Going once, going twice …

By Oliver Gettell
September 15, 2015 at 08:04 PM EDT
Directed by Orson Welles One word: Rosebud. It's still the greatest movie of all time. Telling the story of a newspaper tycoon based on William…
Credit: Everett Collection
  • Movie

Three of Orson Welles’ personal manuscripts for his 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane are headed to auction.

As part of a three-day sale of Hollywood memorabilia beginning Sept. 29, Profiles in History is auctioning off an original first draft under the working title American, penned by Herman Mankiewicz; a later, more developed draft; and the final shooting script, which includes Welles’ handwritten notes and is signed by several cast members. The starting bid for each script is set at $20,000.

Widely regarded as one of the finest films of all time, Citizen Kane of course charts the rise and fall of a William Randolph Hearst-like newspaper tycoon. Welles was just 25 when he made Kane, serving as star, co-writer, producer, and director, and the film stands as a landmark in terms of cinematic and narrative innovation.

Taken together, the three script drafts being auctioned could shed new light on the evolution of the making of the movie, Profiles in History owner Joseph Maddalena told the Associated Press.

“What’s so significant about this is there’s been so much written about Citizen Kane that is inaccurate or we just don’t know because there are gaps in the story because no one had the source reference,” Maddalena said. “For people who study film, it’s a big deal because you actually now have the entire story.”

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Citizen Kane

  • Movie
  • 119 minutes
  • Orson Welles