Orson Welles' personal Citizen Kane scripts up for auction



2015-09-16 09:50:55

Three original typescripts which chart the evolution of Citizen Kane will be offered at auction later this month.

The three copies of the script all originate from the personal collection of Orson Welles himself, and offer a remarkable insight into the development of what many regard to be the greatest film ever made.

First up is the earliest-known draft of the film known to exist in private hands. In March 1940 Welles presented writer Herman Mankiewicz with a 300-page draft script of dialogue and camera instruction, and sent him off to Mrs. Campbell’s Guest Ranch retreat to produce a first draft of the script.

Entitled 'American', the script clocked in at 250 pages but included large gaps in continuity and differed in many ways from Mankiewicz's next pass at the screenplay.

The second version on offer features the credit "original story and screenplay" by Herman Mankiewicz, highlighting his role in the creation of the film which has been disputed over the years.

With Welles often presenting himself as a one-man show, the writer, director and star of the film, Mankiewicz was often overlooked by critics. However, having stood his ground he shared the film's Best Screenplay Academy Award with Welles, and in recent years critical opinion has shifted to the idea that Mankiewicz was largely responsible for the vast bulk of the script.

The third copy of the script on offer is Welles' personal, annotated copy of the revised shooting script, used extensively during the production and signed on the cover by several cast members including Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, George Coulouris, Paul Stewart, Joseph Cotten, and Erskine Sanford.

Each of the scripts comes with an estimated value of $20,000-$30,000, and together the three items offer a clear look at the creative process which changed Hollywood history.

The Profiles in History Hollywood Auction takes place in Calabasas, California on September 29-October 1.

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