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Citizen Kane
Year:
1941
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Mystery
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Orson Welles
Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland
Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane
Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane
Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane
Ray Collins as James W. Gettys
Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter
Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein
William Alland as Jerry Thompson
Paul Stewart as Raymond
George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher
Fortunio Bonanova as Signor Matiste
Gus Schilling as The Headwaiter
Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus as Bertha Anderson
Storyline: A group of reporters are trying to decipher the last word ever spoken by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the top of the world.
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Reviews
Quite frankly the most intelligent film ever made
Citizen Kane is a marvelous piece of cinema. It transcends all efforts made before and after it. What we have here truly is the great American film. The black and white cinematography is to die for. Kane is by far the most visually appealing film ever made. I find something new in it's shadows with each viewing and it takes a really great film to offer that to a viewer. American movie making really owes it all to Kane. It really is the only film I can think of that fails to break into a sense of monotony.

And of course Welles' performance must be praised. Here we have a twenty six year old man fresh off of a lucrative stage career make a seamless transition into film. To see Charles Foster Kane is to see the perfection of characterization. There are no loose ends with this character he is wrapped perfectly. Of course he is a metaphor for the joys and evils of capitalism. We must ask and why did he become what he did? The great thing about Kane is that it still proposes questions that require answers.how

In each viewing of Kane I just think to myself what bias cinema come to? There was a time when motion picture making was a challenge and it meant something. Kane should be studied because it is a perfect film. It gives the viewer something to think about and yet offers dynamic characters. And to think the lobotomized masses of American cinema goers would rather be watching a Transformers film. Now there's a series I would care to forget about. I mean what kind of movie has stupid robots? And that isn't even the problem with those poor excuses for celluloid. Each film in that series is a blood curdling experience. I absolutely hate the parent characters and Shia whatever his name is. The racial stereotypes are offensive and the idea of a Transformer heaven where Shia goes to in the first sequel is beyond ridiculous. I mean come on! And what about that stupid government organization? Really? You expect me to believe that they were able to keep a giant robot within the Hoover dam without nobody knowing about it? Or how about the fact that they actually had the transformer ship crash into the moon? You might infer that some telescope would catch wind of it. And the actor they got to play John Kennedy in the beginning of the film was doing the worst stereotypical Massachusetts accent ever. Transformers is dumbing down America pure and simple. All it exists to do is sell toys to idiot kids. Michael Bay makes millions of dollars while Orson Welles was abandoned by the Hollywood system. Really! It infuriates me.
2011-10-08
Innovative, aggressive, and fascinating, "Citizen Kane" electrified a complacent industry…
"Citizen Kane" was a dazzling movie debut for Welles, a twenty-four-year-old infant terrible whose brilliant work for stage and radio had already made him famous…

RKO had given him carte blanche, and with the collaboration of writer Herman Mankiewicz and photographer Gregg Toland, he had produced a masterpiece…

"Citizen Kane" is the story of Charles Foster Kane, a rich young man who decides to build a newspaper empire and in doing so sacrifices his professed high ideals on the altar of yellow journalism… His personal, political ambitions are ruined when his extramarital liaison with a young singer becomes public knowledge and his efforts to make her an international opera star bring him nothing but ridicule… Having alienated his friends and wives and lost a good part of his fortune, Kane spends his last years alone in the enormous art-filled palace he has had created in Florida…

Told primarily in flashbacks, the film begins with Kane's death: after dropping a paperweight that simulates a snowfall when it is turned upside down, the old man whispers a single word, "Rosebud," and dies… Immediately a strident Mach-of-Time newsreel begins, reviewing the highlights of Kane's career as the camera had recorded them over the years… It is, however, an unsatisfactory record of a man's life, and a group of journalists decide to probe deeper in an attempt to discover the truth about Kane… Perhaps, they speculate, the word "Rosebud" offers a clue... Then ensues a series of interviews with the key people in Kane's life, each of whom relates the man's story as he or she knew it...

