Skip to comments.Happy Birthday, 'Citizen Kane'
Posted on 09/15/2011 6:04:44 PM PDT by nickcarraway
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the classic movie, Citizen Kane, which many consider to be the greatest movie ever made.
The film, loosely based on publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, stars Orson Welles, who also co-wrote, directed and produced the film - all when he was just 25 years old. Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers.
Welles is the title character, one Charles Foster Kane, who becomes more and more powerful in the publishing industry until a scandal leaves him ruined and alone.
The line, Rosebud, has become one of the most-quoted movie lines. A special edition Blu-ray of the film was released Tuesday. It has already gotten praise for its picture quality, as well as its special features, which include several documentaries discussing the film, as well as the HBO original movie RKO 281.
Welles won the Oscar (with Herman J. Mankiewicz) for Original Screenplay. The film also earned eight other Oscar nominations. Welles also became the youngest man to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Director until John Singleton was nominated five decades later for Boyz N the Hood (1991).
I liked the movie because it started out with Kane living up to all his ideals and then they slowly eroded away as he got more and more power.
There's a certain amount of snobbery going on with some who watch Citizen Kane because they think they have to appreciate it and treat it too reverently (thereby sucking the fun out of it).
I happened to catch it on late night TV in the early 60's and wasn't aware of the accolades the film had garnered. Because I had no preconceived notions, I just enjoyed it for the sheer entertainment value and the fact that it spins a heck of good yarn. Now that I know how great Kane is, when I watch it, I don't let its stellar reputation get in the way. It's just a fine film, with first-rate acting and, as you alluded to, the storyline is compelling.
My favorite film. My Blu-ray arrived today. I’ve collected Kane on VHS, laserdisc, DVD and now Blu-ray. It never fails to fascinate me.
I think now that the opposite is true. There are lots of young viewers who have little respect for old films. Now you often hear "I don't see what''s so great about Citizen Kane".
The film was way ahead of its time, in so many ways. Really ground-braking. But I can’t say I revisit it too terribly often, maybe once every ten years. I think “Magnificent Ambersons” might have been an even better film, had it not gotten choppy and uneven towards the end (apparently taken out of Welles’ hands, I think?). Something about the way it captures the passage of time really grabs me and resonates with me more than “Kane.” But “Kane” was the groundbraker.
I was forced to watch this film during an ‘arts appreciation class’ is college, and I thought the movie was crap.
I believe watching the proverbial ‘drying of paint’ would be far more entertaining.
Well, someone had to start the Slow Clap.
An interesting point. It tends to weirdly grate on me the way some old movie ‘classics’ are basically sold in a snooty, pretentious manner to their audiences nowadays, like they are solely to broaden your cultural horizons. Rathery PBS-y. It’s such a turn-off. I just miss when late-shows presented a wild mix of A-films, B-films, good ones, bad ones, and nothing but relaxing entertainment was the name of the game. You could go from “Citizen Kane” one night, to “Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair” the next! Loved it.
Brake = Break.
How on earth did I get hung up on mispelling that word? Never have before. Weird. Must have had the idea of a railroad brakeman stuck in my head.
“Now you often hear “I don’t see what’s so great about Citizen Kane”.
And they’re right. That’s pretty much how I’ve always felt about that movie and I ain’t young. And I’m a movie buff and know a lot of other movie buffs, and they don’t believe that movie is the greatest film ever made either. Not even close.
It’s like the claim that Charlie Chaplin is a comedic genius. I never once laughed at anything he did. And again I know a lot of movie buffs that feel the same way. Chaplin was adulated by the left and that adulation was perpetuated by the leftist film schools. Most likely all this claptrap about Kane being the greatest movie ever made is just more film school BS of one kind or another.
Maybe Kane was great for it’s time. But that has worn off now. Sixty years later, Kane is merely an interesting and engaging film that was excellently made.
>Brake = Break.
How on earth did I get hung up on mispelling that word? Never have before. Weird. Must have had the idea of a railroad brakeman stuck in my head.<<
What a greenhorn excuse. You been here for 6 years and you don’t know the mantra?
