The Battle Over Citizen Kane Movie Review

In case your cinematic history only extends as far as the first American Pie, you might be surprised to learn that Citizen Kane is based on the life and times of William Randolph Hearst. Of course, if you didn't know that, you wouldn't know who Hearst was anyway, so you might as well quit reading this, turn off your computer, and get back to your reality TV programming.

In this two-hour documentary, made for PBS and feeling a lot like... it was made for PBS, there's surprisingly little content germane to its title. Mostly, the film talks about the life of Hearst and the life of Orson Welles, separately. It isn't until the last half-hour when Citizen Kane is actually made and discussed, particularly as it relates to Hearst's hatred of it. And rightly so -- Welles was skewering the media magnate in the film; who could blame him for doing everything in his power to stop its release?

Alas, the abuse of that power gets surprisingly little play here. Instead, the same stock shots of San Simeon's building, Kane's opening night, and highlight scenes from the movie itself are shown over and over. Sure, it's nice to get insight from some of the original actors in the film as well as co-writer Herman Mankiewicz's son, Frank. But even RKO 281, the recent docudrama about the making of Kane, is just as apt at getting across the point that Hearst hated Welles.

Packed with Citizen Kane on the Citizen Kane DVD.

Comments

The Battle Over Citizen Kane Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 1996

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