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Drama, Mystery
IMDB rating:
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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I don't know why this movie is such a classic. It sucks.
I watched Citizen Kane because it was a classic and everybody said it was one of those movies you have to see. I'll tell you a secret. You don't have to see it. It uses a very cheep device to provide suspense if you want to call it that, we are waiting to find out what Kane meant by his final word on his deathbed: "rosebud." The plot is thin tedious and the end was about the most anticlimactic a movie ending could be. I think it was summed up best in an episode of the TV series Family Guy, when Peter Griffin says, "It was his sled from when he was a kid. There I just saved you from two long, boob-less hours." I wish I had seen that episode before I watched the movie.
surprised and disappointed
If you consider just the content, then all this movie does is make the following point: Charles Foster Kane wanted to be big and important to all American people, however he had nothing to give, he just had a lot of money. I should rather say that the movie hammers this point home, since the above point is stated explicitly by Kane's best friend and by his second wife (and probably one other person, I didn't want to take the time to check). Just in case you wouldn't get the message.

This movie is in my opinion crude and simplistic. We are dragged through the life of Kane at high speed. The movie doesn't flow naturally, there is no real development. It feels like nothing happens, you just get a single idea pushed down your throat. Throughout the movie there is the same atmosphere of doom and of emptiness. Even as a young man Kane is not an idealist. None of the characters is given any depth, there is no one you can identify yourself with or sympathise with.

The only quality of the movie lies in the camera work, the tricks with the lighting and the music. This should make it interesting for movie directors and people interested in the technical side of film making. I suppose it's is interesting to see how Welles manages to create a certain atmosphere in this way, but since it is always the same atmosphere, this is in my opinion rather limited.

I cannot possibly understand why this is considered the best movie ever made. The only (unsatisfactory) possible explanation I could come up with was: a) The average person is far more visual than me, or easier satisfied with single impressions, b) People like to parrot the "experts".
This? Boring?
Citizen Kane was the first movie I watched from the pre-war era, and maybe because I kept comparing other movies to this is why I couldn't appreciate some movies the way I liked this. Why's citizen kane this good? Because it has actual thematics even today. The whole movie is a sort of mockumentary/fake biopic of a multi-billionaire and some of the events in his life, a sort of a hunt for the scoop made by a journalist. The way the movie's plot is built is just great. Without counting the cinematographic pros that citizen kane has every other aspect was just great. To those who claim that they're cinephiles yet affirm that they got bored while watching this and fell asleep.... This film is much less slow than any Tarkovskij film, what would happen to them if they watched a Tarkovskij film? Like, they fall asleep at the opening credits?
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!
It's more than just a great looking movie.
What makes a great film? In my opinion it is the following:

#1.Photography (most important because it IS a film. If it's shot badly, then your skrood.) NOTE: I consider the best filmmakers to be great cinematographers first, such as Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Etc.

#2. Directing/Editing (I lump the two together because the director really edits what is going on while it's being filmed, then finishes the process in the cutting room)

#3. Acting (If we can't believe the people, we've lost it. But, bad acting can be corrected in the cutting room, and with multiple takes).

#4. Sound and Music (If what we hear doesn't fit, the movie might as well be silent).

Now, this is all well and good for a movie that tells a great story. Add to that a serious dose of style, ingenuity, and passion, all of which can be found in each frame of Citizen Kane.

Citizen Kane isn't just a great movie with great characters, a great cast, great music from Bernard Herrmann or great photography. At the time of its creation it was like a cannon shot from the camp of RKO at the media moguls who were dominating the minds of people at the time.

This message was not only important to the American public who had a right to objective journalism, but also because we were seeing the affects of divisiveness over the airwaves thanks to Hitler, and the power that comes from shaping the perceptions of the masses needed to be acknowledged from a semi-fictional standpoint, and Wells did it with so much energy and style you can't help but admire this work even 60+ years later. Citizen Kane shook the rafters of the media, and even though they played it down, everybody at the time was feeling the quake.

Above all else, Citizen Kane tells the story of a man who is a victim of his own success, a story that can never be told enough.

When you see Citizen Kane, you're not just watching a well made film, you're watching a piece of art, a piece of history, and a timeless story of how power corrupts.

Citizen for all Ages
What do you say about a movie more analysed than is enjoyed, more envied and despised than any other piece of cinema: well documented for its perceived portrayal of William Randolph Hearst, and his efforts to have it destroyed....It has survived and now stands at number one on the AFI's top 100 list, for a movie that didn't even win the Oscar for its year of release.

What can you say about the cinematography and direction and acting, that hasn't already been said? The lighting, the camera angles, the new visual techniques and trick photography used for the first time in an American movie to great effect. Special mention has to go to the acting of a 25 year old Orson Welles, an aspect the least highlighted.

The grand-daddy of the American Soap Opera, it tells the life of Charles Foster Kane, from his humble beginnings, his mother's giving him up to a wealthy guardian, and his building of a newspaper/radio empire. It sees Kane go from an idealistic journalist to a powerful mogul able to manipulate history through his media empire.

Despite all his money and power, Kane is not immune to the hand of destiny, and oh how she slaps Kane the old American way. A married Kane is caught through pure "innocence" with a "singer" and a scandal erupts, costing Kane the state governorship; you can guess the instigator of the scandal-mongering: the incumbent governor.

