s all right.
(he won’t be charmed
out of his duty)
What are you going to do about
(his face hardning
Nothing – if she dosen’t love me –
Leland has risen. He speaks as he turns away, starting towards
You want love on your own terms,
don’t you, Charlie –
(he stops – his
back turned to
Love according to your own rules.
And if anything goes wrong and
you’re hurt – then the game stops,
and you’ve got to be soothed and
nursed, no matter what else is
happening – and no matter who else
It’s simpler than that, Brad. A
society girl can’t stand the gaff,
that’s all. Other things are
important to her – social position,
what they’re saying on the front
porches at Southampton, is it going
to be embarrassing to meet somebody
or the other at dinner –
Leland has turned, taking his eye again. Now Kane stops and
She can leave me. As a matter of
fact, I’ve already left her. Don’t
worry, Brad – I’ll live.
I know you will.
(with all his charm)
Hey, Brad! I’ve been analyzed an
awful lot tonight – let’s have
Leland shakes his head. Kane lifts his glass.
To love on my terms. Those are
the only terms anybody knows …
EXT. ENQUIRER BUILDING – NIGHT –
Kane, Leland, and a couple of policemen make their way out of
the front toward a hansom cab.
A VOICE FROM THE CROWD
A rock is thrown. It hits Leland on the face. A little blood
flows. Kane doesn’t see it at first. Then when he’s in the
hansom cab, he turns and notices it.
Are you hurt?
Leland has a handkerchief to his face.
No. I wish you’d go home to Emily.
She’ll be pretty upset by all this –
She still loves you –
The crowd, pushed by the cops, retreats in the background, but
still hard by.
You still want to be transferred
to the other paper?
(leaning out of the
Well, you’ve been getting a pretty
low salary here in New York. It
seems to me that the new dramatic
critic of our Chicago paper should
get what he’s worth.
(almost as a question)
still attached to
I couldn’t possibly live on as
little as that, Charlie. We’ll
let the salary stay where it is.
The hansom cab starts up. We hold on Leland’s face as we
INT. KANE’S NEW YORK HOME – KANE’S BEDROOM – EARLY MORNING –
Emily is in bed, a damp cloth over her temples. Kane is
standing at the foot of the bed. The baby’s bed is in a corner
of the room. The baby’s nurse is standing near the crib, a
nurse for Emily is near her. Kane is looking fixedly on Emily,
who is staring tiredly at the ceiling.
(to the nurse)
Excuse us a moment, please.
The nurse looks at Emily.
I said, excuse us a moment.
The nurse, unwilling, leaves.
I’ve been talking to Leland. Emily –
You can’t leave me now – not now –
It isn’t what it would do to my
changes in politics, Emily – That
isn’t it – They were talking of
running me for governor, but now,
of course, we’ll have to wait –
It isn’t that, Emily – It’s just –
the president is your uncle and
they’re saying I killed him.
That story about the murderer having
a copy of the “Enquirer” in his
pocket – the “Chronicle” made that
up out of whole cloth – Emily,
please – He’s going to be all right,
you know, he’s going to recover –
If it will make you any happier,
we had nine pages of advertising
cancelled in the first mail this
morning. Bernstein is afraid to
open any more letters. He –
He stops. He sees that he’s getting no place with Emily.
What do you expect me to do? What
in the world –
He waits for her to continue.
Do you really think –
(she can’t continue)
Those threatening letters, can
they really –
She sits up and looks at the crib. She almost continues to
look at the crib, with almost unseeing eyes.
They won’t do anything to Junior,
Anonymous letter writers – I’ve
got guards in front of the house,
and I’m going to arrange –
(turning her face
Please don’t talk any more, Charles.
Kane is about to say something, but bites his lips instead.
Emily keeps staring at him.
Have they heard from father yet?
Has he seen –
I’ve tried to tell you, Emily.
The President’s going to be all
right. He had a comfortable night.
There’s no danger of any kind.
Emily nods several times. There is an uncomforable silence.
Suddenly there is a cry from the crib. Emily leaps from the
bed and rushes to him. She bends over the crib.
Here I am, darling… Darling!…
Darling, it’s all right… Mother’s
Emily – you musn’t leave me now –
you can’t do that to me.
They won’t hurt you, darling.
Mother’s with you! Mother’s looking
Kane, unwanted, ignored, looks on. Tightening his lips, he
INT. KANE’S OFFICE – NIGHT
By the desk light, Kane is seen working with his usual
intensity, Reilly standing beside him at the desk.
We’ll withdraw support completely.
Mr. Leland sent back that check.
You made it out to him last week
after he left for Chicago.
Oh, yes, the bonus.
It was for twenty-five thousand
Kane is perplexed and worried, but we can see in a moment his
mind will be on something else.
He sent it back torn up – all torn
up into little bits, and he enclosed
something else – I can’t make it
Kane doesn’t answer. Reilly goes on. He has brought out a
piece of paper and is reading it.
It says here, “A Declaration of
(he still reads)
“I will provide the people of this
city with a daily paper that will
tell all the news honestly” –
Kane has looked up sharply. Reilly, sensing his look, stops
reading and meets his eye. Slowly, Kane reaches out his hand.
Reilly hands him the piece of paper. Without reading it, Kane
tears it up, throws it into the wastebasket at his side.
INT. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN – NIGHT –
The evening of the final great rally. These shots remind us
of and are identical with and supplementary to the “News Digest”
scenes earlier. The vast auditorium with a huge picture of
Kane, cheering crowds, etc. Emily and Junior are to be seen
in the front of a box. Emily is tired and wears a forced smile
on her face. Junior, now aged nine and a half, is eager, bright-
eyed and excited. Kane is just finishing his speech.
It is no secret that I entered
upon this campaign with no thought
that I could be elected Governor
of this state! It is now no secret
that every straw vote, every
independent pole, shows that I
will be elected. And I repeat to
you – my first official act as
Governor will be to appoint a
special District Attorney to arrange
for the indictment, prosecution
and conviction of Boss Edward G.
Terrific screaming and cheering from the audience.
INT. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN – NIGHT –
The Speaker’s Platform. Numerous officials and civic leaders
are crowding around Kane. Cameramen take flash photographs
with old-fashioined flash powder.
FIRST CIVIC LEADER
Great speech, Mr. Kane.
One of the most notable public
utterances ever made by a candidate
in this state –
Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you.
He looks up and notices that the box in which Emily and the
boy were sitting is now empty. He starts toward the rear of
the platform, through the press of people, Reilly approaches
A wonderful speech, Mr. Kane.
Kane pats him on the shoulder as he walks along.
I just got word from Buffalo, Mr.
Kane. They’re going to throw you
the organization vote – and take a
chance maybe you’ll give them a
This is said almost inquiringly, as if he were hoping that
Kane would give him some assurance that McDonald is not making
a mistake. There is no answer from Kane.
On an independent ticket there’s
never been anything like it! If
the election were held today, you’d
be elected by a hundred thousand
votes – and every day between now
and November 7th is just going to
add to your majority.
Kane is very pleased. He continues with Reilly slowly through
the crowd – a band playing off. Bernstein joins him.
It does seem too good to be true,
doesn’t it, Mr. Bernstein?
Rogers isn’t even pretending. He
isn’t just scared anymore. He’s
sick. Frank Norris told me last
night he hasn’t known Rogers to be
that worried in twenty-five years.
I think it’s beginning to dawn on
Mr. Rogers that I mean what I say.
With Mr. Rogers out of the way,
Reilly, I think we may really begin
to hope for a good government in
Well, Mr. Bernstein?
(clearly not meaning
It’s wonderful, Mr. Kane.
You don’t really think so?
I do. I do. I mean, since you’re
running for Governor – and you
want to be elected – I think it’s
wonderful you’re going to be
elected. Only –
– Can I say something?
Please, Mr. Bernstein.
