‘Citizen Kane’ Set for First-Ever Screening at Hearst Castle (EXCLUSIVE)

citizen kane orson welles
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Orson Welles’ iconic “Citizen Kane” has been set for its first-ever showing at Hearst Castle on March 13 as part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

The movie will be screened at the private theater at the massive hilltop estate — the inspiration for Xanadu in “Citizen Kane” — for about 50 people. Tickets will cost $1,000 each and proceeds will benefit the festival and The Friends of Hearst Castle preservation group.

The Hearst family became a part of the festival in 2012 when William Randolph Hearst’s grandson Steven Hearst agreed to a first-ever screening of “Citizen Kane” at the Hearst Castle visitor center, two miles away from Hearst Castle — even though his grandfather had tried unsuccessfully to suppress the 1941 film. Steven Hearst had said then that enough time has passed for the family to acknowledge the artistic achievement of the film, while attempting to set the record straight about Hearst.

The evening will include a tour with Museum Director Mary Levkoff. Attendees will include “Apocalypse Now” screenwriter John Milius, recipient of the festival’s Spotlight award; producer/director Greg MacGillivray; Steven Hearst and Warner Bros. executives.

The film will be introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz — the grandson of Herman Mankiewicz, who teamed with Welles to write the screenplay. That script received the film’s only Oscar.

The event will also include live auctions of a pair of Hearst Castle party packages — a movie night for 10 and a pool party for 10 at the indoor Roman Pool — with bidding starting at $7,000.

The festival screened Leslie Iwerks’ documentary “Citizen Hearst” at the castle in 2013 and held a screening last year in San Luis Obispo of “The Big Lebowski,” preceded by Jeff Bridges and longtime friend James Cromwell discussing the film.

The festival is now in its 21st year.

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  1. grace says:

    Stephen Hearst is the great grandson of W.R. Hearst. not the grandson. Way to get your facts straight (not).

  2. Bruce Hayes says:

    Citizen Kane put the final nail in the coffin of Marion Davies’ reputation. Some will say, “Oh, Marion was a talented comedienne,” but the real truth (thanks mainly to Turner Classic Movies and The Warner Archive) is she was an incredibly talented actress whose versatility ranks alongside the best of Hollywood’s great stars. Unfortunately, none of her films achieved the status of “classic” and she never won an Oscar (think “A Star is Born” and Janet Gaynor, whose career ended about the same time as Davies’). Marion had a 20-year film career and touched many people’s lives with her generosity and charities. Hopefully the screening at Hearst Castle will ensure that Marion Davies is recognized for her true gifts.

  3. Ron says:

    Wasn’t there a Hearst Visitor’s Center screening of KANE in March 2012? That was also organized by the San Luis Obispo festival, and technically unless it was canceled would count as first screening on the grounds.

  4. PETER JAY says:


  5. vp19 says:

    From the visitors center (something I wrote about at the time at http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/479403.html) to the fabled Castle screening room itself. One wonders if those attending might witness some sort of supernatural reaction from W.R. and Marion…although I sense that by now, Hearst is more ticked off over his descendants cutting his beloved Davies out of his will than by anything Orson Welles perpetrated on screen.

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