The portrait that eventually emerges is one of a grasping, vain, selfish, and ambitious man... "He never gave you anything," an old friend recalls bitterly, "he just left you a tip." In the film's final moments, workmen in Kane's palace are seen destroying unwanted junk… One of the items they toss into the furnace is a child's sled; as it burns, the word "Rosebud" can be seen painted on it…

The story of Charles Foster Kane is engrossing but not particularly profound… The movie is a superb piece of film-making, nonetheless, because the techniques employed, although not necessarily new, had never before been used together to such startling effect… Welles and Toland made brilliant use of deep-focus photography and of an arsenal of lighting effects…

In the course of the film, flashbulbs pop, spotlights play, the sun's rays pour down into darkened rooms, beams of light are emitted by a movie projector, lightning flashes, and smoke, fog shadows, rain, and snow all contribute to the almost tangible atmosphere… Quick, dramatic cuts occur throughout… In one famous sequence, Welles employs six fast scenes to portray the disintegration of Kane's first marriage: each shot shows Kane and his wife at the breakfast table, but in each they are clearly more estranged until, in the final shot, they sit in silence as she reads a rival newspaper…

Toland's constantly moving camera is somewhat obtrusive, but it is nevertheless mesmerizing… In the famous sequence at the opera house—the occasion of the second Mrs. Kane's disastrous debut—the camera shows the anguished vocal coach in the conductor's box and then moves upward to the flies, where one stagehand expresses his critical opinion of the performance by holding his nose… Welles' use of sound, ranging from thunder to a cockatoo's screech, reflects his experience in radio…

There had never been a picture like "Citizen Kane." It openly satirized a wealthy and powerful living American, it deliberately antagonized Hollywood's ruling elite, and it bravely ignored conventional cinema technique… Innovative, aggressive, and fascinating, "Citizen Kane" electrified a complacent industry… Welles dominated Kane… He had become, in a single stroke, the most admired, envied, praised and detested man in Hollywood… Unhappily, the movie industry never learned to utilize Welles' quixotic genius, and his career never rescaled the heights it had reached in 1941…
2005-08-11
CITIZEN KANE may let some people down, but it's still worth seeing.
It's a difficult undertaking for someone of my generation to watch a film like CITIZEN KANE. Not because it's "too old" or "too boring", but because it has been hailed--almost universally--as the single best motion picture ever made. And while the anticipation of seeing a film with such overwhelming acclaim may be quite exhilarating, actually watching it is ultimately an intimidating and somewhat disappointing experience.

This isn't to say that I thought CITIZEN KANE was a bad film; in fact, I thought everything about it was downright brilliant. From the enchanting performances right down to the meticulously planned camera movements and clever lighting tricks, there isn't a single element of CITIZEN KANE that isn't a stunning achievement in all areas of filmmaking.

CITIZEN KANE's storyline is deceptively simple. Even though the plot unfolds by jumping in and out of nonlinear flashbacks, it is surprisingly easy to keep track of. The straightforwardness and relatively fast pace of the story are what make it seem intimidating. Because everything moves smoothly along without any standstill, it feels like we are being fooled-like there is something much greater that we just can't seem to grasp. As a first-time viewer, I knew from its reputation that there must be *something* that separates this movie from all the others; something buried within its simple plotline that everybody else has seen, but that I just could not seem to get a handle on. And then, during those final frames, that something was revealed, and it all began to make sense. To me, it was these moments of confusion and uncertainty followed by a sense of enlightenment and appreciation that made watching CITIZEN KANE such a meaningful experience.

But no matter how great of a movie CITIZEN KANE really is, it can never live up to one's expectations. Although I do feel that it is deserving of its acclamation, the constant exposure to its six decades worth of hype and praise will invariably set most modern viewers' standards at a height that is virtually unreachable--even if it really *is* the best movie of all time.
2004-05-02
most important film of the 20th century
the reason this film is so revered is not because it is an outstanding story with awesome special effects and lots of guns n stuff. true, it is to be appreciated for its morals and storytelling, but if you look at how it was filmed and compare it to other movies of and before its time then you can really see just how impressive "Citizen Kane" is. It uses a lot of deep focus, which required a decent amount of skill and was an out-of-the-box thing to do. one indoor scene stands out particularly for its beauty and play with light. the only light coming into the room is natural sunlight streaming in to a dark, smoky room from small windows high on the wall. other scenes were shot from ground level, also an unusual way of filming. "Citizen Kane" is really different, really clever, and and excellent film to watch for those who appreciate more than just an interesting story.
2009-10-21
Listen to a crotchety old guy when he's talking at you, whippersnappers
Any (re)viewers who came away with negative impressions of Kane probably made the mistake of watching the film on video. You should never approach a classic film in anything but a proper movie theatre. Would you watch "2001" at home on a 14" screen? You would! Why? Watching 2001 on anything other than a full-size movie screen, or even better an IMAX screen, is a waste of time. Its grandeur cannot be appreciated under home conditions, pausing the film every 10 minutes to check on the laundry.

