Citizen Kane: 75th Anniversary (DVD)

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

Citizen Kane: Who is Charles Foster Kane based on?

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.

Image result for joseph cotten in citizen kane images

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?


  1. The one movie that completely lived up to it’s hype. This movie I’ll never say is over rated because it gives you everything. The acting is great and just the camera shots alone are worth it. I’ve never seen an actor turn into a character quite like Welles does…one of the most natural actors I’ve ever seen…it’s like he is making up the words on the spot.

    Great review Hans…I think it’s time for yet another watch.

  2. I saw this film-classic many, many years ago, actually, several times. But you inspired me to watch it again. It’s always interesting to see a film after years again. Fortunately, I wrote in my diary about it and I am curious how I will see it now.
    All the best.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

  3. I’m one of the few who’ve never seen it! And I do know at least two people who have but don’t like it. That said, it’s earned enough raves everywhere that it is definitely on my movie bucket list.

  4. While not among my personal all-time top 10 favorite films, I do love it and acknowledge that it’s one of the greatest films of all time on so many levels: screenplay, acting, cinematography, editing and musical score.

  5. I’ve tried to watch it a few times but it was confusing which made it frustrating. I like the tips you give here with the newsreel and listening to the commentary track. Welles had a stellar career in motion pictures from every which way, unreal he’d be criticized as a failure!!!!! I also like Joseph Cotten who has been in so many good movies. Good choice and good review!

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