Citizen Kane

1941

Action / Drama / Mystery

190
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 8.4 10 343550

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Orson Welles as Kane
Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane
Alan Ladd as Reporter Smoking Pipe at End
Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
751.53 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 3 / 61
1.50 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 59 min
P/S 2 / 82

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DaveTheNovelist (WriterDave) 8 / 10

All That Ballyhoo!

On the Criterion Collection DVD of Orson Welles' classic "Citizen Kane" there is an original theatrical trailer where Welles cleverly advertises the film by introducing us to the cast including the chorus girls, whom he refers to as some nice ballyhoo. That pretty much sums up my opinion of the often over analyzed film that always shows up at the top of the list of greatest films ever made. Even though this was the first time I sat down to watch the film as a whole, I knew everything about it from studying it in film class and from the countless number of essays, homages, and parodies that have come down the pike over the years. It seems impossible now to judge the film against a blank slate, but with great ballyhoo comes great scrutiny.

Released in 1941 by RKO as a Mercury Theater Production, "Citizen Kane" is the tale of an influential and shockingly wealthy newspaper tycoon (Welles) inspired by the life of William Randolph Hearst. The story follows the investigation into the origins of "Rosebud"-the mysterious word Kane utters on his deathbed. Following newsreel footage announcing Kane's death, we are then thrust into a series of flashbacks through interviews with various people who knew Kane that reveal the nature of his character.

From a technical standpoint, Welles' film is as innovative and engrossing today as it was yesterday. Every single piece of cinematic trickery, every dissolve, every long tracking shot, every seamless edit, every play with chronology, every special effect is perfect. Welles was audacious and inventive with his art, and it is for these technical aspects that "Citizen Kane" will always stand the test of time.

However, the story of "Citizen Kane" remains cold and distant. I didn't instantly connect with the characters and the plot the way I did with other classics from the period like "Casablanca" or "The Third Man" or even more recently, "There Will Be Blood." Often, the supporting players over-act, and the flashbacks are tedious (especially the one detailing Kane's second marriage) or emotionless (like the scene showing Kane's snow covered childhood). There's a certain smug arrogance to the whole production that makes it seem like perhaps Welles was secretly making a comedy. It leaves one wondering how it would've come across had Welles actually been allowed to do a straight up biopic of Hearst.

Is it any wonder that so many critics today hail this as THE all time great? Much of today's cinema is geared towards style and technique over substance, and way back in 1941, Welles was the first to author this very modern brand of cinema where the art is not in the story but how it is told and shown to the audience. His "Citizen Kane" is technically rich, layered, and enthralling but narratively vapid. Did I ever really care about Kane or Rosebud? No, but it was fascinating to watch. It's some very nice ballyhoo indeed.

Reviewed by Alexandrspyr 4 / 10

Rate According To Your True Feelings.

Yes, this title is a classic and we can all agree that it has been critically acclaimed by many to be a masterpiece. This movie pops up in so many lists of the greatest movies of all time that watching it at least once in your lifetime becomes a must. So I prepared myself for at the least a good movie. Is it a good movie? Well, yes and no.

See, it depends on why you are watching movies in the first place and where you derive pleasure from. For me watching movies is a way of entertainment and enjoyment, I want to have fun, I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to think, I want to be engaged, I want to guess what is going to happen, I want characters that I can relate to and be attached to. Now all those things don't mean that I want MINDLESS fun,I do prefer intelligent plot with great characters and development but I want the movie to incorporate entertainment value as well. Citizen Kane was a character study, it was like an assignment for my university where I had to critically evaluate the title to get a good grade.

Yes, cinematography was amazing and to think it was a movie from 1941 it is just jaw dropping. Yes, the character of Kane was complex and it was a good character study. Yes, the symbolic nature of "Rosebud" and what it represents was brilliantly done, especially when we see that Kane's romantic life with his women was screwed up. But all those things are meaningless to me when I don't enjoy the movie and I am ready to die from boredom. I literally forced myself to not fall asleep, all the time I was thinking "There must be something wrong with me, this is the greatest film of all time. Get your sh*t together, wake up and pay attention. This is awesome, right?". At some points I even thought that I must be stupid for not liking this film, but if people choose to name me stupid I don't care, at least I am honest with my feelings. What matters is that I consider myself to be fairly intelligent and I didn't see the appeal of this movie unless you are watching this for critical purposes.

