Citizen Kane

I’ve finished watching ‘Die Hard’, I watched ‘Carman’ the opera for my first volunteer work alone in America, eaten my weight in M&Ms and watched ‘Citizen Kane’. I know I’ve just been on my butt all day but I am TIRED! This review may seem a bit crap compared to the movie itself which, I’m so freaking happy to say, is brilliant. I’m always so scared with this classic films that I won’t like them and therefore be ashamed to call myself a film nut. Hurrah, I loved it! So, enough drabble, time for the review.

For us young ones, I’ll write the synopsis as most of us under 20 have heard of the film but never seen it. This film is told via the memories and stories about Charles Foster Kane [a character based on real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst]. It shows his life, going from a cheeky, confident, happy young man to a lonely, sad old man. Its done with ‘flashback’ though I don’t like to call it flashback as that would mean its fact rather than someone’s memory which, over the years, could very easily be manipulated or forgotten.

  • I love the introduction, News on the March which is a parody of The March of Time newsreel series. “He had the biggest private zoo since Noah!” I loved that line so much! The news segment is the obituary of Kane and talks briefly about Kane’s public and publicly-private life, with main emphasis on this estate which, now-a-days, looks like an episode of Cribs.
  • ‘Rosebud.’ I knew about this line thanks to [now don’t shoot me] ‘Over the Hedge’ which William Shatner’s character says before he ‘dies’. Its an incredibly famous word that I think most people know that its at least a ‘line’ from a movie.
  • I love the use of lighting in this movie! The way the reporters are always either in the dark or are a shadow and they never get a close up so that we can focus on the people in Kane’s life that are telling the memories. I also love the use of it in the ‘flashbacks’ because even though everything is almost always in focus, not all of the shot can be clearly seen; some people who are less important are in the shadows and the people who we need to focus on are in the light. My interpretation of this was that when we talk about our memories, we often fabricate them, sometimes not on purpose. Over time, memories tend to deteriorate and so aspects of the ’story’ fade away, hence why sometimes the background is well lit or people’s faces aren’t, because we don’t remember every tiny detail. I don’t know whether this was Welles’s idea, but that was what I saw and that is what made me love this movie so much. Sorry if I don’t make any sense!!
  • This film wouldn’t work if Kane wasn’t an interesting character. He’s the cheeky chappy who’s a little cocky and just wants to have some fun. Also, the fact that he’s dead makes him interesting because we want to know what he was like.
  • I only just realized as I watched the breakfast montage that I’d seen it before! I can’t remember what module it was but I remember watching this in film studies class. I think we must have been talking about montages and this being a classic one. Anyways, in the words of song ‘We Gonna Need A Montage’ from Team America [>.<] “and show us a passage of time, we gonna need a montage, oo it takes a montage…with every shot show a little improvement, to show it all would take to long, that’s called a montage”. However, in this movie its not ‘improvement’ that we’re being shown but the falling apart of Kane’s first marriage; at the beginning they’re in love, laughing, kissing and being close together. Gradually they drift further and further apart, having arguments until they’re sitting at either ends of the table not talking to each other. Also, aside from the clothes and aging on their faces, you can tell that time is going by in the only form that Kane knows; newspapers being printed to signify time passing. Incredibly clever! Sorry, enough of that!
  • The aging make-up is brilliant. He looks so young at the beginning and so old at the end. I know that sounds pretty lame but the way its done is amazing. Actually, its not only the make-up but the way Welles walks around when he’s older, its perfect.
  • It looks like Welles tried to use every camera angle in the book which is a good thing! Sometimes dramas can loose their grip on the audience if the camera is at the same level all the time.
  • One of the final shots, of all of Kane’s statues, artifacts and ‘stuff’ is a sad sight. He had a hole in his life that he tried to fill with ‘stuff’ but he could never fill it. Its so sad when people have that hole in their life and can never fill it.
  • Well, there you go, a bit of a crap and short review which doesn’t do this brilliant film justice but oh well, I tried! I do recommend that if you love film and you haven’t seen this yet then you should, you won’t be disappointed!

    180/212 – blimey… 180 films… that’s insane!!! Only 32 films to go! I wonder if I’ll complete this challenge as I have Laura, my cousins and Dee flying over in the next 2 months… here’s hoping!



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