>>Sixty years later, Kane is merely an interesting and engaging film that was excellently made.<<
And how many of those can you count? One hand, one had and a half?
I am probably going to get flamed for this, but I feel the same way about “Casablanca”.
I honestly can’t see why people considered Bogart a great actor. He’s wooden, over-rehearsed and about as spontaneous as turtle sex.
The female lead was totally forgettable. The only decent, or at least amusing, character in the entire film was the French cop.
Total yawner. Yet movie snobs talk about that film like it the greatest work of all time.
Yawn. There have always been people who want to be first in line to say they don't think Kane is a good film.
Rosebud was a sled!!
Jeez. Where’s your Spoiler Alert?
Couldn’t resist. Besides I first found out about it in a song by Julie Brown called “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun”!
Chaplin in "The Great Dictator" is a classic, IMNSHO.
Cotton is an unsung hero. His performance in the role of Harley Martins in “The Third Man” was excellent.
Wow, 70 years already? The first time I saw Citizen Kane was at college during my film studies class which was part of my Spanish major course curriculum. I cant believe it is 70 years old. Great film!
"Thanks for the use of the hall."
I enjoy other Welles movies more--Touch of Evil, The Trial, Macbeth--partly because I`ve seen Kane over and over. One unfortunate thing is that Kane is usually spoken of as Welles`s triumph, but it is actually a triumph of the studio system--Welles used RKO`s technical staff and art directors etc. to bring Mankiewicz`s and his script to life; the actors, Bernard Herrmann`s score, RKO staffer Robert Wise`s editing, the sound... For all the talk of Welles as a maverick, his films after it were flawed in many ways because he no longer had a studio`s resources to work with.
Tastes vary and I can't take you to task for your characterization of what is my personal favorite film. I have a very long attention span and can stay focused on a compelling film (or book, take Mann's "The Magic Mountain" for example) that others may find overly long (such as Judgment at Nuremberg and Lawrence of Arabia, two other favorites).
The only movies I truly dreaded -- where the minutes dripped by like hours -- were The Matrix and Lord of the Rings. I had to watch them at a colleague's home as part of dinner and movie. Being polite, I feigned interest but it was hard to stifle my yawns through the near torture of that fare.
Uh, not from what I have heard....it was Hearst’s name for his lover’s vagina...look it up.
someone should write a sequel where Kane comes back from the dead as a zombie and call it Night of the Living Citizen Kane.
Better performances by Cotten and Welles in Carol Reed’s The Third Man.
I was younger at the time I watched it, and I think my experience was somewhat sabotaged by always hearing of it being “the best movie of all time”. I’m sure you know how the expectations thing goes when it comes to movies.
I thought it was a sleigh.
“Citizen Kane” is the greatest STUDENT film of all time.
If you’re aware you’re watching a movie the whole time, it’s a lousy movie.
It`s odd how discussion of Kane brings out the bashing urge in some people on these threads. With the exception of The Matrix, I like every film mentioned in this thread--I had The Third Man on last night, actually.
The story that `Rosebud` refers to the unmentionables of Marion Davies is one that`s never convinced me, though of course I`ve heard it. In the movie it is a reference to the sled, of course, and the more private reference, if true, really doesn`t matter. While Kane doesn`t have as many of the traditional `likable` characters of Hollywood movies, it has compelling, interesting ones. As I age, the Kane characters are more pertinent to real life than 99% of movie characters.
>>> Welles is the title character, one Charles Foster Kane
Who by his action has the traction magnates on the run.
>>> Rosebud was a sled
Rosebud was what William Randolph Hearst called a sensitive portion of Marion Davis’ anatomy. A part Hearst highly appreciated. Hearst failed to see the humor in Welles’ joke.
Even if that story is true (which I doubt), it would have been screenwriter Manciewicz, joke.
It’s a film about movies as much as anything else.
Chaplin was hugely popular in his time and regarded that way during his life. His popularity during World War 1 and in the 1920s was in no way connected to a political position. ‘Shoulder Arms’ and ‘The Gold Rush’ are just as funny now as they were then.