Well, the way I look at it –
(comes out with it)
– You want to know what I really
think would be wonderful?
Kane indicates he is to proceed.
Well, you’re running for Governor
and going to be elected – my idea
is how wonderful it would be if
you don’t run at all and don’t get
EXT. ONE OF THE EXITS – MADISON SQUARE GARDEN – NIGHT –
Emily and Junior are standing, waiting for Kane.
Is Pop Governor yet, Mom?
Just then, Kane appears, with Reilly and several other men.
Kane rushes toward Emily and Junior, as the men politely greet
Hello, Butch! Did you like your
old man’s speech?
Hello, Pop! I was in a box. I
could hear every word.
I saw you!
(he has his arm
Good night, gentlemen.
There are good nights. Kane’s car is at the curb and he starts
to walk toward it with Junior and Emily.
I’m sending Junior home in the
car, Charles – with Oliver –
But I’d arranged to go home with
There’s a call I want you to make
with me, Charles.
It can wait.
No, it can’t.
(she bends down and
Good night, darling.
Good night, Mom.
The driver is holding the rear door open as Emily guides Junior
(as car starts to
What’s this all about, Emily?
I’ve had a very tiring day and –
It may not be about anything at
A cab has pulled up.
Emily nods to him.
I intend to find out.
I insist on being told exactly
what you have in mind.
I’m going to –
(she looks at a
slip of paper in
– 185 West 74th Street.
Kane’s reaction indicates that the address definitely means
something to him.
If you wish, you can come with
I’ll go with you.
He opens the door and she enters the cab. He follows her.
INT. CAB – NIGHT –
Kane and Emily. He looks at her, in search of some kind of
enlightenment. Her face is set and impassive.
EXT. AND INT. APARTMENT HOUSE HALLWAY – NIGHT –
Kane and Emily, in front of an apartment door. Emily is
pressing the bell.
I had no idea you had this flair
for melodrama, Emiliy.
Emily does not answer. The door is opened by a maid, who
Come in, Mr. Kane, come in.
They enter, Emily first.
INT. SUSAN’S APARTMENT – NIGHT –
There is first a tiny reception room, through which an open
door shows the living room. Kane and Emily enter from the
hallway and cross to the living room. As they enter, Susan
rises from a chair. The other person in the room – a big,
heavyset man, a little past middle age – stays where he is,
leaning back in his chair, regarding Kane intently.
It wasn’t my fault, Charlie. He
made me send your wife a note.
He said I’d – oh, he’s been saying
the most terrible things, I didn’t
know what to do… I –
(she catches sight
Good evening, Mr. Kane.
I don’t suppose anybody would
introduce us. Mrs. Kane, I am
How do you do?
I came here – and I made Mr. Kane
come with me…
(she consults the
note in her hand
without reading it
because I recieved this note –
I made Miss – Miss Alexander send
you the note. She was a little
unwilling at first –
(he smiles grimly)
but she did it.
I can’t tell you the things he
said, Charlie. You haven’t got
any idea –
(turning on Rogers)
Rogers, I don’t think I will
postpone doing something about you
until I’m elected.
(he starts toward
To start with, I’ll break your
(not giving way an
Maybe you can do it and maybe you
can’t, Mr. Kane.
(he stops to look
Your – your breaking this man’s
(she is clearly
would scarcely explain this note –
(glancing at the
Serious consequences for Mr. Kane –
for myself, and for my son. What
does this note mean, Miss –
I’m Susan Alexander.
I know what you think, Mrs. Kane,
What does this note mean, Miss
She doesn’t know, Mrs. Kane. She
just sent it – because I made her
see it wouldn’t be smart for her
not to send it.
In case you don’t know, Emily,
this – this gentleman –
(he puts a world of
scorn into the
I’m not a gentleman, Mrs. Kane,
and your husband is just trying to
be funny calling me one. I don’t
even know what a gentleman is.
(tensely, with all
the hatred and
venom in the world)
You see, my idea of a gentleman,
Mrs. Kane – well, if I owned a
newspaper and if I didn’t like the
way somebody else was doing things –
some politican, say – I’d fight
them with everything I had. Only
I wouldn’t show him in a convict
suit, with stripes – so his children
could see the picture in the paper.
Or his mother.
(he has to control
himself from hurling
himself at Kane)
It’s pretty clear – I’m not a
You’re a cheap, crooked grafter –
and your concern for your children
and your mother –
Anything you say, Mr. Kane. Only
we’re talking now about what you
are. That’s what the note is about,
Mrs. Kane. Now I’m going to lay
all my cards on the table. I’m
fighting for my life. Not just my
political life. My life. If your
husband is elected governor –
I’m going to be elected governor.
And the first thing I’m going to
Let him finish, Charles.
I’m protecting myself every way I
know how, Mrs. Kane. This last
week, I finally found out how I
can stop your husband from being
elected. If the people of this
state learn what I found out this
week, he wouldn’t have a chance to –
he couldn’t be elected Dog Catcher.
Well, what I’m interested in is
seeing that he’s not elected. I
don’t care whether they know what
I know about him. Let him keep
right on being the Great, Noble,
(he stresses the
Champeen of the people. Just as
long as –
I think I understand, Mr. Rogers,
but wonder if –
(she leaves her
You can’t blackmail me, Rogers,
you can’t –
Charlie, he said, unless you
withdrew your name –
That’s the chance I’m willing to
give you, Mr. Kane. More of a
chance than you’d give me. Unless
you make up your mind by tomorrow
that you’re so sick that you’ve
got to go away for a year or two –
Monday morning every paper in this
State will carry the story I’m
going to give them.
Kane starts to stare at him intently.
What story, Mr. Rogers?
The story about him and Miss
Alexander, Mrs. Kane.
Emily looks at Kane.
There is no story. It’s all lies.
Mr. Kane is just –
I’ve had a dozen men doing nothing
but run this thing down – we’ve
got evidence enough to – well, the
evidence would stand up in any
court of law. You want me to give
you the evidence, Mr. Kane?
You do anything you want to do.
The people of this state can decide
which one of us to trust. If you
want to know, they’ve already
decided. The election Tuesday’ll
be only –
Mrs. Kane, I’m not asking you to
believe me. I’d like to show you –
You don’t have to show me anything,
Mr. Rogers. I believe you.
I’d rather Mr. Kane withdrew without
having to get the story published.
Not that I care about him. But
I’d be better off that way –
– and so would you, Mrs. Kane.
What about me?
He said my name’d be dragged through
the mud. He said everywhere I’d
go from now on –
There seems to be only one decision
you can make, Charles. I’d say
that it has been made for you.
I suppose the details can be
arranged tomorrow, Mr. Rogers.
About the statements by the doctors –
Have you gone completely mad, Emily?
Emily looks at him.
You don’t think I’m going to let
this blackmailer intimidate me, do
I don’t see what else you can do,
Charles. If he’s right – and the
papers publish this story he has –
Oh, they’ll publish it all right.
But that’s not going to stop me –
Charles, this – this story – doesn’t
concern only you. I’ll be in it,
too, won’t I?
(squirming a bit)
I suppose so, but – I’m not afraid
of the story. You can’t tell me
that the voters of this state –
I’m not interested in the voters
of this state right now. I am
interested in – well, Junior, for
Charlie! If they publish this
They won’t. Goodnight, Mr. Rogers.
(she starts out)
There’s nothing more to be said,
Oh yes, there is.
I don’t think so. Are you coming,
She looks at him. He starts to work himself into a rage.
There’s only one person in the
world to decide what I’m going to
do – and that’s me. And if
you think – if any of you think –
You decided what you were going to
do, Charles – some time ago.
(she looks at Susan)
You can’t always have it your own
way, regardless of anything else
that may have happened.
Come on, Charles.
Go on! Get out! I can fight this
thing all alone!
