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4 reviews, 118 user ratings

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Citizen Kane
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by Slyder

"Unquestionably one of the greatest"
5 stars

Personally, I don’t see how could anyone would be able to name one film the greatest film ever made since several come close. Sure, you have your own list for favorites, but even that is not definite. Citizen Kane is without a doubt one of the greatest films ever made for several reasons, enough for critics to name it “the greatest film ever made” and whether you agree with it is up to you. The film has been trashed and then lauded by critics and audiences it has become an enigma unto itself, and a lot of things have been written about it that it would make your head spin. But in the end, it all comes down to sitting on your ass and watching the movie.

In his deathbed, Charles Foster Kane says a word in his last breath: Rosebud. The death of one of the great American newspaper icons has shocked the world, but what did he mean by his last word? A news agency sends reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) to investigate through Kane’s life any trace of the meaning of that word. As Thompson plunges into the life of Kane, so do we, as we start from his beginnings as a kid when after discovering a gold mine, his parents (Agnes Moorehead and Harry Shannon) literally abandon him by hiring a guardian and master financier Walter Parkes Thatcher (George Coulouris). Kane and Thatcher both will bump heads when Kane reaches the age of 25 and decides to run a newspaper for fun, along with his school buddy Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten). Kane gains popularity through his newspaper but at the same time starts loosing his soul as he indulges in several disastrous adventures including his relationship with “singer” Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore) which pretty much ruins his marriage and his political career, his promoting of Susan, and the building of his high-priced castle Xanadu. In the end, he lost everything.

I would fill the entire review with all the things that it has been said about the movie and it would still be not enough and it would be already tiresome. Here are the things that make Citizen Kane awesome:

Acting: The best I’ve seen especially for it’s time.

Direction: Marvelous and highly original. Welles uses every single trick in the book when it comes to lighting, set designs, cinematography and editing and does it all one better. He uses light and shadows to prelude and point out several points of the film (Declaration of principles scene, the marriage montage). The set designs are impressive, with each set carefully lighted and designed to set the tone and mood of every scene and Kane’s state of mind. The lighting and set innovations would go on to be an integral part of film-noir.

Cinematography: Stands out even today. Gregg Toland and Welles use high-contrast deep-focus photography in order to capture the action both in the foreground and in the background in one take rather than several edits. It also enables the film to deliver a sort of ironic or juxtaposition-like meaning (the action/mood in the foreground contrast with the action/mood in the background; an example is the party scene in which Welles celebrates the buying out of the rival paper The Chronicle’s staff). The scene in which Kane and Jed are shot from ground-up depicting their peak levels of fame still stands as one of the most memorable takes I’ve personally seen.

Editing: From soon-to-be director Robert Wise, he and Welles not only construct a concise and solid cut filled mostly with transitionary dissolving edits, but also supply a series of montages which compress time and space in a matter of minutes, a glaring examples is the Breakfast Marriage montage in which summarizes Kane’s marriage with his first wife Emily Norton (Ruth Warrick) perfectly.

There are several other things too many to mention, like the use of make up in order to age the actors and the dark, gloomy music of the legendary maestro Bernard Herrmann. But all in all it wouldn’t work if it weren’t for the story co-written by Herman Mankiewicz and Welles himself, which is an examination of morals and the values of money and what money does to you and the things you do for money and later regret. In the end, as the film reaches closer into the meaning of Rosebud, you can’t help but feel sorry for Charles Foster Kane, but also wonder aloud about the injustice of what money can do to you, either directly or indirectly.

The film’s historical importance not only is centered on its technical innovations and screenplay, but also as a turning point in film history since it marked the first time a director was given total control over his movie. It was the first truly independent film, and the first true “auteur” film. It was thanks to this film that the subsequent “auteur” theory would later be developed by legendary filmmaker Francois Truffaut (who grandly respected Welles), and also later put in practice by Truffaut and most notably the equally legendary Ingmar Bergman, among others.

