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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 10:32 GMT
Welles' daughter sues over film rights
Orson Welles in Citizen Kane
Welles' film was regarded as a milestone achievement
The daughter of actor, writer and director Orson Welles has filed a lawsuit claiming she owns the rights to her father's classic film Citizen Kane.

Beatrice Welles is seeking a ruling on an agreement she said her father signed, giving him the rights to the landmark 1941 movie.

Ms Welles is suing Turner Entertainment Co and RKO Pictures in a case being heard at the US district court in San Francisco.

Citizen Kane, which chronicles the rise and fall of a powerful newspaper tycoon, is widely regarded as a cinema masterpiece.

Orson Welles
Welles was 25 when he created his masterpiece
Ms Welles said her father entered into a contract in 1939 to write, produce and star in Citizen Kane and his 1942 movie The Magnificent Ambersons.

According to the lawsuit, a later agreement made between Welles and RKO in 1944 terminated the earlier contract and restored the copyrights to Welles.

Ms Welles wants the court to rule on which of the contracts applies.

She contends that if the 1944 agreement stands, her father's heirs own the rights to both movies.

However, if the earlier contract is in force the family is contractually entitled to 20% of the films' profits, the lawsuit claims.

In this instance, it argues, the defendants have failed to pay royalties.

Citizen Kane stunned film critics when it arrived in cinemas.

Technical tricks

For its time it was considered a work of genius, employing a string of previously unknown technical tricks.

They included mock-documentary footage, first person camerawork, the ageing of cast members and overlapping dialogue.

Welles starred in the film as well as writing and directing it at just 25 years of age.

He demanded full creative control, scaring studio bosses and ensuring he was persecuted for the rest of his career.

See also:

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