You’re making a bigger fool of
yourself than I thought you would,
Mr. Kane. You’re licked. Why
don’t you –
(turning on him)
Get out! I’ve got nothing to talk
to you about. If you want to see
me, have the Warden write me a
(he starts toward
(starting to cry)
Charlie, you’re just excited. You
don’t realize –
I know exactly what I’m doing.
(he is screaming)
Charles, if you don’t listen to
reason, it may be too late –
Too late for what? Too late for
you and this –
(he can’t find the
this public thief to take the love
of the people of this state away
from me? Well, you won’t do it, I
tell you. You won’t do it!
Charlie, there are other things to
(a sly look comes
into her eyes)
Your son – you don’t want him to
read in the papers –
It is too late now, Charles.
(rushes to the door
and opens it)
Get out, both of you!
(rushes to him)
Charlie, please don’t –
What are you waiting here for?
Why don’t you go?
She walks out. Rogers stops as he gets directly in front of
You’re the greatest fool I’ve ever
known, Kane. If it was anybody
else, I’d say what’s going to happen
to you would be a lesson to you.
Only you’re going to need more
than one lesson. And you’re going
to get more than one lesson.
(he walks past Kane)
Don’t you worry about me. I’m
Charles Foster Kane. I’m no cheap,
crooked politician, trying to save
himself from the consequences of
his crimes –
INT. APARTMENT HOUSE HALLWAY – NIGHT –
Camera angling toward Kane from other end of the hall. Rogers
and Emily are already down the hall, moving toward foreground.
Kane in apartment doorway background.
I’m going to send you to Sing Sing,
Rogers. Sing Sing!
Kane is trembling with rage as he shakes his fist at Rogers’s
back. Susan, quieter now, has snuggled into the hollow of his
shoulder as they stand in the doorway.
The “Chronicle” front page with photograph (as in the “News
Digest”) revealing Kane’s relations with Susan.
Front page of “Chronicle” – Headline which reads:
Front page of “Enquirer” – Headline which reads:
FRAUD AT POLLS
INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT –
Emily is opening the door for Leland.
Hello, Brad –
He pauses. Leland comes in. Emily closes the door.
I’m sorry I sent for you, Brad –
Chicago is pretty close to New
York nowadays – only twenty hours –
She doesn’t have anything to say.
I’m glad to see you.
She smiles at him and we know that there isn’t anybody else in
the world for her to smile at. She’s too grateful to talk.
Are all the returns in?
Leland puts his hat unconsciously on his coat by the newspaper.
Let me see it.
Leland takes the newspaper out of his pocket and hands it to
her. She takes it. We see the headline, not an insert, but
it registers. It reads: “Fraud at Polls.” Emily is looking
at the paper with unseeing eyes, and a little smile.
(after a pause)
Almost two to one –
I’m surprised he got the votes he
Why should anyone vote for him?
He’s made it quite clear to the
people what he thinks of them.
Children – to be told one thing
one day, something else the next,
as the whim seizes him. And they’re
supposed to be grateful and love
and adore him – because he sees to
it that they get cheap ice and
only pay a nickel in the street
Emily, you’re being – a little
unfair – You know what I think of
Charles’ behavior – about your
personal lives –
There aren’t any personal lives
for people like us. He made that
very clear to me nine years ago –
If I’d thought of my life with
Charles as a personal life, I’d
have left him then –
know that, Emily –
(on top of Leland)
Maybe I should have – the first
time he showed me what a mad dog
he really was.
(on the cue “dog”)
Emily, you –
Brad, I’m – I’m not an old woman
It’s – all over –
He stops himself.
(after a pause)
Know it is, Brad –
He’s paying for it, Emily. Those
returns tonight – he’s finished.
– socially, everywhere, I guess.
don’t know about the papers, but –
If you’re asking me to sympathize
with him, Brad, you’re wasting
There’s only one person I’m sorry
for, as a matter of fact. That –
that shabby little girl. I’m really
sorry for her, Brad.
Front page Chicago “Enquirer,” with photograph proclaiming
that Susan Alexander opens at new Chicago Opera House in
“Thais,” as in “News Digest.”
On soundtrack during above we hear the big, expectant murmur
of an opening night audience and the noodling of the orchestra.
INT. CHICAGO OPERA HOUSE – NIGHT – SET FOR “THAIS” –
The camera is just inside the curtain, angling upstage. We
see the set for “Thais” – the principals in place – stage
managers, stage hands, etc., and in the center of all this, in
an elaborate costume, looking very small and very lost, is
Susan. She is almost hysterical with fright. Maids, singing
teacher, and the rest are in attendance. Her throat is sprayed.
Applause is heard at the opening of the shot, and now the
orchestra starts thunderously. The curtain starts to rise –
the camera with it – the blinding glare of the foots moves up
Susan’s body and hits her face. She squints and starts to
sing. Camera continues on up with the curtain, up past Susan,
up the full height of the proscenium arch and then on up into
the gridiron into a world of ropes, brick walls and hanging
canvas – Susan’s voice still heard – but faintly. The camera
stops at the top of the gridiron as the curtain stops. Two
typical stage hands fill the frame. They are looking down on
the stage below. Some of the reflected light gleams on their
faces. They look at each other. One of them puts his hand to
INT. LELAND’S OFFICE – CHICAGO ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Leland, as in the same scene in the Bernstein sequence, is
sprawled across his typewriter, his head on the keys. The
paper is gone from the roller. Leland stirs and looks up
drunkenly, his eyes encountering Bernstein, who stands beside
him (also as in the previous scene).
Hello, Mr. Leland.
Leland makes a terrific effort to pull himself together. He
straightens and reaches for the keys – then sees the paper is
gone from the machine.
Where is it – where’s my notice?
I’ve got to finish it!
Mr. Kane is finishing it.
(painfully, he rises
to his feet)
Where is he?
During all this, the sound of a typewriter has been heard off –
a busy typewriter. Leland’s eyes follow the sound. Slowly he
registers Kane in the City Room beyond. This is almost the
same shot as in the previous Bernstein story.
INT. CITY ROOM – CHICAGO ENQUIRER – NIGHT –
Kane, in white tie and shirt sleeves, is typing away at a
machine, his fingers working briskly and efficiently, his face,
seen by the desk light before him, set in a strange half-smile.
Leland stands in the door of his office, staring across at
I suppose he’s fixing it up – I
know I’d never get that through.
(moving to his side)
Mr. Kane is finishing your piece
the way you started it.
Leland turns incredulously to Bernstein.
He’s writing a roast like you wanted
it to be –
(then suddnely –
with a kind of
quiet passion rather
than a triumph)
– I guess that’ll show you.
Leland picks his way across the City Room to Kane’s side.
Kane goes on typing, without looking up. After a pause, Kane
Hello, Charlie –
I didn’t know we were speaking.
Kane stops typing, but doesn’t turn.
Sure, we’re speaking, Brad –
He starts typing again, the expression on his face doesn’t
EXT. HOSPITAL ROOF – DAY –
Thompson and Leland on the roof, which is now deserted. It is
getting late. The sun has just about gone down.
Well, that’s about all there is –
and I’m getting chills. Hey, nurse!
Five years ago, he wrote from that
place of his down South –
(as if trying to
– you know. Shangri-la? El Dorado?
Sloppy Joe’s? What’s the name of
that place? You know… All right.
Xanadu. I knew what it was all
the time. You caught on, didn’t
I guess maybe I’m not as hard to
see through as I think. Anyway, I
never even answered his letter.
Maybe I should have. I guess he
was pretty lonely down there those
last years. He hadn’t finished it
when she left him – he never
finished it – he never finished
anything. Of course, he built it
for her –
That must have been love.
I don’t know. He was disappointed
in the world. So he built one of
his own – An absolute monarchy –
It was something bigger than an
opera house anyway –
(lowers his voice)
Say, I’ll tell you one thing you
can do for me, young fellow.
