One of the most influential, innovative movies of cinema history, Orson Welles' masterpiece, Citizen Kane, was his first full-length film (he had previously directed two short films). Welles originally based the movie's main character, Charles Foster Kane (also played by Welles), after Hollywood tycoon and aerospace mogul Howard Hughes. However, Welles later changes his mind, and based the main character after newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Released in 1941, Citizen Kane was before its time, making huge innovations in the means of camera angles, shots, acting, and directing.
Probably the most influential and still commonly used innovation today in the biz is the use of deep focus camera shooting. Experimented and tested by famous cinematographer Gregg Toland, deep focus was used in almost the entire movie. The use of telephoto lenses in the making of Citizen Kane proved to be ideal for taking shots, where the main focus of a shot was on a close-up, inanimate object, such as a flower vase on a table, while still capturing the real action going on in the background. An example of this would be evident when Kane and a man break into the room of an attempted suicide by his second wife, Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore). The breaking in is done in the background, where simultaneously a medicine bottle and a glass with a spoon in it are up close in the foreground.
Inventive and experimental, Welles' masterpiece has gone done in cinema history as one of the greatest movies of all time. Utilizing new experimental camera shots, Citizen Kane paved the way for movies to become more creative, and even artsy. Orson Welles received an Academy Award for writing the script, along with coauthor, Herman J. Mankiewicz, of his famous picture, and was also nominated for eight more.