DVD Review: “Citizen Kane” Rich in Story and Character

Genres: Classics and Drama
Running Time:
1 hr. 59 min.
Release Date:
January 1, 1941 Limited
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
RKO Radio Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

Directed by: Orson Welles

JJ Rating: A

Who is Rosebud and why did Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) the powerful newspaper tycoon utter that name before he died? A magazine reporter goes through all of Kane’s contacts to find that out, but he mainly gets something he did not bargain for; to know understand Kane far more than he ever did. Citizen Kane.

What would make Citizen Kane freakin’ fantastic would be if I did not already know the ending. It’s like, for those of you who have not seen it, knowing the ending to The Sixth Sense. It sort of taints the relevance of the movie. But if the movie is done in a fashion that it can be seen more than once, then knowing the ending will not ruin it. Citizen Kane is like that. I did not, however, factor in knowing the ending for my grade. I left that out to give in to the assumed feeling the gasp I’m sure I would have had had I not known.

I enjoyed the wit, the snarky wisp and darkness that brooded through out this movie. I think that Orson Welles was impressive. His chemistry with Joseph Cotton, who played Jed Leland, and Everett Sloane, who played Bernstein, was just like boys who get together to play a game that they made up. They don’t like to invite anyone else to play because the rules are already well known by everyone that is already involved. It was boyish in charm with these three. They wanted to stand by Kane until death do them part, as friends, but he believed he needed no one but his own self-righteous mind.

Then Welles had striking chemistry with the two wives: Susan Alexander Kane played by Dorothy Comingore and Emily Monroe Norton Kane played by Ruth Warrick (II). The women had a dark undertow of disgust that swirled with the words they venomously delivered. They wanted more and Kane gave far less than what they envisioned. At first he’d be charming and alluring. But then later he’d turn into a tyrant of always right never wrong. He’d give more of himself to the paper instead of to them and they formed an envious lust for his love for the paper to turn to them so they could taste what his love felt like.

I thoroughly enjoyed Citizen Kane more so than I kind of thought I would. I mean I thought since I knew the ending that it would ruin the fun of the movie, but that was not the case; not at all. I laughed at many parts and saw the progression of Kane’s dark side growing and becoming more intense as the ending reared its ugly head.

This brings me to my favorite scenes. There is a scene towards the beginning that is with the magazine people and they are watching a news reel and the lighting was awesome. It caused a great effect when someone would stand in front of the projector and the camera was filming them just right. It looked cinematically majestic. Welles was just a danger because he was bigger than life on the screen with Kane it had the possibility of overpowering those who were in the same scene as him, but he had great supporting cast that not only supported him and elevated him higher but were not crowded out by his depth and dimensions as an actor. They were all able to stand side by side on the screen and become noticed for their acting and not because they were there with him. There was a montage at the dinner table. It was with Welles and Warrick and it’s one of my favorite parts of the entire movie because she’s so cantankerous with her sweet replies and he’s so dismissive. It was enthralling to watch. And the scene that was genius in it’s silly but awesome cool factor was the montage with George Coulouris who played Walter Parks Thatcher. He would look at the newspaper headlines and have a facial expression and groan because of the bad news, and that was just great.

Citizen Kane is considered a classic. I think that that sometimes ruins the movie’s chances. People think that it’s old and not relevant to the here and now. But if you are into films and you enjoy those that have great stories then this will not disappoint you. It is a classic but it’s relevant to what a powerful story can do for a movie; it can give it staying power. It gets more attention now than it did when it was created. Citizen Kane is powerful for the writing and the acting giving it richness not only in story but character. I could see myself owning this movie. It made me wish movies had such focus now as this one did then.

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