On your way out, stop at a cigar
store, will you, and send me up a
couple of cigars?
Sure, Mr. Leland. I’ll be glad
A Nurse appears.
Hello, Mr. Leland.
I’m ready to go in now. You know
when I was a young man, there was
an impression around that nurses
were pretty. It was no truer then
than it is now.
Here, let me take your arm, Mr.
All right, all right.
(he has begun to
move forward on
the Nurse’s arm;
turning to Thompson)
You won’t forget, will you, about
the cigars? And tell them to wrap
them up to look like toothpaste,
or something, or they’ll stop them
at the desk. That young doctor I
was telling you about, he’s got an
idea he wants to keep me alive.
EXT. “EL RANCHO” CABARET IN ATLANTIC CITY – EARLY DAWN –
NEON SIGN ON THE ROOF:
SUSAN ALEXANDER KANE
glows on the dark screen as in the previous sequence earlier
in the script. Behind the lights and through them, we see a
nasty early morning. Camera as before, moves through the lights
of the sign and down on the skylight, through which is seen
Susan at her regular table, Thompson seated across from her.
Very faintly during this, idle piano music playing.
INT. “EL RANCHO” CABARET – EARLY DAWN –
Susan and Thompson are facing each other. The place is almost
deserted. Susan is sober. On the other side of the room,
somebody is playing a piano.
How do you want to handle the whole
thing – ask questions?
I’d rather you just talked.
Anything that comes into your mind –
about yourself and Mr. Kane.
You wouldn’t want to hear a lot of
what comes into my mind about myself
and Mr. Charlie Kane.
Susan is thinking.
How did you meet him?
I had a toothache.
Thompson looks at her.
That was thiry years ago – and I
still remember that toothache.
Boy! That toothache was just
driving me crazy…
EXT. CORNER DRUG STORE AND STREET ON THE WEST SIDE OF NEW YORK –
Susan, aged twenty, neatly but cheaply dressed in the style of
the period, is leaving the drug store. It’s about 8 o’clock
at night. With a large, man-sized handkerchief pressed to her
cheek, she is in considerable pain. The street is wet – after
a recent rain.
She walks a few steps towards the middle of the block, and can
stand it no longer. She stops, opens a bottle of Oil of Cloves
that she has in her hand, applies some to her finger, and rubs
She walks on, the pain only a bit better. Four or five houses
farther along, she comes to what is clearly her own doorway –
a shabby, old four-story apartment house. She turns toward
the doorway, which is up a tiny stoop, about three steps.
As she does so, Kane, coming from the opposite direction, almost
bumps into her and turns to his left to avoid her. His shoulder
bumps hers and she turns. As she does so, Kane, forced to
change his course, steps on the loose end of a plank which
covers a puddle in the bad sidewalk. The plank rises up and
cracks him on the knee, also covering him with mud.
(hopping up and
down and rubbing
Susan, taking her handkerchief from her jaw, roars with
It’s not funny.
He bites his lip and rubs his knee again. Susan tries to
control her laughter, but not very successfully. Kane glares
I’m sorry, mister – but you do
look awful funny.
Suddenly, the pain returns and she claps her hand to her jaw.
What’s the matter with you?
He has been rubbing his clothes with his handkerchief.
You’ve got some on your face.
If these sidewalks were kept in
condition – instead of the money
going to some cheap grafter –
Susan starts to laugh again.
What’s funny now?
You are. You look like you’ve
been making mud pies.
In the middle of her smile, the pain returns.
You’re no Venus de Milo.
(points to the
If you want to come in and wash
your face – I can get you some
hot water to get that dirt off
your trousers –
Susan starts, with Kane following her.
INT. SUSAN’S ROOM – NIGHT –
It’s in moderate disorder. The Mansbach gas lights are on.
It’s not really a classy room, but it’s exactly what you’re
entitled to in 1910, for $5.00 a week including breakfast.
There is a bed, a couple of chairs, a chiffonier, and a few
personal belongings on the chiffonier. These include a
photograph of a gent and lady, obviously Susan’s parents, and
a few objets d’art. One, “At the Japanese Rolling Ball Game
at Coney Island,” and – perhaps this is part of the Japanese
loot – the glass globe with the snow scene Kane was holding in
his hand in the first sequence.
Susan comes into the room, carrying a basin, with towels over
her arm. Kane is waiting for her. She doesn’t close the door.
(by way of
My landlady prefers me to keep
this door open when I have a
(starts to put the
She’s a very decent woman.
(making a face)
Kane rushes to take the basin from her, putting it on the
chiffonier. To do this, he has to shove the photograph to one
side of the basin. Susan grabs the photograph as it is about
to fall over.
Hey, you should be more careful.
That’s my ma and pa.
I’m sorry. They live here, too?
No. They’ve passed on.
Again she puts her hand to her jaw.
Where’s the soap?
In the water.
Kane fishes the soap out of the water. It is slippery, however,
and slips out of his hand, hitting him in the chest before it
falls to the floor. Susan laughs as he bends over.
(starting to wash
You’re very easily amused.
I always like to see the funny
side of things. No sense crying
when you don’t have to. And you’re
so funny. Looking at you, I forget
all about my toothache.
Her face distorts in pain again.
I can’t stay here all night chasing
your pain away.
I know… But you do look so silly.
Kane, with soaped hands, has rubbed his face and now cannot
open his eyes, for fear of getting soap in them.
Where’s the towel?
On the chiffonier. Here.
(rubs his face dry)
(on her way to closet)
I’ve got a brush in the closet.
As soon as the mud on your trousers
is all dry – you just brush it
I’ll get these streets fixed, if
it’s the last thing I do.
Susan comes out of the closet. She holds out the brush with
her left hand, her right hand to her jaw in real distress.
(takes the brush)
You are in pain, aren’t you, you
Susan can’t stand it anymore and sits down in a chair, bent
over, whimpering a bit.
Wish there was something I could –
He stops and thinks. Susan, her face averted, is still trying
hard not to cry.
I’ve got an idea, young lady.
(there is no response)
Turn around and look at me.
(there is still no
I said, turn around and look at
me, young lady.
Slowly, Susan turns.
Did you ever see anybody wiggle
both his ears at the same time?
It takes a second for Susan to adapt herself to this.
(he wiggles his
It took me two solid years at the
finest boys’ school in the world
to learn that trick. The fellow
who taught me is President of
He’s still wiggling his ears as Susan starts to smile.
That’s it! Smile!
Susan smiles, very broadly.
INT. SUSAN’S ROOM – NIGHT –
Closeup of a duck, camera pulls back showing it to be a
shadowgraph on the wall, made by Kane, who is now in his shirt
sleeves. It is about an hour later than preceding sequence.
No. But you’re close.
You’re getting farther away all
the time. It’s a duck.
Excuse me, Mr. Kane. I know this
takes a lot of nerve, but – who
are you? I mean – I’m pretty
ignorant, guess you caught on to
(looks squarely at
You really don’t know who I am?
No. That is, I bet it turns out
I’ve heard your name a million
times, only you know how it is –
But you like me, don’t you? Even
though you don’t know who I am?
You’ve been wonderful! I can’t
tell you how glad I am you’re here,
I don’t know many people and –
And I know too many people.
Obviously, we’re both lonely.
Would you like to know where I was
going tonight – when you ran into
me and ruined my Sunday clothes?
I didn’t run into you and I bet
they’re not your Sunday clothes.
You’ve probably got a lot of
(as if defending
himself from a
I was only joking!
This evening I was on my way to
the Western Manhattan Warehouses –
in search of my youth.
Susan is bewildered.
You see, my mother died, too – a
long time ago. Her things were
put into storage out west because
I had no place to put them then.
