Moving from theories of film to film itself, the third chapter contends that Citizen Kane employs the same narrative form as the novel Orson Welles wanted to adapt when he went to Hollywood, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Both works revolve around the attempted decipherment of a deathbed phrase by multiple narrators. But Welles also derives from Conrad his concern with the relationship among speech, writing, and image, a relationship transformed by new technologies of sound recording, frequently described as akin to hieroglyphs. The innovative plot structures of Conrad and Welles seek to call attention to the ways in which the medium of the novel or of film, respectively, can uniquely express the visual and the oral, without seeking to mediate between the two.
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