Citizen Kane

"Essential"

Citizen Kane Review


I first watched Citizen Kane in 1997. For me 1997 was the year I actually buckled down and decided that I wanted to be a critic, and that I had better take this job seriously. With that in my mind, I switched my focus from new releases to retrospectives, designing myself to be able to do what I had at first loathed in critics: make obscure references to movies I had never heard of.

As a point of fact, when I actually got into the business I heard of those movies. And I heard more about those movies. And more. And, when the AFI named Citizen Kane as the best film of all time, I decided that it might just be a good idea to see it.

I do not regret that choice.

Citizen Kane, as described by Welles himself, is the story of a man who gains the world and loses his soul (and based on the life and times of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst). In addition to being the first great independent movie, Citizen Kane is the first great character drama.

The character drama always uses some minor plot as fodder for the psychological action, and, in Citizen Kane's case, it is the search for the meaning of Kane's last words "Rosebud." One reporter, in a quest to unearth the truth about this, ends up unearthing the darker side of Kane.

The movie is told throughout flashbacks, each one done from a different character's viewpoint. In the cinematography of the film, each character's viewpoint is subtly inserted. An example of this is the bright lighting on Kane's face as he is first met by one of his wives (a singer), and the incredible shadow that falls on it when the divorce is decided.

On the offc hance that you do not already know, I will not tell you what Rosebud is. All I will say is this: that when you finally are greeted with Rosebud, you understand Kane. In the process of understanding Kane, you understand the thought of unhappy successful men: that they would give all of their fortune up for the one thing that makes them happy.

Editor's Note: Released at long last on a collector's edition DVD, Citizen Kane features two commentary tracks. The first is not really notable, courtesy of Peter Bogdanovich, a famous director and a friend of Welles, delivered in what sounds like a stoned daze. The second is just the opposite, an animated narrative from Roger Ebert. Ebert's knowledge of the film is enormously vast, and he spews all of it out over the two hours during which the movie runs. While it's a bit much (with Ebert telling us every single scene that has low ceilings, oversized furniture, deep focus, and matte paintings), it does manage to increase your appreciation of the film from both a technical and a thematic standpoint. I've seen the movie a dozen times and I learned so much from this track that it might be something I'll have to listen to again.

The DVD also includes tons of extras detailing the deleted scenes in the film, trailers, newsreels, ad campaigns, and more. Also included is the documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane, on a separate disc, which is reviewed separately on filmcritic.com.

All the news that's fit to stand upon.



Citizen Kane

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th September 1941

Box Office Worldwide: $23.2M

Budget: $839.7 thousand

Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures

Production compaines: RKO Radio Pictures, Mercury Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 67

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Charles Foster Kane, as Jerry Thompson, as Jedediah Leland, as Mutter, as Emily Norton Kane, as Mr. Bernstein, as Mr. Thatcher, as Susan Alexander Kane, Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston, Buddy Swan as Kane als Kind, as Raymond, as Kane's Father, as James W. Gettys, as Mr. Bernstein, Fortunio Bonanova as Matiste, Gus Schilling as The Headwaiter, as Miss Anderson, Sonny Bupp as Kane III, Don Ackerman as Man at Party in Everglades (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.