Click here to buy Amazon movie bestsellers

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Citizen Kane: An all-time great movie

This is a movie that has been rated as the best English movie of all time, and if you watch it with a critical eye, one can see why. In this age of fast paced action oriented movies, it may seen as an anachronism, but the movie itself is spectacular. The creation of the movie itself was an event by itself. The movie is by accounts based on the life of the newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst. The picture painted in the movie of the lead character, Charles Foster Kane, was not a very flattering one, and Hearst did all he could to kill the movie. The movie did not find any mention in any of Hearst's newspapers, the premiere of the movie was blocked, and in the end, the movie itself lost $150,000. And to make matters worse, it was the first movie by a young director, Orson Welles, at the tender age of 26.
The movie starts with the death of the newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles). While dying, he utters the word 'Rosebud' and this is caught on a newsreel. The producer of the newsreel views this, and curiosity unleashed, hires a reporter Thompson (Willian Alland) to dig into Kane's private life and to discover the meaning behind the word. The movie is essentially about the discoveries that Thompson makes, and how Kane's life is revealed through these flashbacks. He meets numerous people to get to the bottom of the mystery, with some people cooperating and some not.
The story of Kane's life was not an easy one. He was born into poverty, and inherited wealth, at which point his mother sent him away to live with their banker. This incident was the turning point of his life, it made him what he was. In the end, he dies a massively wealthy and yet supremely arrogant newspaperman. He had broken relationships. In his quest for power, his ambition causes him broken relationships and the bitter feeling that eventually he is left all alone. And this was not necessary, he started out as an idealistic journalist trying to help the common man, and then set his mind to start on a political career, that self-destructed due to the opening of his affair to the public.
Eventually his attempts to attain the American dream of power, wealth, influence, and success crashed, and he died a loner of his own choosing, in a representation of his life's emptiness. The journalist, Thompson who is investigating however is unable to find out the meaning of Rosebud, and gives up. However, viewers of the movie get to know what it is; as workers are burning many of Kane's possessions, they burn his sled. The sled has the name 'Rosebud', and it was the sled that he was riding on the day his mother sent his away. And the movie pans onto on a gate with a 'No Trespassing' sign.
The movie is acclaimed for several thing, its nature of flashback narration, the effort taken to ensure that Orson Welles is able to look the age of the part, the acting style, his usage of focus, shadows. The movie was acclaimed at its release, but then forgotten, until the 1950's, at which time it started catching the attention of critics. The movie was nominated for 9 Oscars, but the pressure from Hearst must have been considerable, it only won 1.

Post a Comment