It’s hard to overstate the influence Citizen Kane has had on cinema. From its innovative story structure to cinematographer Gregg Toland’s artful visuals, the entire film is a masterpiece that’s as impressive as any contemporary film released by the likes of Scorsese or Tarantino. With that in mind, though, did you know Kane actually had a surprising influence on a key location in the Harry Potter movies?
Specifically, when David Yates was making Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 he and his production designer Stuart Craig based Malfoy Manor – the house where Voldemort and the Death Eaters hang out – on Kane’s impressive estate Xanadu.
“David Yates and I looked at Citizen Kane and referenced the huge muscular architecture [of Xanadu],” Craig said in a behind-the-scenes featurette. “[We] realized that was the way forward and Malfoy manor is, in fact, an example of that muscular architecture and how it was used to be as intimidating as possible.”
Anyone who’s seen the best movie ever made, Citizen Kane (yes we know it’s a cliche and no, we don’t care), will know just how intimidating Xanadu is. Described as the world’s largest private estate in the world, the entire castle is a monument to Kane’s significant ego which reflects the Malfoy family’s own arrogance.
Still, the parallels don’t end there. Like Kane, the Malfoy Family start the story exceptionally smug, convinced of their own superiority, and wielding significant political power (hell, Kane even supports Hitler, just like the Malfoys support the Harry Potter villain Voldemort).
Still, anyone who’s watched the Harry Potter movies in order will know that ultimately Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco are humbled and their power fades just as Kane ends the film a broken recluse.
If you’re looking for more cool stories about Citizen Kane, then why not read about Xanadu’s hidden dinosaurs? We’ve also written about why the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child movie needs to be a gay romance to succeed and done breakdowns on a number of Harry Potter characters including Hagrid, Severus Snape, Dumbledore, and Sirius Black.