Citizen Kane has a lot more plot than 2001, but the problem is the same. Everything that's daring and exciting about the direction -- the crazy camera angles, the freakish tracking shots, the wildly imaginative changes in mood and lighting -- you don't get anything of that on a tiny screen. All you get at home are the clever plot, brilliant dialogue, and great performances, but even so I find Kane boring at home too. Oh, and don't forget the subversive assault on the necessarily irresponsible use of corporate power. Off hand, I can't think of a single Welles film that works on a TV screen. Well, maybe Touch of Evil, since it's so heavily plotted. But with Ambersons, Lady From Shanghai, The Trial, Chimes At Midnight, to cite just a few quickly, you're just ruining it for yourself getting your first exposure at home.

There's a second-run movie theatre somewhere near you that needs your support and probably shows nice, scratchy prints of Kane, exactly the kind that everyone who loves Kane saw their first time.

I'm one of the people who thinks the AFI list is a bad joke which can safely be ignored. By accident, some great films did manage to wind up on the list. Citizen Kane is one of them.

As our Neapolitan compatriot, who most graciously excluded his own country's Ladri di biciclette from consideration, says, Citizen Kane is "il più grande film della storia del Cinema". I think it's the greatest in cinematic history as well. Yeah, and it's boring at home.
1998-10-18
'It's Terrific'
You must have come across many hoardings describing 'Citizen Kane' to be the greatest cinematic experience ever.Initially,I laughed at it as I knew that it was a box-office disaster and how on earth could it be the best film ever?

But out of curiosity I wanted to watch this movie.And guess what?It's terrific.I have never come across a movie which was technically brilliant in every department other than this.This movie deserves a top spot on every movie list just for its sheer brilliance and the execution.

Orson Welles has acted,co-written as well as directed 'Citizen Kane' and I truly believe that no other actor could have done more justice to the role of Charles Foster Kane because Orson is 'Kane' personified.It is a masterpiece in terms of film-making and will be cherished for years to come.
2009-08-14
An example of excellent visual storytelling
Mysterious - art house classic. The idea of Citizen Kane is interesting in itself, but the presentation exceeds the idea. Citizen Kane perfectly presents flashbacks, witnessing Charles Foster Kane's childhood, his rise and fall from power, the more time passes through the film,the more depth is added, a circular structure. Citizen Kane is surrounded by a cloud of mystery, the mystery seemingly building up to something great. Citizen Kane is mostly told visually, doing so, better than words ever could. Citizen Kane is a rich experience, and all its detail adds up to what Welles is succeeding in telling you about themes of the movie: power, human frailty, the circumstances that make a mere man into something bigger, the men who shapes their own times, and the problems that men like this will have in life as they interact with normal mortals.

Visually impressive, still to this day. It has plenty of exceedingly long takes, making it much more immersive. Citizen Kane was innovative, such as, it didn't go in for close ups on characters' faces to show emotion, Orson Welles allows the audience to choose what they want to watch within the frame. With this kind of filmmaking, it's very clear what the characters are thinking and feeling as it's being shown right in front of you, doing so, Orson Welles chose to give the audience more freedom - he respected the audiences' intelligence. Citizen Kane is one of the most effective films when it comes to film studies, as it's pretty much an entire film studies course in the space of 2 hours. Citizen Kane has a lot of visual symbolism, much of its visual symbolism has been for me quite enjoyable analysing. It doesn't depend on the visual symbolism, rather its visual storytelling, every shot is filled with all these little meaningful stylistic touches that add to the story, ''telling more than a thousand words.''

Bernard Herrmann's score is in my opinion, not anything special, though it still fits the mystery and pace of Citizen Kane. Welles, himself, would often edit the film to fit the rhythm or length of Herrmann's compositions, which can be seen in such scenes as background music whilst Thompson reads the Thatcher papers is reminiscent of the slow unrelenting tick of a clock.

Orson Welles perfectly portrays and captures the spirit of Charles Foster Kane, as a young man, and he even delivers a convincing performance as an old empty man. The rest of the cast are passable, as there are no other stand out performances than Orson Welles' character, Kane.

