Skip to comments.'Citizen Kane' at 70: The Legacy of the Film and Its Director
Posted on 05/04/2011 8:41:44 AM PDT by Borges
On the film's debut in 1941, the New York Times acknowledged that Citizen Kane was "one of the great (if not the greatest) motion pictures of all time." The paper hedged its bets, however, adding that "it was riding the crest of perhaps the most provocative publicity wave ever to float a motion picture," and that this "pre-ordered a mental attitude." The whirlwind surrounding the making of Citizen Kane is well known. Orson Welles, the brash prodigy of stage and radio, earned the envy and scorn of Hollywood veterans by striding onto the RKO lot with an unprecedented contract awarding him a three-picture deal, a massive budget, and the final cut of his first filmthe Holy Grail of filmmaking. The controversial subject of his cinematic debut riled one of the most powerful men in the world, and upset the delicate balance of the studio system. Orson Welles earned every drop of ink written about his impending career in film.
Seventy years later, however, it's clear that the New York Times need not have qualified its glowing review. As Times film critic A.O. Scott recently remarked, "Citizen Kane shows Welles to be a master of genre. It's a newspaper comedy, a domestic melodrama, a gothic romance, and a historical epic." And it is still considered the best film ever made. In 1998, the American Film Institute polled 1,500 film professionals. The result was "100 Years... 100 Movies," and Orson Welles's masterpiece lorded over the list. Ten years later, the AFI commissioned another poll. Citizen Kane retained the top spot. As noted by the late, influential critic Kenneth Tynan, "Nobody who saw Citizen Kane at an impressionable age will ever forget the experience; overnight, the American cinema had acquired an adult vocabulary, a dictionary instead of a phrase book for illiterates."
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Sure, some innovative film techniques, but this movie is unwatchable.
I cannot understand how this keeps showing up at the top of the "best" lists
Quite possibly the most overblown, overrated film in history.
Because it’s also a lot fun to watch? It’s like amusement park attraction with Welles as the Master of Ceremonies.
Two famous movies that I find impossible to watch: “Citizen Kane” and “The Seven Samurai.”
Do you like ‘The Magnificent Seven’ - which was a remake of SS?
Love it or hate it, Citizen Kane was a major advancement in the way films were written, acted, directed and produced. And it really is a great story.
It may be one of the greatest movies of all times but I can’t sit through the whole thing... bores me to tears.
Well, it did lead to Glenn Beck’s fantasy of being the next Orson Welles. I’m not sure that’s good or bad, though.
I've gotta love Welles for that reason alone.
He contributed to his own misfortune by being incapable of finishing anything.
“One of the worst movies of all time.”
“Sure, some innovative film techniques”
Really? I always thought the weird camera angles, the kind of things USC film students think are AWESOME!, viewer be damned, were one of the things that contributed to its unwatchability.
What else was innovative about it, do you think?
Also, do you really think guys like Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor and George Schaefer were empty suits? They knew the film business backwards and forwards. Not like the MBAs running Hollywood today.
Not a fan of German Expressionism I take it? The use of sound was one of the most innovative things about it. Welles started in radio after all.
It keeps showing up at the top of the best because it’s a great movie. It actually tells a story of interesting characters in an interesting way. It’s not for the Transformers crowd, it’s for folks who like plot.
Surprised you aren’t giving the “Ulysses” argument here. :)
CK actually has more special effects per shot than many contemporary blockbusters. They just don’t call attention to themselves.
I’ve never seen the film.