Blind Spot Series: Citizen Kane

This is my 2nd entry in Ryan McNeil of The Matinee's 2014 Blind Spot series. Here is my initial post.

What I knew going in: I knew what Rosebud was, which turns out is a gigantic spoiler.

Before the Dos Equis guy was the most interesting man in the world, Charles Kane (Orson Welles) was. He was a rich newspaper tycoon who has recently passed away. The last word he uttered was "rosebud." Since Kane was the hottest news item, a reporter named Jerry Thompson (William Alland) is assigned to figure how who 'Rosebud' is. We see him interview a few of Kane's old friends, colleagues, and wives.

This movie came with high expectations. It's frequently called 'The greatest film of all time.' Or I've seen this reference 'This is the 'Citizen Kane' of blah blah blah.' I didn't even bother to read the synopsis of it before adding it to my Blind Spot list, I just knew I *had* to see this one.  Did it live up to those expectations? Not exactly.

There were some things I really admire about Citizen Kane. The thing that stuck out the most were some of the camera techniques being used. I felt like I was watching them at their inception, and that was truly a gratifying experience. The film itself was never boring, but when I think about the hype this movie comes along with, I don't even think it would make my top 30. This film to me was just "okay" not spectacular, just okay. Still, I'm glad I finally got around to watching it, as I do feel it's still an essential film to watch, I just didn't love it as much as I was expecting to. Please don't throw things at me.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I know too many people. I guess we're both just lonely." - Charles Kane (Orson Welles)

12 comments:

  1. I saw this film last year as the first of my 12 Blind Spots for 2013 and it kicked it off with a bang. I was amazed by the visuals as well as some of the ambiguities though I knew what "Rosebud" was before I saw in the film.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm thinking this may be a case where expectations were so high that it was hard to gauge the movie. I think Citizen Kane is a fascinating film and does so much from a technical perspective that had rarely been done in the past.

    That said, it wouldn't be in my top 10 of all time, so I can understand your reaction. I don't have a personal connection to it, but I admire the hell out of what it accomplished. Welles is a fascinating guy who did so much for the medium with his fairly small number of movies.

    Regardless, I'm glad you checked it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do admire what it did, and I'm glad I saw it too. But you're right. My expectations were way too high.

      Delete
  3. "You just want to persuade people that you love 'em so much that they ought to love you back..."

    The story itself has aged pretty well, no? The concept of a person being so hellbent on becoming rich and powerful, that he forsakes so much to get it. That and the concept of a media mogul becoming politically influential are two beats I think still work amazingly well.

    As Steve and Dan both said - this movie comes with a lot of baggage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It did age well. Usually there are parts of classic movies that I chuckle to myself about because they feel corny, but I never had that with this one.

      Delete
  4. I do appreciate it myself, but just like you I certainly didn't love it. It often tops the list of best films ever made, but how many people actually claim to love it? I don't, would rather watch Jurassic Park, I love that.

    I might start this blind Spot series, going to start off with Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal and some Alejandro Jabberwocky (Jodorowsky), probably The Holy Mountain and from Fellani I will check out 8 1/2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I would much rather watch Jurassic Park too. You should jump on the Blind Spot bandwagon! I have a few Ingmar Bergman films on my list too.

      Delete
  5. I personally loved the hell out of this movie and consider it a masterpiece. The best film of all time...? No, but a richly deserved title for a film that basically did so much before any other film dared to attempt it. And Welles is magnificent here.

    You should see Todd Haynes 'Velvet Goldmine' if you haven't. He borrows heavily from Welles narrative structure here and creates a really interesting take on this same film, but from a vastly different center.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to keep an eye out for Velvet Goldmine. I didn't mind Kane at all, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

      Delete
  6. I think it's flawless in a technical sense, but I can see why it would be a bit of a letdown. Of course, it's not even my favorite film of '41 (The Maltese Falcon), but it's still one of my all-time faves.

    ReplyDelete

If you're reading this sentence you should probably leave a comment.