CBS News Sunday Morning: “Mank” and the writer behind “Citizen Kane”

Ben Mankiewicz and David Fincher

Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz reports on the film about his grandfather.

Ben Mankiewicz
October 25, 2020
CBS News Sunday Morning

It is arguably the most famous word ever spoken on film: Rosebud. And it comes from what many consider the greatest movie ever made. “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles‘ 1941 masterpiece on the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, a ruthless capitalist mostly based on newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

With its deep focus camerawork and bold lighting techniques that use shadows to direct the audience’s attention, “Citizen Kane” is a cinematic landmark.

So it’s only fitting that the story behind it is equally compelling.

And that’s the story director David Fincher tells in his new Netflix film. I spoke to Fincher on Stage 19 at Paramount Studios, where Welles made Citizen Kane 80 years ago.

“When you look at a movie that is cohesive, as ‘Kane’ was, from the authorship standpoint, it fires on all cylinders,” Fincher told me.

Fincher’s film is called “Mank.” Oscar winner Gary Oldman stars as Herman Mankiewicz, who Welles hired to write the screenplay for “Kane.”

Full disclosure, Herman Mankiewicz was my grandfather.

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