Herman Jacob Mankiewicz was an American screenwriter, who, with Orson Welles, wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane. Earlier, he was the Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the drama critic for The New York Times and The New Yorker. Alexander Woollcott, said that Herman Mankiewicz was the "funniest man in New York". Both Mankiewicz and Welles received Academy Awards for their screenplay. It was the only award Citizen Kane received.
He was often asked to fix the screenplays of other writers, with much of his work uncredited. What distinguished his writing from that of other writers were occasional flashes of the "Mankiewicz humor" and satire that became valued in the films of the 1930s. That style of writing included a slick, satirical, and witty humor, which depended almost totally on dialogue to carry the film. It was a style that would become associated with the "typical American film" of that period.
Film author Pauline Kael credits Mankiewicz with having written, alone or with others, "about forty of the films I remember best from the twenties and thirties," adding, "I hadn't realized how extensive his career was. . . he was a key linking figure in just the kind of movies my friends and I loved best. These were the hardest-headed periods of American movies. Director and screenwriter Nunnally Johnson said that the "two most brilliant men he has ever known were George S. Kaufman and Herman Mankiewicz, and that Mankiewicz was the more brilliant of the two. ...[and] spearheaded the movement of that whole Broadway style of wisecracking, fast-talking, cynical-sentimental entertainment onto the national scene."