Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane Glossary


A political philosophy that views the State as harmful and unnecessary, or a person who subscribes to this philosophy.


The Auteur Theory is the idea that a director's film is reflective of that man or woman's singular creative voice, despite collaboration or studio interference.

Deep Focus

A strategy of lighting, composition, and lens choice that allows everything in the frame to be in focus at the same time.


A physical representation, like a sculpture or a crude dummy, of a specific person that his or her opponents create to burn symbolically in protest.

Film A Clef

A film describing a real life, posed as a work of fiction.


Large, multi-decked sailing ships commonly used for battles or exploration by Europeans between the 16th and 18th centuries.

German Expressionism

An artistic movement that evolved in Germany during the country's isolation after World War I. Expressionist films were known for their fantastic, absurd design, high contrast, and plots based on madness or insanity. Fritz Lang's films like Metropolis and M as well as Robert Wiene's classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are famous examples of German Expressionism.


A type of mixed drink containing a spirit and some kind of non-alcoholic mixer, like today's "scotch and soda".

Kublai Khan

The founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China who reigned from 1260 to 1294. His lavish summer capital, Xanadu, was the subject of a famous poem by Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Lobster Newburg

An American seafood dish that was popular at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City during the late 19th Century.


Before World War I, the term was used to describe investigative journalists who published truthful reports, fulfilling an auditing or a "watchdog" function.


A short documentary presenting news stories and other items of topical interest. During the first half of the 20th century, newsreels often preceded feature films in cinemas.


A place where one is free from intrusion.

Scandal Sheet

A derogatory term for a tabloid, or any publication that prints gossip and scandalous stories.


A tranquilizer that relieves anxiety, stress, and can assist in helping a person fall asleep.


An abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases the speed and brevity of putting words down on paper without losing their meaning.

Sing Sing

Sing Sing Correctional Facility is a maximum-security prison in Ossining, New York.

Spanish-American War

A 10-week conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States due to the USA's intervention in the Cuban War for Independence. It was resolved with the Treaty of Paris which granted temporary American control of Cuba.

Stuffed Shirt

A derogatory term for a stiff, formal person who is often inflexible or uptight.


In a legal context, a trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another.


The Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty.

Yellow Journalism

A type of journalism that is intended to excite readers, often without legitimate research or interviews. Newspapers rely on this technique to sell papers using eye-catching headlines and scare tactics.