In an ironic twist, the Orson Welles’ classic “Citizen Kane” will be shown at Hearst Castle, even though the castle’s namesake, William Randolph Hearst, vehemently opposed the movie that his life inspired.
But the Hearst family, led by Steve Hearst, William Randolph Hearst’s great-grandson and vice president of the Hearst Corp., has given its blessing to the screening.
The festival’s organizers were surprised that the family approved the screening of a movie that is a “scathing indictment of Hearst’s life as a press lord,” according to a news release on the festival’s website.
The movie is about fictional media mogul Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon who has an opulent home and a young mistress, just like Hearst did.
Hearst went to great lengths to try to stop the movie’s release. He kept ads for the film out of many of his newspapers and one of his allies even tried to buy the footage in order to burn it, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Despite Hearst’s efforts, the movie came out anyway became an instant classic. Hearst’s family claims he never saw the 1941 movie.
His great-grandson sees the screening as an opportunity to show “Citizen Kane” in a new light.
“Seventy years after its premiere, it is time to re-evaluate ‘Citizen Kane,’” Steve Hearst wrote in the festival’s news release. “This remarkable film paints a portrait of two masters of the media — William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles himself. We can enjoy it just as fully as a work of artistic fiction, not fact.”
“Citizen Kane” will be shown at the castle’s theater on March 9 as part of the 2012 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.