I still haven’t. But now I’ve
sent for them just the same. And
tonight I’d planned to make a sort
of sentimental journey –
– to the scenes of my youth – my
childhood, I suppose – to look
again at –
(he changes mood
and now –
Kane doesn’t finish. He looks at Susan. Silence.
Who am I? Well, let’s see. Charles
Foster Kane was born in New Salem,
Colorado in eighteen six –
(he stops on the
word “sixty” –
obviously a little
I run a couple of newspapers. How
Oh, me –
How old did you say you were?
I didn’t say.
I didn’t think you did. If you
had, I wouldn’t have asked you
again, because I’d have remembered.
Pretty old. I’ll be twenty-two in
(looks at her
silently for a
That’s a ripe old age – What do
I work at Seligman’s.
Is that what you want to do?
I want to be a singer.
(she thinks for a
I mean, I didn’t. Mother did for
What happened to the singing?
You’re not in a show, are you?
Oh, no! Nothing like that. Mother
always thought – she used to talk
about Grand Opera for me. Imagine!
An American girl, for one thing –
and then my voice isn’t really
that kind anyway, it’s just that
Mother – you know what mothers are
A sudden look comes over Kane’s face.
As a matter of fact, I do sing a
(points to the piano)
Would you sing for me?
Oh, you wouldn’t want to hear me
Yes, I would. That’s why I asked.
Well, I –
Don’t tell me your toothache is
bothering you again?
Oh, no, that’s all gone.
Then you have no alibi at all.
Susan, with a tiny ladylike hesitancy, goes to the piano and
sings a polite song. Sweetly, nicely, she sings with a small,
untrained voice. Kane listens. He is relaxed, at ease with
INT. “EL RANCHO” CABARET – EARLY DAWN –
Susan tosses down a drink, then goes on with her story.
I did a lot of singing after that.
I sang for Charlie – I sang for
teachers at a hundred bucks an
hour – the teachers got that, I
What did you get?
(glares at him
What do you mean?
Thompson doesn’t answer.
I didn’t get a thing. Just the
music lessons. That’s all there
was to it.
He married you, didn’t he?
He was in love with me. But he
never told me so until after it
all came out in the papers about
us – and he lost the election and
that Norton woman divorced him.
What about that apartment?
He wanted me to be comfortable –
Oh, why should I bother? You don’t
believe me, but it’s true. It
just happens to be true. He was
really interested in my voice.
What are you smiling for? What do
you think he built that opera house
for? I didn’t want it. I didn’t
want to sing. It was his idea –
everything was his idea – except
my leaving him.
INT. LIVING ROOM OF KANE’S HOUSE IN NEW YORK – DAY –
Susan is singing. Matisti, her voice teacher, is playing the
piano. Kane is seated nearby. Matisti stops.
Your job isn’t to give Mrs. Kane
your opinion of her talents.
You’re supposed to train her voice.
But, it is impossible. I will be
the laughingstock of the musical
world! People will say –
If you’re interested in what people
say, Signor Matisti, I may be able
to enlighten you a bit. The
newspapers, for instance. I’m an
authority on what the papers will
say, Signor Matisti, because I own
eight of them between here and San
Francisco… It’s all right, dear.
Signor Matisti is going to listen
to reason. Aren’t you, maestro?
(he looks him square
in the eyes)
Mr. Kane, how can I persuade you –
There is a silence. Matisti rises.
I knew you’d see it my way.
INT. CHICAGO OPERA HOUSE – NIGHT –
It is the same opening night – it is the same moment as before –
except taht the camera is now upstage angling toward the
audience. The curtain is down. We see the same tableau as
before – the terrified and trembling Susan, the apprehensive
principals, the maids and singing teachers, the stage hands.
As the dissolve commences, there is the sound of applause
(exactly as before) and now as the dissolve completes itself,
the orchestra breaks frighteningly into opening chords of the
music – the stage is cleared – Susan is left alone, terribly
alone. The curtain rises. The glare of the footlights jump
into the image. The curtain is now out of the picture and
Susan starts to sing. Beyond her, we see the prompter’s box,
containing the anxious face of the prompter. Beyond that, out
in the darkness – an apprehensive conductor struggles with his
task of coordinating an orchestra and an incompetent singer.
Beyond that – dimly white shirt fronts and glistening bosoms
for a couple of rows, and then deep and terrible darkness.
Closeup of Kane’s face – seated in the audience – listening.
Sudden but perfectly correct lull in the music reveals a voice
from the audience – a few words from a sentence – the kind of
thing that often happens in a theatre –
– really pathetic.
Music crashes in and drowns out the rest of the sentence, but
hundreds of people around the voice have heard it (as well as
Kane) and there are titters which grow in volume.
Closeup of Susan’s face – singing.
Closeup of Kane’s face – listening.
There is the ghastly sound of three thousand people applauding
as little as possible. Kane still looks. Then, near the
camera, there is the sound of about a dozen people applauding
very, very loudly. Camera moves back, revealing Bernstein and
Reilly and other Kane stooges, seated around him, beating their
palms together. The curtain is falling – as we can see by the
light which shutters down off their faces.
The stage from Kane’s angle.
The curtain is down – the lights glowing on it. Still, the
polite applause dying fast. Nobody comes out for a bow.
Closeup of Kane – breathing heavily. Suddenly he starts to
The stage from the audience again.
Susan appears for her bow. She can hardly walk. There is a
little polite crescendo of applause, but it is sickly.
Closeup of Kane – still applauding very, very hard, his eyes
The stage again.
Susan, finishing her bow, goes out through the curtains. The
light on the curtain goes out and the houselights go on.
Closeup of Kane – still applauding very, very hard.
INT. STUDY – KANE’S NEW YORK HOME – DAY –
Some weeks later. Susan, in a negligee, is at the window.
There are the remains of her breakfast tray on a little table.
You don’t propose to have yourself
made ridiculous? What about me?
I’m the one that has to do the
singing. I’m the one that gets
Last week, when I was shopping,
one of the salesgirls did an
imitation of me for another girl.
She thought I didn’t see her, but –
Charlie, you might as well make up
your mind to it. This is one thing
you’re not going to have your own
way about. I can’t sing and you
know it – Why can’t you just –
Kane rises and walks toward her. There is cold menace in his
walk. Susan shrinks a little as he draws closer to her.
My reasons satisfy me, Susan. You
seem unable to understand them. I
will not tell them to you again.
(he is very close
You will continue with your singing.
His eyes are relentlessly upon her. She sees something in
them that frightens her. She nods her head slowly, indicating
Front page of the “San Francisco Enquirer” containing a large
portrait of Susan as Thais (as before). It is announced that
Susan will open an independent season in San Francisco in
“Thais.” The picture remains constant but the names of the
papers change from New York to St. Louis, to Los Angeles to
Cleveland, to Denver to Philadelphia – all “Enquirers.”
During all this, on the soundtrack, Susan’s voice is heard
singing her aria very faintly and far away, her voice cracking
At the conclusion of this above, Susan has finished her song,
and there is the same mild applause as before – over the sound
of this, one man loudly applauding. This fades out as we –
INT. SUSAN’S BEDROOM – KANE’S NEW YORK HOME – LATE NIGHT –
The camera angles across the bed and Susan’s form towards the
door, from the other side of which voices can be heard.
Let’s have your keys, Raymond.
The key must be in the other side.
We’ll knock the door down, Raymond.
Mrs. Kane –
Do what I say.
The door crashes open, light floods in the room, revealing
Susan, fully dressed, stretched out on the bed, one arm dangling
over the side. Kane rushes to her.
Get Dr. Corey.
He rushes out. Susan is breathing, but heavily. Kane loosens
the lace collar at her throat.
INT. SUSAN’S ROOM – LATE NIGHT –
A little later. All the lights are lit. Susan, in a nightgown,
is in bed, asleep. Raymond and a nurse are just leaving the
room, Raymond closing the door quietly behind him. Dr. Corey
She’ll be perfectly all right in a
day or two, Mr. Kane.
