Tuesday, November 19, 2013

220 of 1001 Movies: Citizen Kane (1941)

I remember watching this in a college class, and really enjoying it, so I was excited to watch it again since my recollection was fuzzy, and I couldn't remember what made it so good to me. I think having watched more movies from 1941 though I understand a lot better why this movie is as good as it is. The aspect of looking over one man's life all because they want to figure out what a word meant that he spoke before death is interesting. It makes it one of the most unique plots that I've seen. Plus, Welles does some of the most movie magic I've saw with is natural shots that put a creative perspective of the people we are watching.

Summary: Charles Kane is a rich, newspaper tycoon and he seems to have all a man would want. Riches though don't bring happiness and with the inability to achieve love, friendships, and political gain, he finds himself to be alone. Though he is alone he still is one of the most famous man there is. So when he dies it sends the media in a hurricane, especially to figure out what he was referring to when he uttered "Rosebud" right before he took his last breath.

Acting: Orson Welles is just brilliant as Citizen Kane. I could just sit around and talk about his performance all day, and just forget that he may have been one of the most attractive men in the 40's! Anyways, Welles plays Kane to be a guy full of faults, but so arrogant he may not even realize what he is really lacking till it's too late. That is what baffles me. Kane was a guy who didn't seem like he could be likable, but he's a guy battling against his own flaws and you can't help but like him, and feel really sad for him. The story of a man trying to find happiness in riches where none is to be found is one so old, but yet told so well in this movie. The most annoying performance for me, and maybe she was intentionally annoying, was Dorothy Comingore as Susan. Oh my gosh. Her voice was nails on a chalkboard especially the moments where she was whining.  I don't know if the intent of her character was to just be annoying or what. I felt she was to make the point about Kane's inability to love, and in that moment I thought they wanted sympathy for her. I just couldn't though.

Filming: There is so much that is innovative about how Welles put this movie together. I loved the shot with the snow globe right at beginning of the movie. It was a great way to convey the suspense and shock of someone walking in to find Kane dead. Welles makes many more transitions in his movie, but he weaves it so effortlessly in it is never over done. Plus, this helps transition the flashbacks to flash forwards. They were very smooth. Upon watching there is some of the best costume work going on in this movie. Everyone grows older through the duration of this movie, and the beyond the makeup people took liberties to analyze how you move as you grow older to make it feel real.

Plot: Of all my favorite things about the movie it is the plot. It's very well built toward the end. By the end you just want to know what Rosebud is! Either you'll be very impressed with what it alludes to or disappointed. I don't see any in between. Personally, I loved the depth and symbolism of the movie. I don't think I've seen many movies that can make a deeper point than this one through symbolism in such a simple way.  For one, because it's really difficult to pull off. Kane's character almost caused me to shed a tear by the end though. The guy was just a sad character. At first he starts off as a boy with so many hopes and promises, but the one thing he wants to return to he can't.

Citizen Kane is one movie that I recommend everyone watch if they picked up their movie. Beyond just learning about Kane, you also get this insightful look at how the newspaper industry was in the hay day of when it got really popular to read the newspaper. It also feels like a bit of a history lesson as well. My favorite part of watching this movie is watching a guy who was the master of the newspapers became the one they fed on.

Rating 9 of 10.

Citizen Kane (1941) on IMDb

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