Recommended for both film buffs and the mainstream movie goer, even people whom like classic theatre or great novels of high rank. The story's pace is pretty fast forward, though some scenes may feel slow compared to modern movies. Some may find it boring, a lot of mixed thoughts on it, from my friends, whom I've seen it with. I, myself love this movie, it has this mystery laying around it, where the end, at first viewing left me silent, thinking over it - I love such endings!
2016-03-09
Timeless
It never gets old. I remember I first watched it back in 2008, and I was mesmerized, it sucked me in like Star Wars did when I was seven. It never ceases to be entertaining and fun, and yet Kane is such a sad character. Seen only from the perspectives of his friends after his death and from the cold machinery of a newsreel, no one really knows Kane, and sadly not even Kane himself, who after being second-guessed out of his childhood and subsequently second-guessing himself throughout life in search of his new stage or "snowglobe" in which to play, finds himself gazing through his own void, in pain and depression, with only the frozen memory of his happiness uttered in eternity through the walls of his palace in a single word. Through greed and misanthropy disguised in benevolent intentions Kane finds himself in a prison of things and empty halls, all new toys he acquired and just as hastily discarded, still a child when he played newspaper man, collecting his statues like action figures, all more things to fill the empty void in his life. When the one person he comes close to loving, Susan Alexander, leaves him, he no longer has anything to cling to and so destroys himself and lives a life of regret and longing. Susan Alexander is the only one who might have got through cage and saved him, someone who knew nothing of his reputation but just liked him for a night, but he imprisons her too like a pet.

The film shows the effect Kane's lifelong self-destruction has on others, particularly Susan Alexander who ends up depressed and alone, and Jed Leland (Joseph Cotten is great as always) the cynic who sees through Kane's glib charm for what he is.

I can relate to Kane, he's a very human character I think many can relate to. He may have had a way out of his pain with Susan Alexander, but it never happened, the damage was done early on. He was taken away from his sled and into the care of a cold, serious, heartless man upon discovery of gold on his mother's land. His mother seemed very attached and maybe he wanted to be perfect in his mother's eyes too, Leland mentioned that he loved his mother.

In the end it seems there is catharsis for Kane, as all his possessions are burned and his precious sled too, the truth of his famous last word incinerated forever into the atmosphere. It's very powerful and striking to see all the worth of this man's life turned into black smoke. The imagery in the film is striking and the way it's filmed too. Seeing Kane walk through a hall of mirrored reflections really makes me you feel his loneliness visually, and that's what cinema is all about.

Citizen Kane is held up on a pedestal, and much has been and written about it, but beyond the huge importance it has in film history, it's just a really entertaining, fun classic that anyone can watch and enjoy and relate to, not just film buffs, and that's why it's so fondly remembered.
2016-01-03
A must film for any film maker
There's something worth stealing from Citizen Kane if you're a film maker. What else can you say about this film except for it being the greatest gift one can give to the film industry. Having it have been a box office bomb when it opened in LA in the 1940's only adds to the films greatness. Citizen Kane was before its time and still remains today a movie marvel. There is not a single film school in the World that will not show this film at least twice to its students. A perfect film to watch and discuss for the entire class period. Citizen Kane has more examples of modern movie making than any other film made before or after.
2001-04-15
Overrated
I was reading the list of the top movies one evening on the AFI, and I saw this movie was #1 American Film. So I decided I would rent it and I saw it today. I was expecting to be blown away and this would be the best movie I would ever see. Well was I in for a surprise.

This movie is by far one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life. The worst would have to be Zigfield Follies but this comes pretty close. I do like and enjoy classic films. I don't care if a movie is in B&W either. But this movie is just dated, and I don't see what the hype is about. This movie is just 100% overrated. I am someone who can sit through movies but this one I got bored of.

I thought maybe it was because I got interrupted in the beginning of the film, and maybe it would get better later on. Well it just kept dragging. So I got to basically the last 36min of the film and had to just turn it off. So a few hours later I figured I would try to watch it again, but I couldn't even watch 5min. I just went to the last 10min of the movie and was disappointed.

All I can say is watch this movie at your own risk, and I hope you enjoy it more then me. Seeing the reviews on here I feel good I am not the only person who didn't enjoy it.
2007-07-11
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