Yeah, they handed it over to Robert Wise to edit it to a happy ending. Wise went on to be a pretty great director (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Haunting, West Side Story, I Want to Live) but I heard from people who knew him that you never wanted to bring up Ambersons to him. It was a sore subject.
I find people over look Casablanca’s comedic value. It’s a damn funny movie, very dry humor, but really funny. And a great yarn.
I don't think it's movie snobs who talk about it that way. Their opinion is that it's a nice example of the studio system at its peak with a bunch of great character actors and some nice quotable lines, but a creaky plot. And Michael Curtiz was never more than a workmanlike director.
There used to be a lot more of the cult of Bogart, but that's faded now.That said, there are some great Bogart performances--Petrified Forest, Maltese Falcon and Treasure of the Sierra Madre come to mind.
A TV writer friend of mine has been going on in her blog lately about this compulsion people seem to have to go on the internet and rant about how much they hate some movie or TV show (or anything, really) and then getting even angrier when someone simply says "Well, I liked it.
It is a good film, even a great film. But “greatest”??
I watch many movies, especially ones from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. It was a very different time and place to make movies back then.
To be fair, I should order the deluxe edition of Kane.
There are a number of movies from old that I would rate equal to or higher than Kane. “All About Eve” is a spectacular movie, Bette Davis is AMAZING in that film!
And if you want to go a little more modern, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” has always been one of my top five, I could watch that movie ten times in a row and not get bored in the least.
Even though many people aren’t into the genre, and it is a long film, I have the 60th anniversary Collectors edition that has about 9 hours of extras...
Set-wise, acting-wise, story line... in toto, the Greatest movie ever made was IMHO Gone With the Wind
Had GWTW been made 25 years after the end of the Civil War, people would have a different appreciation for it.
“There used to be a lot more of the cult of Bogart, but that’s faded now.That said, there are some great Bogart performances—Petrified Forest, Maltese Falcon and Treasure of the Sierra Madre come to mind.”
“The Caine Mutiny”—his performance blew my mind.
Oh, yeah! Forgot about Caine. Also “The African Queen” and “In a Lonely Place.”
Also in Old Movie News, I hear the 3D Imax reworking of “The Wizard of Oz” is mind-blowing. I don’t much like 3D, but that I want to see.
I have the Ultimate Wizard of Oz restoration.
It was a three-way (three colors from the original technicolor reels), digital frame by frame restoration, along with an enhanced soundtrack. It took hundreds and hundreds of terabytes of disk space to digitize it.
It’s good! It’s VERY good! What they went through to make that movie, it took hundreds, if not thousands of people and shots.
Funny you should mention it because I was bored so I watched it again about a month ago.
Wow, way to resurrect an old thread! The ide of "greatest" film is so subjective as to be ridiculous. It's one reason I don't care for the Oscars. Why choose a "best" when some films and performances ore equal? For example, how could Peter O'Toole not win for Lawrence of Arabia? Because the winner was Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird. Both deserved to win. Both are splendid films.
One person's idea of "the greatest" might seem ludicrous to someone else. For example, I would never place Cat on a Hot Tin Roof anywhere near my top 5. It is well cast (featuring Liz Taylor in her prime!), and Richard Brooks did a good job of trying to wrap up the story. But, like all Tennessee Williams plays/films, it's all about the fact that someone in the story is...gay! So what? I have to say TW's plays really do little for me these days (but hats off to director Richard Brooks for trying to "fix" the play).
Sure, lots of people don't appreciate Citizen Kane. However, it will always be held in high esteem by cineastes because of its dazzling style, and storytelling methods which were unlike anything seen up to that time. Add the fact that it was directed by and starred a 25-year old Orson Welles, and you have a film and backstory that will always be interesting (to some).
I'm a huge fan of classic films. I have many, many favorites. Kane may be my favorite, but 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood is a close second. Today, I received my Amazon pre-order of the 1925 silent classic The Big Parade and the 1953 film From Here to Eternity on Blu-ray.
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