Charity and patriotism underscored a rare event in Hollywood as the El Capitan Theatre was filled to capacity with the filmmaking community who showed up to support the greatest American movie of the 20th Century: “Citizen Kane.” Celebrating the 60th Anniversary year of the release of “Citizen Kane,” Warner Home Video and the American Film Institute presented a screening of “Kane” at the original premiere theater, the El Capitan in Hollywood. (WHV will release a special two-disc DVD of what is felt to be the greatest film ever made on September 25.)
Warner Home Video and the AFI celebrated the DVD debut of “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ classic motion picture, by recreating the film’s actual premiere at the El Capitan Theatre just as it took place 60 years ago on May 9, 1941.
In addition, they erected TV monitors so guests could hear the President’s address, and special areas were set up to facilitate guests making contributions to the American Red Cross. Soprano Heather Henderson led the audience in “America, the Beautiful.”
Earlier, the evening’s hosts noted that what has been made abundantly clear by everyone from President Bush to Mayor Giuliani is the need for all Americans to help reinforce the resiliency of the American spirit. In that vein, it was decided to proceed with the “Citizen Kane” event as planned.
Stated one executive, “As America is synonymous with cinema, the screening of ‘Citizen Kane,’ AFI’s # 1 Movie of All Time, highlights the uniqueness of the American motion picture and is a symbol of our creativity and expression.”
Attending were celebrity look-alikes Bette Davis (“Dark Victory”), James Stewart (“Philadelphia Story”), Clark Gable (“Gone With the Wind”), Mae West (“She Done Him Wrong”), and real-life celebrities Robert Wise (Oscar-winning director who edited “Citizen Kane”), Peter Bogdanovich (director and Welles biographer who did commentary on the DVD), Elliott Gould (“M*A*S*H”), Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple”), Alan Thicke (“Growing Pains”), Sasha Alexander (“Dawson’s Creek”), Samaire Armstrong (“Not Another Teen Movie”), Traci Bingham (“Baywatch”) and Joel Klug & Dirk Been (“Survivor”).
These stars from the past and present arrived in antique cars at the theatre and walked the red carpet under a replica of the original marquee. The themed party was decorated with all the ’40s glitz and glamour to recreate the premiere event at the place where it all began.
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