Now why this movie is in the top 250 and is considered a classic? That's probably because of the technical aspects of the movie and in this sense it might be a masterpiece, but I just can't see people enjoying this so much to have it so highly rated because of the entertainment factor.

Reviewed by Jem Odewahn 10 / 10

A textbook I would have liked to study in school...

Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941)was perhaps the first American film since the silent era to fully demonstrate the possibilities of the film medium, and the role of the camera. Welles' camera is mobile, no longer the static device used to merely show faces, and Toland's deep-focus cinematography revolutionary. Welles tinkers with traditional filmic narrative conventions to craft a work that is now often termed a 'textbook' of the cinema.

Welles himself plays Kane in a remarkable acting performance that requires him to age progressively (which Welles does very convincingly) over the decades. Welles draws significant parallels between Kane and media mogul William Hearst in a statement that probes wealth, power figures and what we perceive as 'truth'.

Kane is presented to the audience as an enigma- we never do get a full-bodied portrait of the man, only snippets of highly subjective memories from those who say they "knew him". In the newsreel, a montage of images that details Kane's life and eventual decline, a variety of viewpoints are established. He could be both a Fascist and a Communist- a megalomaniac manipulating power to his advantage or, indeed, being manipulated himself. It is ironic that the true meaning of 'Rosebud' is never discovered by the on-screen reporters, just as the true essence of the man Kane is never fully revealed to the audience. What is Kane searching for? Is it the untouched youth and innocence symbolized in 'Rosebud', or something he himself is not aware of?

Kane is never truly sympathetic, yet he is wholly fascinating. He seems to lament the status and power that wealth has given him ("If I hadn't been very rich than I may have been a very great man"), then buys another load of cold statues and ornaments. His cruel treatment of second wife Susan Alexander in his insistence that she train as an opera singer suggest his unwavering persistence, and unwillingness to accept defeat. Kane is willing to stand alone ("I am Charles Foster Kane!") yet seems to crave a filler to his loneliness ("I know too many people. I guess we're both lonely"). Kane is ultimately indefinable; a jigsaw puzzle that both Susan and the audience struggle to piece together into anything whole or real.

Welles used actors from his Mercury Theatre to populate this story of greed, corruption and vanity. Friend and close confidant Joseph Cotten becomes friend and observer Jebediah, who is a witness to Kane's slide into moral decay. Dorothy Cormingmore portrays Susan Alexander, a thinly veiled take on Hearst's real-life mistress Marion Davies. She possesses a similar honking Bronx whine and limited talent in her master's chosen area of success (For Davies this was dramatic roles in films; her talent lay in comedy). Distinguished actors Moorehead, Sanford and Sloane also feature in support.

One aspect that is perhaps ignored in favor of focusing on the technical innovations is the truly amazing screenplay, one which offers just as many quotable snippets of dialogue as a 'CASABLANCA' or 'ALL ABOUT EVE'. Welles' understanding of the soundtrack is often overlooked. A memorable scene involves a bored Susan Alexander whining to Kane that she "never gets any fun" because they "live in a castle". The visual portrait is fascinating, with Alexander perched on a seat as a princess, complete with tiara in her hair. The echo of her words and Kane's mechanical replies in the huge, yet empty, room speaks volumes for Welles' understanding of the film as a sum of all parts. Here, the sum adds up to perfect- direction, acting, writing, photography and music.

The imposing, haunting Xanadu is similar to Hitchcock's Manderlay in REBECCA (filmed the previous year) in that the mansion operates as a both a character and a symbol of the protagonist. Kane's half-finished palace seems to come the closest to suggesting his character- grandiose, larger than life, powerful...yet strangely empty and unfulfilled.

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