2021 Movie Draft- Round 3 Pick 6- Hanspostcard selects drama/mystery- Citizen Kane.
Film- Citizen Kane
Director- Orson Welles
Writers- Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography- Gregg Toland
Film editing- Robert Wise
Released September 5, 1941
Rated: PG Movie Time: 1 Hour and 59 minutes
Stars- Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane
Joseph Cotten- Jedidiah Leland
Dorothy Comingore- Susan Alexander Kane
Ruth Warrick- Emily Monroe Norton Kane
Ray Collins- James W. Gettys
Everett Sloane- Mr. Bernstein
Agnes Moorehead- Kane’s mother
In critics polls over the past sixty or seventy years Citizen Kane is always consistently ranked as the pick for greatest movie ever- or is pretty close to the top. Orson Welles first film [ the boy wonder was 25 years old at the time ] was a game changer in its innovation.
The movie begins- with the ending of the life of Charles Foster Kane. Not to give anything away but even if you haven’t seen the movie I am sure you know- Kane’s last word before dying was “Rosebud.” Kane dies and then they set the movie up by showing a newsreel highlighting the life of Charles Foster Kane- one of the most powerful men of the 20th century. The newsreel is essential because it gives you his life chronologically. Without this the rest of the movie would have been hard to sort out. The character Charles Foster Kane was based on the publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst- of course Orson Welles would for legal reasons never admit to that.
Welles gives a remarkable performance as Kane. He plays Kane from the ages of mid 20’s until his death in his 70’s and it looks totally believable all along the way. The make up artists sure did a great job on him. The film is filled with great acting performances many were old friends of Orson’s from his New York days- and were making their first film appearances. One I want to single out is the great Joseph Cotten who plays Orson’s friend Jedidiah Leland. Cotten would go on to work often with Welles in the future and have a long and distinguished career of his own. This was the first movie I saw Cotten in- what a great character actor. To me he plays the most likeable character in the movie.
The movie shows the rise and fall of Kane. He is a complex figure. There are times in this movie where I really like the character and times I dislike him. I have seen this movie a few dozen times -and was lucky enough to see it twice in the movie theaters. In anticipation of writing this review I watched it again a couple days ago [I usually watch it at least once a year.} It never bores me and I see new things in the movie with every viewing.
If you love movies- this is a movie I’d put on the MUST SEE list. I would also recommend tracking down the DVD version which has a second disc- the excellent American Experience “The Battle Over Citizen Kane” documentary. Also on the movie disc are bonuses which includes separate voice over commentaries from Roger Ebert and an old friend of Orson’s director Peter Bogdanovich which add a lot to the movie.
When I was growing up as a young teen the name Orson Welles meant- those wine commercials he made. I had also heard he was a man whose first movie was a masterpiece but after that was something of a failure never living up to his promise. When I was around twenty I saw Kane for the first time and became fascinated with Orson Welles. I think whoever made the claim that Welles was a failure after Citizen Kane is way off- he had a fascinating career both as a director and actor. Did he ever match Citizen Kane? No he didn’t. But has anyone else?