In the first part of the movie, we see a Kane adored by the public and employees but we don't see the reason why his relationship with his wife deteriorated, shown in a powerful film sequence of spouses drifting apart through the years. In the second part we see his relationship with the "singer" whom he took as his second wife, and how he uses her to try and manipulate public opinion of himself, just as he had used the media empire previously. The only problem is that his second wife isn't as competent as the media empire was in gaining respect or adoration; she is just terrible as an opera singer. But Kane wants to prove to the public that the "singer" who he was caught with, was more than "whore" and that he had the power to shape public opinion; she even told kane that she didn't want to be a singer. It is the cruelest thing any man could have done to another human being; manipulated for his own ends. William Randolph Hearst was said to have been less angry about his own portrayal than that of his mistress, Marion Davies.

The movie broke new grounds for cinema also, in its story-telling: we see first the death of a recluse Kane in his old age, and then there are flashbacks from newsreels and investigations and interviews of reporters piecing together the life of Charles Foster Kane and his dying word "rosebud".

The reporters never found out what his dying word meant, but the audience is shown what it "is". No single word can describe a man's life after all, so what does it mean??? lost childhood innocence and happiness??

This movie bred a bunch of copycats like "The Carpetbaggers" and "Valley of the Dolls", and inspired the great TV soapies like Dallas and Dynasty. Many other movies from different genres have copied and perhpas bettered the camera work and lighting and yet this movie has stood up well through the 60 years from its sheer brilliance and originality.

Despite its greatness, Citizen Kane seems to have taken some victims along the way. At age 25, Orson Welles starred, wrote and directed his masterpiece, but because of various reasons, political, envy, hatred, he was never able to match it. The other victim seems to have been Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander, mirroring the career of Marilyn Monroe who came after her.

A great movie thats stood the test of time. See it for what it is: a fantastic piece of story-telling firstly, only then can you see its greatness.
Why the viewers of Citizen Kane are an essential part of the film
Famously in the film Citizen Kane the title character Charles Foster Kane dies in his bed, muttering "Rosebud" and dropping a snow globe, without anybody other than Kane being visible in the room. Yet the whole film is based on the premise that "Rosebud" was Kane's last word and a reporter tries to find out the meaning of the word by interviewing people who knew him. So how could he do this if nobody heard him say the word? Towards the end of the film the butler claims that he was in the room when Kane died. We never saw him in the bedroom but not the whole room was shown to us, so it is very much possible. But why is it that he wasn't shown to us being in the room when Kane died? Given how extremely well thought through the film is it is more than likely that this wasn't only done intentionally, but with a purpose.

The film mostly is told to us (quite literally) from a subjective point of view and through opinions of people who knew Charles Foster Kane. And Kane was a different kind of person depending on who told the story. A main message of the film - so to speak - is that there is no actual picture of a person, there are just many different fragmented pictures of which none are true or false.

In the very first scene of the film we see a sign that says "No Trespassing". This sort of makes us the intruders to Xanadu and to Kane's life. The camera goes through his garden around the castle leading into the castle. So in the beginning we, like, become another one of those subjective witnesses who try to get the "full picture" and who eventually will form an opinion about this person. And to include the viewer into this bunch of unreliable witnesses and to manifest the concept that we are in the same position as all of those characters who told us THEIR story of Kane's life, the viewer obviously (for now) is the only witness to the first act of 'Citizen Kane' and the last chapter of Kane's life. It is this very event that gets the stone rolling. It makes us a witness and now the investigation of Kane's past life can begin.

Now if you think of the interviewer/reporter who asks the people for Kane's story, we mostly see him from behind with the camera looking over his shoulders. Or he is obscured by shadows, a hat and (observating) glasses. Often he simply is off-screen altogether and we apparently are the interviewees' only listeners. The poor man is pretty much faceless. One could say that the interviewer, who never is fleshed out as a character - if you can even call him a character with an own identity - is taking the position of the viewer who witnessed his last word and who wants to find out what it means.

You could look at it as an inside joke by Welles, that the very premise of the film is based on what initially looks like a goof. He waits until the last interview to tell us that the butler was actually in the room to witness the word, and now the film doesn't need us as witnesses anymore. We are done being witnesses, as now we have created our own individual image of Charles Foster Kane in our mind, based on everything we saw and heard. Maybe soon another viewer will trespass the the barriers of Xanadu, wondering who this man was. And this time he will walk up to us and ask us who Charles Foster Kane was, and we will be glad to tell him.
A lot less heavy than I expected
I went into this knowing of its great reputation, but fearing it would be very slow and boring with a lot of dialogue and a heavy 'moral message'. Although it did have an underlying message (and a very strong and well made one too), the film wasn't at all what I expected; the camera work and music in particular livened it up, and at times it was quite light hearted. I think this helped make the emotional scenes all the more powerful. It kept me gripped all the way, and I don't have a long attention span. The acting throughout is superb, with very little of the overacting that you might expect from this period, with Welles in particular giving an outstanding performance in the lead role. My advice is give it a try, even if you think it's not your type of film.
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.
i hate to say this but i was underwhelmed by this movie
OK,i'm certain i'm in the minority here,but whatever.i did not like Citizen Kane.first off,i didn't think it was profound at all.i also didn't think the look of the film was that great.many people say it has a great visual style,but i disagree this movie is number one all time on some lists is beyond say this movie was a drag is understating things.there was and is too much hype for this it's directed by and stars Orson Welles.even worse is Welles is widely regarded as a genius as a result.big hairy deal.i was bored out of my skull.considering this movie is considered sacred and any negative comment is blasphemy,i'm glad nobody knows where i live,otherwise i fear i may be hunted down and killed.not too many people are likely to pay attention to this comment,but i don't care.this is how i feel about Citizen Kane.maybe i'm a complete idiot,or maybe i'm just missing something.either way,this movie rates a 3/10 at best.
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