Never mind where it stands on its Rotten Tomatoes listing: we look at whether Citizen Kane has animated dinosaurs in it.

Spoilers lie ahead for Citizen Kane.

Citizen Kane no longer has a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and that appears to be the big story in the film world at the moment. Does it matter? Really? Well, here’s an alternative Citizen Kane talking point for you: Does Orson Welles’ film contain animated pterodactyls?

Here’s the shot in question, from the picnic flashback.

The frequently repeated claim is that this shot uses old FX from Son Of Kong, recycled pterodactyl animation that was re-matted into the footage shot for Kane. That actually sounds like a trickier job than would have been worth it.

The pterodactyl claim is rather widespread online, but so is the story that King Kong‘s spider-pit sequence was cut after test screenings for being too scary and that story just cannot be substantiated at all. These Kong boys are magnets for misinformation, it seems.

Here’s one shot from Son Of Kong that features pterodactyls. I think there’s just one more.

Go ahead and come to your own conclusion, but I remain completely sceptical. Those look quite distinct from the Kane FX to me – indeed, I’m not entirely sure they were animated using similar techniques in the first place, let alone being the same frames. I think I’d file this story in the pantheon of ‘dodgy movie background urban myths’ alongside the didn’t-happen The Wizard Of Oz suicide.

What is true is that more Kong movies are on the way, and Adam Wingard might be planning some kind of Son Of Kong do-over as the next one. If I were Wingard, I’d do everything in my power to get the animated birds from Kane into that movie somewhere.

Both Citizen Kane and King Kong are streaming on the BBC iPlayer right now. Son Of Kong, sadly, is not.


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