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. Written by
Susan Alexander Kane's disastrous debut in the opera world is accompanied by a libretto written not by the film's composer, Bernard Herrmann, but by producer John Houseman. According to Houseman, Herrmann had decided not to use a scene from a standard opera but to create one on his own. He decided that it should be a French opera and asked Houseman to write it. Houseman hurriedly assembled a mixed bag from Racine's "Athalie", "Ph¿e," and others. It did not make any sense. As lip-synched by Dorothy Comingore, the opera is barely intelligible, but Orson Welles built one of the film's most visually striking sequences. See more »
The first time we see the backstage preparations before Susan sings, the shadow of the curtain rising has a completely straight bottom edge. The second time we see this scenario, this time from behind Susan, as the curtain rises, the bottom of the curtain is adorned with a series of prominent curves. See more »
OK look, let me settle something between those who love and hate this film. A lot of people hail this film because it is technically brilliant and ground breaking. Director Orson Welles did a lot of things visually that no one had ever done before. Nearly every film maker was in some way influenced by this movie. This movie also had a great impact in its time. The title character was based on media giant William Randolph Hearst. He was that generations Donald Trump. He opposed this film so much he did everything in its power to stop its release and almost succeeded. Lastly this film contains some of the strongest and most common themes in literature; Life versus death. It is for these reasons why this film is so revered.
On the contrary people who hate this film mainly complain that it is boring. Which is a legitimate complaint. The story is slow compared to today's standards, and there is no real Hearst character alive today in which to relate. So yes, the story on the surface is outdated. However, this does not make it a bad movie. It was not made as a Matrix/Star Wars type of movie which can be enjoyed even at surface level. This is not pure entertainment. Remember there is more to film than storytelling. This film was designed to be cinematically beautiful and to tell a basic story of love and redemption. There is much more to the story than the thinly veiled attack on Hearst, one just needs to look deeper. Look at Shakespeare or Hawthorne for example, their literary works are universally loved. Yet, many people blow them off because they refuse to look past the outdated language into the beautiful prose and simple ubiquitous themes. Just because something is outdated does not mean it lacks worth in today's world.
My advice to those who did not like it the first time or have not seen it yet is simple. Watch it again for what it is. Do not expect to be on the edge of your seat for two hours. Watch it for the cinematography that alone makes this film among the best (I don't agree with AFI's number one ranking but I think it still ranks high). Look deeper into the story and try to connect with it on some level. At the very least appreciate how influential this film was and where the industry would be without it. If you can do this, then maybe some of the naysayers will change their minds. Again, you do not have to love Citizen Kane, but at least respect it for what it is.
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