A review of the 1941 classic film “Citizen Kane”

I’ve just used lockdown to view “Citizen Kane” once more.

Widely considered – at least by critics – as the greatest film ever made and nominated for nine Academy Awards, at the time this film actually failed to recoup its costs at the box office and in fact only won one Academy Award (that for Best Writing). It was very much an Orson Welles creation: at the age of only 24, it was his first feature film but he was its producer, co-writer, director and star. 

The quasi-autobiographical film examines the life, loves and legacy of American newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, a character based on a number of real personages, most notably William Randolph Hearst (who tried hard to prevent it from being made and then from being distributed).

The structure is non-linear with a series of flashbacks representing the points of view of various Kane associates – a technique unusual at the time – and the plot is driven by something called Rosebud as a MacGuffin (an object that shapes the narrative but is itself unimportant).

Having seen “Citizen Kane” several times, I always admire it but never warm to it. I admire it for its technical brilliance with use of deep focus photography and a whole series of unusual camera angles. But I find it a dark, even unpleasant, work because Kane is such a vain, cruel and unsympathetic character. 


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>