Directed, produced, co-written and co-starring Orson Welles
For those of you who follow Hollywood and its ratings, you already know how this review is going to be like – awesome, amazing, superb, legendary, celebrated etc etc.
Check out any list of greatest movies made and you can bet your life that this movie will be a part of it. Citizen Kane of all the things it’s popular for, screenplay of the film is the most widely talked about and praised aspect of the film.
Charles Foster Kane (played by Orson Welles) is the film’s life blood and also the protagonist. The movie starts with a rather unexpected explanation about the pleasure dome Kane had built for himself, his life and his achievements. After a few minutes you realize that it’s a documentary about Kane’s life being watched by a bunch of news reporters. In this scene itself you will begin to observe the visual capacity of the film with the sunlight coming into to the preview room.
Though black and white the movie’s visual is a splendor and a delight to the eyes.
The editor says that he needs something more from Kane’s life, something personal, something about the last word he had said – ‘Rosebud’. So, one of the journalists sets off to meet all the people closely attached to Kane’s personal life. This is where the screenplay’s stroke comes in. The rest of the movie is a series of flashbacks.
First up Kane’s childhood from his manager STOP then his college and his newspaper business from his co-editor Mr. Bernstein and his best friend STOP then his first marriage and break ups from his first wife STOP his political career STOP his downfall because of a relational controversy and THE End. Attention-grabbing ha mate!!
The best part of the movie is Kane’s newspaper business (The Inquirer). Kane, his friend (Joseph Cotton playing ‘Leland’) who along with Kane got chucked out of a lot of colleges including Harvard and Bernstein (played by Everett Sloane) talk in away which very respectfully offends others. The way they talk is something you just want to keep listening to.
Kane decides to publish all the scams of his own company as in the company from where he inherited his wealth.
Let me give you a touch of the Citizen Kane dialogue:
Kane’s manager: Honestly my boy, don’t you think it’s rather unwise to run this philanthropic enterprise, this ‘Inquirer’ that’s costing you a million dollars a year.
Kane: You are Mr. Thatcher (Kane’s ex-guardian) I realize that I lost a million dollars last year, I expect to loose a million dollars this year, I expect to loose a million dollars next year. You know Mr. Thatcher what’s the rate of a million dollars a year… (with a smirk) I’ll have to close down this place in 60 years.
And Orson Welles people, Orson Welles. Directing yourself in a movie like this – it’s like manufacturing a Ferrari and winning the grand prix driving it himself.
Let me not over do the review lauding every scene and every technical aspect of the film. If you haven’t seen this film you haven’t seen any cinema at all. Watch the film, enjoy its brilliance and enter the world of movie magic.