Its director, star, and producer were all the same genius individual - Orson Welles in his film debut at age 25! Mankiewicz on the script and also with an uncredited John Housemanand with Gregg Toland as his talented cinematographer.
Is it the best film ever made? For years, I have avoided writing a review of this movie, intimidated perhaps by its immense reputation. Having missed the fiftieth anniversary revival, I had only seen Citizen Kane on the small screen, and it didn't seem right somehow to discuss a picture of this magnitude without viewing it at least once in the manner originally envisioned.
Well, some five years after I started writing reviews, the opportunity arose at a small film festival. This review is the result of that screening. Citizen Kane has been lauded as the greatest motion picture to come out of America during the black-and-white era or any era, for that matter.
It also represents the pinnacle of Orson Welles' film making career. For, although Welles lived for more than forty years following the release of Kane, he never succeeded in recapturing the brilliance or fulfilling the promise of his first feature.
Some maintain that his cut of The Magnificent Ambersons was more powerful, but the studio took the film away from him, slashing more than 40 minutes of footage. And, while Welles' Shakespeare movies and A Touch of Evil contain elements of brilliance, they are not on the same level as Kane.
The movie opens with an unforgettable image of a distant, fog-shrouded castle on a hill. It's a classic gothic shot, and goes a long way towards establishing Citizen Kane's mood.
We quickly learn that this place, called Xanadu, is the dwelling of America's Kubla Khan, Charles Foster Kane Wellesa one-time newspaper magnate who could have become President if not for an ill-advised extramarital affair.
Xanadu, in the words of the faux newsreel that gives a brief history of Kane's life, is the "costliest monument of a man to himself. Within moments of the film's eerie, visually-stunning opening, Kane is dead, uttering the word "Rosebud" as he hunches over.
His death, like his life, is a big news event, and the paper he owned, the New York Inquirer, is desperate to unearth the meaning of his cryptic last word.
Is it a woman he bedded? A horse he bet on? Some long-lost, unrequited love? The truth, which isn't revealed until the closing scene, represents one of the all-time greatest motion picture ironies, and leads us to believe that, on some level, Kane regretted not having led a simple, quiet life.
After showing Kane's death, Citizen Kane presents a ten-minute "newsreel" that details the man's larger-than-life accomplishments. Then, as a reporter William Alland from the Inquirer digs into Kane's past to learn the meaning of Rosebud, the mogul's history is unraveled through a series of extended flashbacks that represent the sometimes-overlapping, non- chronological accounts of five eyewitnesses.
As the story unfolds, we see Kane, aided by his closest friend, Jedediah Leland Joseph Cottonbuild a nationwide newspaper empire out of one small paper with a circulation of less than 30, To do so, he displays equal parts ruthlessness and generosity, willing to lose 1, dollars a year to win the circulation wars.
His New York Inquirer specializes in bold, splashy headlines that don't necessarily represent the truth. By the time he marries Emily Norton Ruth Warrickthe President's niece, Kane is one of the most powerful men in America -- a public giant with designs on the White House.
Eventually, Kane moves into the political arena, but his bid for the governor's office crashes and burns when his rival, Boss Jim Gettys Ray Collinsexposes Kane's affair with Susan Alexander Dorothy Comingore. Following this failure, Kane divorces his first wife, marries Susan, then goes into seclusion in his unfinished palace of Xanadu.
As the years pass, he becomes progressively more bitter and less approachable, until Susan, weary of Xanadu's isolation, leaves him. Alone and unloved, Kane awaits the inescapable hand of death.
The script for Citizen Kane, written by Herman J. Mankiewicz with an assist from Wellesis a thinly-disguised fictional biography of publishing king William Randolph Hearst, who was 76 years old when the movie came out in And, while Hearst was offended by Welles' characterization of him, he was supposedly more angered by Kane's unflattering portrayal of his beloved mistress, Marion Davies who is represented in the film by Susan Alexander.
To add insult to injury, "Rosebud" was allegedly Hearst's pet name for Marion's private parts. Kane is not, however, all Hearst. There's more than a little Welles in the character, and, when one examines the direction the film maker's life took after Kane, the similarities become more obvious.
After peaking with Kane, Welles began an slow-but-inevitable descent into isolation, eventually dying of a heart attack in Like Kane, he was a vital, passionate figure in youth, but a sad, pathetic one at the end. Who can forget the Paul Masson commercials? In retrospect, Kane can be viewed as being as much a representation of Welles as of Hearst.
Back inHearst exerted his considerable power and influence to destroy Citizen Kane before it opened.Citizen Kane (deutsch: „Bürger Kane“) ist ein Filmdrama des US-amerikanischen Regisseurs Orson Welles aus dem Jahr Bei seiner Erstveröffentlichung war der Film ein Flop und wurde heftig kritisiert.
Heute gilt er als Meilenstein der Kinogeschichte und als einer der innovativsten Filme, die je produziert wurden. Orson Welles: Orson Welles, American film actor, director, producer, and writer whose classic Citizen Kane () is known for its innovative narrative techniques and its use of photography, dramatic lighting, and music to further the dramatic line.
Learn more about Welles’s life and career. Nov 23, · Even people who have never seen Citizen Kane know it's the greatest film of all time. Orson Welles' debut has become an undisputed cultural benchmark — the celluloid equivalent of 5/5. Directed by Orson Welles.
With Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead. Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. A version of this review appears in print on May 2, of the National edition with the headline: Orson Welles's Controversial 'Citizen Kane' Proves a Sensational Film at Palace -- 'That.
This review is for the two disc set of Orson Welles masterpiece Citizen Kane, which has endlessly (and rightfully) been called the greatest film ever made.