Kane nods. He has a small bottle in his hand.
The nurse has complete instructions,
but if you care to talk to me at
any time, I should be only too
glad – I shall be here in the
Thank you. I can’t imagine how
Mrs. Kane came to make such a silly
mistake. The sedative Dr. Wagner
gave her is in a somewhat larger
bottle – I suppose the strain of
preparing for her trip has excited
and confused her.
I’m sure that’s it.
(he starts out)
There are no objections to my
staying here with her, are there?
Not at all. I’d like the nurse to
be here, too.
Dr. Corey leaves. Kane settles himself in a chair next to the
bed, looking at Susan. In a moment, the nurse enters, goes to
a chair in the corner of the room, and sits down.
INT. SUSAN’S ROOM – DAY –
Susan, utterly spent, is lying flat on her back in her bed.
Kane is in the chair beside her. The nurse is out of the room.
(in a voice that
comes from far
I couldn’t make you see how I felt,
Charlie. I just couldn’t – I
couldn’t go threw with singing
again. You don’t know what it
means to feel – to know that people –
that an audience don’t want you.
That if you haven’t got what they
want – a real voice –
they just don’t care about you.
Even when they’re polite – and
they don’t laugh or get restless
or – you know… They don’t want
you. They just –
That’s when you’ve got to fight
them. That’s when you’ve got to
make them. That’s –
Susan’s head turns and she looks at him silently with pathetic
(he leans over to
pat her hand)
You won’t have to fight them
(he smiles a little)
It’s their loss.
Gratefully, Susan, with difficulty, brings her other hand over
to cover his.
EXT. ESTABLISHING SHOT OF XANADU – HALF BUILT
INT. THE GRAND HALL IN XANADU –
Closeup of an enormous jigsaw puzzle. A hand is putting in
the last piece. Camera moves back to reveal jigsaw puzzle
spread out on the floor.
Susan is on the floor before her jigsaw puzzle. Kane is in an
easy chair. Behind them towers the massive Renaissance
fireplace. It is night and Baroque candelabra illuminates the
(with a sigh)
What time is it?
There is no answer.
Charlie! I said, what time is it?
(looks up – consults
Half past eleven.
I mean in New York.
Half past eleven.
Yes. The bulldog’s just gone to
Hurray for the bulldog!
Half past eleven! The shows have
just let out. People are going to
night clubs and restaurants. Of
course, we’re different. We live
in a palace – at the end of the
You always said you wanted to live
in a palace.
Can’t we go back, Charlie?
Kane looks at her smilingly and turns back to his work.
There is no answer.
If I promise to be a good girl!
Not to drink – and to entertain
all the governors and the senators
with dignity –
(she puts a slur
into the word)
There is still no answer.
Another picture puzzle – Susan’s hands fitting in a missing
Another picture puzzle – Susan’s hands fitting in a missing
INT. XANADU – LIVING ROOM – DAY –
Another picture puzzle.
Camera pulls back to show Kane and Susan in much the same
positions as before, except that they are older.
One thing I’ve never been able to
understand, Susan. How do you
know you haven’t done them before?
Susan shoots him an angry glance. She isn’t amused.
It makes a whole lot more sense
than collecting Venuses.
You may be right – I sometimes
wonder – but you get into the
It’s not a habit. I do it because
I like it.
I was referring to myself.
I thought we might have a picnic
tomorrow – it might be a nice change
after the Wild West party tonight.
Invite everybody to go to the
(throws down a piece
of the jigsaw puzzle
Invite everybody! Order everybody,
you mean, and make them sleep in
tents! Who wants to sleep in tents
when they have a nice room of their
own – with their own bath, where
they know where everything is?
Kane has looked at her steadily, not hostilely.
I thought we might invite everybody
to go on a picnic tomorrow. Stay
at Everglades overnight.
(he pats her lightly
on the shoulder)
Please see that the arrangements
are made, Susan.
Kane turns away – to Bernstein.
You remember my son, Mr. Bernstein.
On the soundtrack we hear the following lines of dialogue:
Oh, yes. How do you do, Mr. Kane?
CHARLIE JR.’S VOICE
During this, camera holds on closeup of Susan’s face. She is
EXT. THE EVERGLADES CAMP – NIGHT –
Long shot – of a number of classy tents.
INT. LARGE TENT – EVERGLADES CAMP – NIGHT –
Two real beds have been set up on each side of the tent. A
rather classy dressing table is in the rear, at which Susan is
preparing for bed. Kane, in his shirt-sleeves, is in an easy
chair, reading. Susan is very sullen.
I’m not going to put up with it.
Kane turns to look at her.
I mean it.
(she catches a slight
flicker on Kane’s
Oh, I know I always say I mean it,
and then I don’t – or you get me
so don’t do what I say I’m going
to – but –
You’re in a tent, darling. You’re
not at home. And I can hear you
very well if you just talk in a
normal tone of voice.
I’m not going to have my guests
insulted, just because you think –
(in a rage)
– if people want to bring a drink
or two along on a picnic, that’s
their business. You’ve got no
I’ve got more than a right as far
as you’re concerned, Susan.
Oh, I’m sick and tired of you
telling me what I must and what I
You’re my wife, Susan, and –
I’m not just your wife, I’m a person
all by myself – or I ought to be.
I was once. Sometimes you get me
to believing I never was.
We can discuss all this some other
time, Susan. Right now –
I’ll discuss what’s on my mind
when I want to. You’re not going
to keep on running my life the way
you want it.
As far as you’re concerned, Susan,
I’ve never wanted anything – I
don’t want anything now – except
what you want.
What you want me to want, you mean.
What you’ve decided I ought to
have – what you’d want if you were
me. But you’ve never given me
anything that –
Susan, I really think –
Oh, I don’t mean the things you’ve
given me – that don’t mean anything
to you. What’s the difference
between giving me a bracelet or
giving somebody else a hundred
thousand dollars for a statue you’re
going to keep crated up and never
look at? It’s only money. It
doesn’t mean anything. You’re not
really giving anything that belongs
to you, that you care about.
(he has risen)
Susan, I want you to stop this.
And right now!
Well, I’m not going to stop it.
I’m going to say exactly what I
You’ve never given me anything.
You’ve tried to buy me into giving
you something. You’re –
(a sudden notion)
– it’s like you were bribing me!
That’s what it’s been from the
first moment I met you. No matter
how much it cost you – your time,
your money – that’s what you’ve
done with everybody you’ve ever
known. Tried to bribe them!
She looks at him, with no lessening of her passion.
You’re talking an incredible amount
of nonsense, Susan.
Whatever I do – I do – because I
Love! You don’t love anybody! Me
or anybody else! You want to be
loved – that’s all you want! I’m
Charles Foster Kane. Whatever you
want – just name it and it’s yours!
Only love me! Don’t expect me to
love you –
Without a word, Kane slaps her across the face. They look at
You – you hit me.
Kane continues to look at her.
You’ll never have another chance
to hit me again.
Never knew till this minute –
Susan, it seems to me –
Don’t tell me you’re sorry.
I’m not sorry.
I’m going to leave you.
No, you’re not.
They look at each other, fixedly, but she doesn’t give way.
In fact, the camera on Kane’s face shows the beginning of a
startled look, as of one who sees something unfamiliar and
INT. KANE’S STUDY – XANADU – DAY –
Kane is a the window looking out. He turns as he hears Raymond
Mrs. Kane would like to see you,
Raymond waits as Kane hesitates.
Is Mrs. Kane –
(he can’t finish)
Marie has been packing since
morning, Mr. Kane.
Kane impetuously walks past him out of the room.
INT. SUSAN’S ROOM – XANADU – DAY –
Packed suitcases are on the floor, Susan is completely dressed
for travelling. Kane bursts into the room.
