Citizen Kane parrot?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Mar 2, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    This has been bugging me since I watched Citizen Kane a couple of days ago: at one point, as the scene is shifting from one to another, a white bird (kakatu?) flashes on the screen and screeches. What the heck was that all about? Is it some symbolism I'm missing of something?
     
  2. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    Orson Welles thought that the movie was getting a bit slow near the end of the film, so he just wanted to wake the audience up by shocking them with a screeching parrot. No symbolism was intended.
     
  3. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I LOVE the use of that bird in this film. One of my favorite flourishes in it.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Beautiful plumage! [​IMG]
     
  5. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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    I HATE the use of that bird in this film. One of my least favorite gratuitous flourishes in it.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    Ever notice the eye of the bird is transparent? How did they do that?
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It seems like the parrot (again, beautiful plumage!) was superimposed on top of the background image via optical printing.

    The transparent eye is due to it reflecting white light, thus being "erased"

    Lowry Digital Images thankfully did not fixing this in their restoration of Citizen Kane.

    (By the way...Citizen Kane was the first movie, I think, to use a type of optical printer developed just for the film. Industrial Light and Magic later used the same printer for many of their early effects.)
     
  8. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    I think one thing that needs to be remembered,

    that Orson was prone to fibbing whenever it suited

    his needs...

    Sure, the Cockatoo would "wake up" the audience,

    but it also can be seen as "the bird flying the coop."

    If you want people to endlessly debate the meanings

    in your film, don't be a reliable commentator on

    your own work.

    Welles, being a magician, certainly understood that.

    Mark
     

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