Thursday, 2 June 2011

Citizen Kane (1941)

I know most of you probably know the plot of the legendary and iconic classic film Citizen Kane. I have seen this film two times. The first time I was too young to understand it, but I re-watched it very recently and felt I could finally really appreciate it.

A reproduction of this poster is on my pin-board, "Everybody's talking about it!" Love.

Now, just for you people who haven't seen this film, I suggest you do one or both of these things before reading this review:
  • Go watch the movie
  • Read my very brief summary
As you will probably need the gist of the story to get the review.

Charles Foster Kane was the child of the owners of a boarding house with seemingly no future ahead of him, but when his mother comes into a small fortune she pays for him to be taken away and educated. After becoming already quite rich, he decides it would "be fun to run a newspaper." He becomes very well respected and one of the most wealthy men in the world. He has quite a troubled private life before becoming a recluse in his colossal estate Xanadu with his second wife until his dying day when he utters his last word, "Rosebud..." What did it mean? Could it uncover some of the secrets of one of the worlds most powerful men? Reporters from every newspaper were determined to find out.


The film actually struck me as quite surrealist with it's odd and dark camera angles and strange sets. The set with all the different crates at the end was very interesting. Orson Welles is fantastic as Charles Foster Kane. He does the hard job of ageing the character from the dashing and inventive Charles at the beginning to the troubled recluse that he becomes later on.

Crazy Mischa-Auer-style mustachioed music teachers forever.

I also thought that Dorothy Comingore did a great job with the difficult part of Susan Alexander Kane, Charles's second wife. It just breaks my heart to see them both in that scene at the opera later. I looked her up and sadly she didn't do much after this as she was blacklisted in 1951 for alleged communist connections.

At the end it is announced that most of the principal players are appearing in their film debut as they have been acting with Orson (also in his debut in this picture) in the Mercury Theatre Company lead by Orson himself and John Houseman. I think that if you could find all of his filmography and stuff, you could get quite hooked on Joseph Cotten movies. I think he's great in Gaslight, The Magnificent Ambersons and The Third Man as well as this.

The music was composed by Hitchcock's favourite composer and conductor, Bernard Herrman. It's a very interesting score. It's big, but it fit's the film perfectly and compliments the direction.

It's usually between this film and Casablanca for the best film of all time, and I honestly don't think I could choose between them. I must admit that it is heavy duty watching, but definitely worth it. It's remarkable to think that this was Orson Welles's first ever film. It looks like the genius work of a seasoned director, and it is in a way, but a seasoned stage director.

This is definitely one of those "Prescribed Watching" films. You should most certainly see it at least once in your life. Well done Mr. Welles.


P.S. Disclaimer: I know I already have a note at the bottom of my page saying that images don't belong to me unless otherwise stated, but I just wanted to reiterate this seeing as there are lots of great graphics/images in this post. They aren't mine! They have been found in various places on the web. If one of these images is yours and you have a problem with it appearing in this - or any other - post notify me in a comment I will remove it.


Emily said...

I just watched this film two nights ago! I was going to blog about it but I didn't get around to it, but I am glad I didn't because you summed it up great! I don't love this film, but any oldie fan needs to watch it, so well done.

Josie said...

Absolutely one of my favorite movies! Lovely review, and I love the stills you chose.

Aditya said...

Probably one of the best and complex lives brought to screen, we still trying to peel the layers of this very amazing character. The best part is that every review has something new to think about.
Have to admit was a bit hard to actually love it in one watch but re-runs definitely made me see why this movie is so amazing.
I am still afraid to review it, so great work, like the use of images.

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