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Citizen Kane Finally Cracks the Hearst Castle

When San Luis Obispo International Film Festival director Wendy Eidson originally floated the idea of a first-ever screening of Citizen Kane at the Hearst Castle, she was actually joking. But as she told LA Times reporter Steve Chawkins, after she made the historic suggestion to the keepers of the state park, the reaction was anything but what she expected:

“They didn’t laugh,” Eidson said. “I was sort of floored.”

Steve Hearst, the mogul’s great-grandson, said the event will present the film as a work of fiction rather than as a documentary about the life of the patriarch known to family members as W.R.

While William Randolph Hearst went out of his way to thwart Citizen Kane in theaters and generally make life miserable for writer-director Orson Welles, he reportedly never watched the film. As Chawkins recounts, Welles ran into the media mogul in a San Francisco hotel elevator the night of the movie’s Bay Area premiere and offered to screen it privately for Hearst. But W.R. passed.

The special festival screening, to be held March 9 at the Visitors Centre’s theater (pictured), will kick off with famed Hollywood photographer Timothy White flying into the Hearst ranch’s private airstrip. Tickets for the event went on sale this morning and quickly sold out.

[Photo courtesy HearstCastle.org]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
San Simeon Plays Host to William Randolph Hearst Time Warp

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