Tell Arnold I’m ready, Marie. He
can get the bags.
Yes, Mrs. Kane.
She leaves. Kane closes the door behind her.
Have you gone completely crazy?
Susan looks at him.
Don’t you realize that everybody
here is going to know about this?
That you’ve packed your bags and
ordered the car and –
– And left? Of course they’ll
hear. I’m not saying goodbye –
except to you – but I never imagined
that people wouldn’t know.
Kane is standing against the door as if physically barring her
I won’t let you go.
You can’t stop me.
Kane keeps looking at her. Susan reaches out her hand.
Don’t go, Susan.
Let’s not start all over again,
Charlie. We’ve said everything
that can be said.
Susan, don’t go! Susan, please!
He has lost all pride. Susan stops. She is affected by this.
You mustn’t go, Susan.
Everything’ll be exactly the way
you want it. Not the way I think
you want it – by your way. Please,
Susan – Susan!
She is staring at him. She might weaken.
Don’t go, Susan! You mustn’t go!
You – you can’t do this to me,
It’s as if he had thrown ice water into her face. She freezes.
I see – it’s you that this is being
done to! It’s not me at all. Not
how I feel. Not what it means to
I can’t do this to you!
(she looks at him)
Oh, yes I can.
She walks out, past Kane, who turns to watch her go, like a
very tired old man.
INT. “EL RANCHO” CABARET – NIGHT –
Susan and Thompson at a table. There is silence between them
for a moment.
In case you’ve never heard of how
I lost all my money – and it was
plenty, believe me –
The last ten years have been tough
on a lot of people.
They haven’t been tough on me. I
just lost my money. But when I
compare these last ten years with
the twenty I spent with him –
I feel kind of sorry for him, all
the same –
Don’t you think I do?
You say you’re going down to Xanadu?
Monday, with some of the boys from
the office. Mr. Rawlston wants
the whole place photographed
carefully – all that art stuff.
We run a picture magazine, you
I know. If you’re smart, you’ll
talk to Raymond. That’s the butler.
You can learn a lot from him. He
knows where the bodies are buried.
She shivers. The dawn light from the skylight above has grown
brighter, making the artificial light in the night club look
particularly ghastly, revealing mercilessly every year of
Well, what do you know? It’s
(looks at him)
You must come around and tell me
the story of your life sometime.
INT. GREAT HALL – XANADU – NIGHT –
An open door shows the pantry, which is dark. Thompson and
Raymond are at a table. There is a pitcher of beer and a plate
of sandwiches before them. Raymond drinks a glass of beer and
Yes, sir – yes, sir, I knew how to
handle the old man. He was kind
of queer, but I knew how to handle
Yeah. I guess he wasn’t very happy
those last years – he didn’t have
much reason to be –
INT. CORRIDOR AND TELEGRAPH OFFICE – XANADU – NIGHT –
Raymond walking rapidly along corridor. He pushes open a door.
At a desk in a fairly elaborate telegraph office sits a wireless
operator named Fred. Near him at a telephone switchboard sits
a female operator named Katherine (not that it matters).
Mr. Charles Foster Kane announced
today that Mrs. Charles Foster
Kane has left Xanadu, his Florida
home, under the terms of a peaceful
and friendly agreement with the
intention of filing suit for divorce
at an early date. Mrs. Kane said
that she does not intend to return
to the operatic career which she
gave up a few years after her
marriage, at Mr. Kane’s request.
Signed, Charles Foster Kane.
Fred finishes typing and then looks up.
Exclusive for immediate
transmission. Urgent priority all
There is the sound of the buzzer on the switchboard. Katherine
puts in a plug and answers the call.
Yes … yes… Mrs. Tinsdall –
(turns to Raymond)
It’s the housekeeper.
She says there’s some sort of
disturbance up in Mrs. Alexander’s
room. She’s afraid to go in.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE SUSAN’S BEDROOM – XANADU – NIGHT –
The housekeeper, Mrs. Tinsdall, and a couple of maids are near
the door but are too afraid to be in front of it. From inside
can be heard a terrible banging and crashing. Raymond hurries
into scene, opens the door and goes in.
INT. SUSAN’S BEDROOM – XANADU –
Kane, in a truly terrible and absolutely silent rage, is
literally breaking up the room – yanking pictures, hooks and
all off the wall, smashing them to bits – ugly, gaudy pictures –
Susie’s pictures in Susie’s bad taste. Off of occasional
tables, bureaus, he sweeps Susie’s whorish accumulation of
Raymond stands in the doorway watching him. Kane says nothing.
He continues with tremendous speed and surprising strength,
still wordlessly, tearing the room to bits. The curtains (too
frilly – overly pretty) are pulled off the windows in a single
gesture, and from the bookshelves he pulls down double armloads
of cheap novels – discovers a half-empty bottle of liquor and
dashes it across the room. Finally he stops. Susie’s cozy
little chamber is an incredible shambles all around him.
He stands for a minute breathing heavily, and his eye lights
on a hanging what-not in a corner which had escaped his notice.
Prominent on its center shelf is the little glass ball with
the snowstorm in it. He yanks it down. Something made of
china breaks, but not the glass ball. It bounces on the carpet
and rolls to his feet, the snow in a flurry. His eye follows
it. He stoops to pick it up – can’t make it. Raymond picks
it up for him; hands it to him. Kane takes it sheepishly –
looks at it – moves painfully out of the room into the corridor.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE SUSAN’S BEDROOM – XANADU –
Kane comes out of the door. Mrs. Tinsdall has been joined now
by a fairly sizable turnout of servants. They move back away
from Kane, staring at him. Raymond is in the doorway behind
Kane. Kane looks at the glass ball.
Close the door, Raymond.
(he closes it)
Lock it – and keep it locked.
Raymond locks the door and comes to his side. There is a long
pause – servants staring in silence. Kane gives the glass
ball a gentle shake and starts another snowstorm.
(he is almost in a
Yes, sir –
One of the younger servants giggles and is hushed up. Kane
shakes the ball again. Another flurry of snow. He watches
the flakes settle – then looks up. Finally, taking in the
pack of servants and something of the situations, he puts the
glass ball in his coat pocket. He speaks very quietly to
Raymond, so quietly it only seems he’s talking to himself.
Keep it locked.
He slowly walks off down the corridor, the servants giving way
to let him pass, and watching him as he goes. He is an old,
INT. KANE’S CHAPEL – XANADU – LATE AFTERNOON –
As the dissolve completes itself, camera is travellling across
the floor of the chapel past the crypts of Kane’s father and
mother – (marked: James Kane – 18- TO 19-; Mary Kane – 18- TO
19-;) – past a blank crypt, and then holding on the burial of
Kane’s son. A group of ordinary workmen in ordinary clothes
are lowering a very expensive-looking coffin into its crypt.
Kane stands nearby with Raymond, looking on. The men strain
and grunt as the coffin bangs on the stone floor. The men now
place over it a long marble slab on which is cut the words:
CHARLES FOSTER KANE II.
1907 – 1938
ONE OF THE WORKMEN
Sorry, Mr. Kane, we won’t be able
to cement it till tommorrow. We –
Kane looks right through him. Raymond cuts him short.
The men tip their hats and shuffle out of the chapel. Kane
raises his head, looks at the inscription on the wall. It is
a little to one side of Junior’s grave, directly over the blank
place which will be occupied by Kane himself.
Do you like poetry, Raymond?
Can’t say, sir.
Mrs. Kane liked poetry –
Raymond is now convinced that the old master is very far gone
indeed – not to say off his trolley.
Yes, Mr. Kane.
Not my wife – not either of them.
He looks at the grave next to his son’s – the grave marked
Oh, yes, sir.
(looking back up at
Do you know what that is?
(more his keeper
than his butler
It’s a wall you bought in China,
Persia. It belonged to a king.
