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The Complete Citizen Kane (1991)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  13 October 1991 (UK)
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A closer look at Citizen Kane and the stories behind this cinematic milestone that became one of the greatest films of all time. Made as part of the many celebrations of the movie's 50th ... See full summary »

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Essay film shot for TV including Orson Welles reflections on Othello close to the Moviola, a chat with Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir and fragments of a conversation with the audience in Boston after a screening of the film.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (archive footage)
William Alland ...
Micheál MacLiammóir ...
Himself (archive footage)
Miriam Geiger ...
Robert Carringer ...
James G. Stewart ...
Maurice Seiderman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ralph Hoge ...
Reginald Armour ...
Linwood G. Dunn ...
Himself (archive footage)
Pauline Kael ...


A closer look at Citizen Kane and the stories behind this cinematic milestone that became one of the greatest films of all time. Made as part of the many celebrations of the movie's 50th anniversary, the documentary presents interviews with actors and technicians involved in Kane's making; film historians; the controversial Pauline Kael - who wrote a critical article about Orson Welles real contribution to the film; and of course, old clips of Welles himself revealing details about his very first film project. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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13 October 1991 (UK)  »

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Genuine Accomplishment.
19 October 2014 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

You may learn more about the making of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" (1941) by reading one or two of the several books about it, but you're not likely to find a more thorough and well-executed documentary than this. It's informative, entertaining, and fascinating.

Everyone the producers could get their hands on has something to contribute in their interviews. And if the subjects are dead, there are archived interviews. At the very end, we hear Orson Welles exchanging compliments with H. G. Wells on the radio.

Here are Pauline Kael, Robert Wise, Anita Loos, all having their say. The story of Welles and the making of -- and disposition of -- the film are a parody of the "March of Time" segment of "Citizen Kane." We hear the stentorian narrator's voice. "With glory came fame. Then, 1929 -- disaster. Welles falls from grace. Excluded from tony parties. Backward ran sentences until bogggled the mind." Well, not that last sentence. And who is reading this? William Alland, the now-aged actor who played the inquiring reporter, Mr. Thompson, and who also did the voice for the "March of Time" parody. And Alland still has the SAME VOICE. It's as if every sentence is announcing the Second Coming.

I don't really want to get into the story. It's dense, tangled, and some details are in dispute. I'll just leave it with the suggestion that it might as well have a different title: "Everything you've always wanted to know about 'Citizen Kane' but didn't know whom to ask." The makers of this extraordinary documentary will give you the dish.

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