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Kenneth Branagh's inspirations

Kenneth Branagh’s inspirations — The director pulls from ”Citizen Kane” and Alfred Hitchcock in his film ”Dead Again”

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In his new thriller, Dead Again, brash young director Kenneth Branagh openly courts comparison to the cinematic master, Orson Welles. Branagh borrows freely from the inimitable Citizen Kane, and also includes a number of visual references to the collected works of another cinematic legend, Alfred Hitchcock. For instance:

When Branagh visits an aged Andy Garcia, it’s a virtual replay of the scene in Kane in which inquiring reporter William Alland visits an aged Joseph Cotten — just as Cotten begs for a forbidden cigar, Garcia pleads for a cigarette.

Branagh’s first appearance as Roman Strauss is staged with his mouth in tight close-up, just like Welles’ first appearance in Kane.

The final shot of the Strauss mansion, its iron gate decorated with a musical clef, recalls the final pan down Kane’s Xanadu.

Hanna Schygulla, as the Strauss’ scheming housekeeper, harks back to Judith Anderson’s Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

* A painting of melting scissors in Emma Thompson’s apartment alludes to the famous Salvador Dali dream sequence in Spellbound.

When Thompson brandishes scissors in self-defense, she’s invoking Grace Kelly’s scissors scene in Dial M for Murder.