Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
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A group of reporters who are trying to decipher the last word ever spoke 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
Dispute still rages over ownership of the original idea for the script, with many claiming that it was the brainchild of co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz. In his school days, Orson Welles wrote a play titled "Marching Song." Though never produced, it was the exploration of a public figure through the testimonies of the people in his life. Mankiewicz certainly wrote the first draft of the screenplay, which took him about six weeks, though the draft only ran about a hundred pages and had only the broadest strokes for what would become the final script. See more »
One of the posters advertising Susan Alexander's opera appearance shown in the newsreel misspells her first name "Suzan". 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 So yes, the story on the surface is outdated.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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