How did you get him to part with
it, Mr. Kane?
He was dead… That’s a poem. Do
you know what it means?
No, I don’t, Mr. Kane.
I didn’t used to be afraid of it.
A short pause. His eyes still on the wall, but looking through
it, Kane quotes the translation.
The drunkeness of youth has passed
like a fever, And yet I saw many
things, Seeing my glory in the
days of my glory, I thought my
power eternal And the days of my
life Fixed surely in the years But
a whisper came to me From Him who
dies not. I called my tributary
kings together And those who were
proud rulers under me, I opened
the boxes of my treasure to them,
saying: “Take hills of gold,
moutains of silver, And give me
only one more day upon the earth.”
But they stood silent, Looking
upon the ground; So that I died
And Death came to sit upon my
throne. O sons of men You see a
stranger upon the road, You call
to him and he does not step. He
is your life Walking towards time,
Hurrying to meet the kings of India
O sons of men You are caught in
the web of the world And the spider
Nothing waits behind it. Where
are the men with towering hopes?
They have changed places with owls,
Owls who have lived in tombs And
now inhabit a palace.
Kane still stares at the wall, through it, and way beyond it.
Raymond looks at him.
INT. GREAT HALL – XANADU – NIGHT –
Thompson and Raymond. Raymond has finished his beer.
That’s the whole works, right up
Sentimental fellow, aren’t you?
Yes and no.
(getting to his
Well, thanks a lot.
See what I mean? He was a little
gone in the head – the last couple
of years, anyway – but I knew how
to handle him.
That “Rosebud” – that don’t mean
anything. I heard him say it.
He just said “Rosebud” and then he
dropped that glass ball and it
broke on the floor. He didn’t say
anything about that, so I knew he
was dead – He said all kind of
things I couldn’t make out. But I
knew how to take care of him.
Thompson doesn’t answer.
You can go on asking questions if
you want to.
We’re leaving tonight. As soon as
they’re through photographing
the stuff –
Thompson has risen. Raymond gets to his feet and goes to the
door, opening it for him.
Allow yourself plenty of time.
The train stops at the Junction On
signal – but they don’t like to
wait. Not now. I can remember
when they’d wait all day … if
Mr. Kane said so.
Raymond ushes Thompson into
INT. THE GREAT HALL – XANADU – NIGHT –
The magnificent tapestries, candelabra, etc., are still there,
but now several large packing cases are piled against the walls,
some broken open, some shut and a number of objects, great and
small, are piled pell mell all over the place. Furniture,
statues, paintings, bric-a-brac – things of obviously enormous
value are standing beside a kitchen stove, an old rocking chair
and other junk, among which is also an old sled, the self-same
story. Somewhere in the back, one of the vast Gothic windows
of the hall is open and a light wind blows through the scene,
rustling the papers.
In the center of the hall, a Photographer and his Assistant
are busy photographing the sundry objects. The floor is
littered with burnt-out flash bulbs. They continue their work
throughout the early part of the scene so that now and then a
flash bulb goes off. In addition to the Photographer and his
Assistant, there are a Girl and Two Newspaperment – the Second
and Third Men of the projection room scene – also Thompson and
The Girl and the Second Man, who wears a hat, are dancing
somewhere in the back of the hall to the music of a phonograph.
A flash bulb goes off. The Photographer has just photographed
a picture, obviously of great value, an Italian primitive.
The Assistant consults a label on the back of it.
The Third Newspaperman starts to jot this information down.
“Nativity” – attributed to
Donatello, acquired Florence 1921,
cost 45,000 lira. Got that?
All right! Next! Better get that
statue over there.
The Photographer and his Assitant start to move off with their
equipment towards a large sculpture in another part of the
What do you think all that is worth,
Millions – if anybody wants it.
The banks are out of luck, eh?
Oh, I don’t know. They’ll clear
“Venus,” Fourth Century. Acquired
1911. Cost twenty-three thousand.
(patting the statue
on the fanny)
That’s a lot of money to pay for a
dame without a head.
(reading a label)
No. 483. One desk from the estate
of Mary Kane, Little Salem,
Colorado. Value $6.00.
A flashlight bulb goes off.
We’re all set to get everything.
The junk as well as the art.
Thompson has opened a box and is idly playing with a handful
of little pieces of cardboard.
It’s a jigsaw puzzle.
We got a lot of those. There’s a
Burmese Temple and three Spanish
ceilings down the hall.
Yeah, all in crates.
There’s a part of a Scotch castle
over there, but we haven’t bothered
to unwrap it.
I wonder how they put all those
(reading a label)
Iron stove. Estate of Mary Kane.
Put it over by that statue. It’ll
make a good setup.
Who is she anyway?
Venus. She always is.
He sure liked to collect things,
He went right on buying – right up
to the end.
Anything and everything – he was a
wonder – You put all this together –
the palaces and the paintings and
the toys and everything – what
would it spell?
Thompson has turned around. He is facing the camera for the
Charles Foster Kane.
Another flash bulb goes off. The Photographer turns to Thompson
with a grin.
Or Rosebud? How about it, Jerry?
(to the dancers)
Turn that thing off, will you?
It’s driving me nuts! What’s
Kane’s last words, aren’t they,
(to the Third
That was Jerry’s angle, wasn’t it,
Jerry? Did you ever find out what
it means, Jerry?
No, I didn’t.
The music has stopped. The dancers have come over to Thompson.
Say, what did you find out about
him, anyway, Jerry?
Well, what have you been doing?
Playing with a jigsaw puzzle – I
talked to a lot of people who knew
What do they say?
Well – it’s become a very clear
picture. He was the most honest
man who ever lived, with a streak
of crookedness a yard wide. He
was a liberal and a reactionary;
he was tolerant – “Live and Let
Live” – that was his motto. But
he had no use for anybody who
disagreed with him on any point,
no matter how small it was. He
was a loving husband and a good
father – and both his wives left
him and his son got himself killed
about as shabbily as you can do
it. He had a gift for friendship
such as few men have – he broke
his oldest friend’s heart like
you’d throw away a cigarette
you were through with. Outside of
What about Rosebud? Don’t you
think that explains anything?
No, I don’t. Not much anway.
Charles Foster Kane was a man who
got everything he wanted, and then
lost it. Maybe Rosebud was
something he couldn’t get or lost.
No, I don’t think it explains
anything. I don’t think any word
explains a man’s life. No – I
guess Rosebud is just a piece in a
jigsaw puzzle – a missing piece.
He drops the jigsaw pieces back into the box, looking at his
We’d better get along. We’ll miss
He picks up his overcoat – it has been resting on a little
sled – the little sled young Charles Foster Kane hit Thatcher
with at the opening of the picture. Camera doesn’t close in
on this. It just registers the sled as the newspaper people,
picking up their clothes and equipment, move out of the great
INT. CELLAR – XANADU – NIGHT –
A large furnace, with an open door, dominates the scene. Two
laborers, with shovels, are shovelling things into the furnace.
Raymond is about ten feet away.
Throw that junk in, too.
Camera travels to the pile that he has indicated. It is mostly
bits of broken packing cases, excelsior, etc. The sled is on
top of the pile. As camera comes close, it shows the faded
rosebud and, though the letters are faded, unmistakably the
word “ROSEBUD” across it. The laborer drops his shovel, takes
the sled in his hand and throws it into the furnace. The flames
start to devour it.
EXT. XANADU – NIGHT –
No lights are to be seen. Smoke is coming from a chimney.
Camera reverses the path it took at the beginning of the
picture, perhaps omitting some of the stages. It moves finally
through the gates, which close behind it. As camera pauses
for a moment, the letter “K” is prominent in the moonlight.
Just before we fade out, there comes again into the picture
the pattern of barbed wire and cyclone fencing. On the fence
is a sign which reads:
“PRIVATE – NO TRESPASSING”