Unfortunately Welles was trashed by Newspaper tycoon (and gigantic scam artist and yellow press creator) William Randolph Hearst and her “slave” gossip columnist Luella Parsons since the film was loosely about him, and caused a gigantic smear campaign against Welles and the Hollywood industry itself. This climaxed in the 1942 Oscar celebration in which Welles was ignored and humiliated when he and his film only took one Oscar (for the screenplay) out of the film’s nine nominations while John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley -a great film in its own right but that in all honesty doesn’t hold a bag of shit to Citizen Kane- took home the Oscars for director and film. Welles never recovered the artistic control he had even though he managed to make several high quality films despite the fact that they were butchered in one way or another by the studios, which always saw his films as “un-commercial.” Yet, the irony is that these people are the ones that would later give him a lifetime achievement award for all his work.

Right. What a way to praise a legend.

In the end, Citizen Kane not only represents the pinnacle of filmmaking as an art form as well as a revolutionary film which changed the course of filmmaking forever, it also the film which indirectly revealed how shitty Hollywood has turned out to be afterwards and the political and commercial trash that surrounds it. It's all now a pile of shit in which everything no matter if its great or not has to be fitted, trimmed or butchered for commercial reasons, and the current hiring of incompetent filmmakers rehashing age-old formulas instead of molding something original is the top priority. But then Hollywood is like politics, it only accepts what it’s in its best interest, and as long as the interest is purely to make money, I can’t see a change on the horizon any sooner. 5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1617&reviewer=235
originally posted: 09/30/04 18:47:05
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
3/21/15 stanley welles the epitome of filmmaking 5 stars
1/09/14 Danielsan The greatest movie of all time. Orson Welles' story of Kane is a masterpiece. 5 stars
11/30/12 roscoe zero entertainment. it is about the life of someone I did not give a shit about. 1 stars
5/20/12 keith miron I liked the strange visuls 3 stars
10/18/11 Magic Until this movie, every other movie was reinventing cinema. None after this one. 5 stars
11/13/10 Bob I'm an idiot, you're a sheep. 3 stars
9/04/10 Mark F. Anyone not giving this 5 statrs is an idiot 5 stars
6/02/10 User Name Perhaps not the greatest American film, but definantly the most important. 5 stars
5/19/10 Veers Its not about the story line, look at the techniques used to make it. Brand new at the time 4 stars
4/04/09 Alfonso Turnage Some rich guy dies and leaves behind a shed NOONE cares about . . . 1 stars
7/09/08 Quigley Extremely well-shot, written, made and acted but doesn't live up to its enormous reputation 4 stars
2/04/08 Paul Shortt THE BEST FILM OF ALL TIME! 5 stars
1/25/08 proper amateur film critic brilliant piece of cinema in every sense of the medium 5 stars
9/07/07 MP Bartley 5 stars? Yes. Greatest film ever made? No. 5 stars
5/09/07 smartalick A total masterpiece with film techniques never used previously. 5 stars
3/03/07 STANLEY weingarden the very best film ever made 5 stars
2/23/07 George Would have preferred if life scenes were in sequence and it had more emotional content. 4 stars
11/30/06 Bitchflaps Believe the hype 5 stars
10/22/06 Wat awsome but im retarded 5 stars
10/16/06 Isaac Baranoff Best movie ever....no kidding! 5 stars
7/17/06 David Cohen Maybe not the best, but certainly in the top five 5 stars
5/15/06 bmac good movie. not great but good 4 stars
5/04/06 hanaz hectic movie very interesting and easy 2 study and i absolutely luv it 5 stars
5/02/06 monalisa not pedantic enough for today's moviegoers 5 stars
4/03/06 John Aster Habig like looking a man die before his death Kane lost his soul 5 stars
3/30/06 kerry fucking diarrhea shit.Good technique but a film devoid of any soul or heart. 1 stars
1/29/06 Desiree Gillegao very well done! such a nice movie ever! 5 stars
12/02/05 maoron com on this movie i boring and yiu know it worst mvie ever 5 stars
11/10/05 zeitgeist Not for most, since most are idiots 5 stars
8/15/05 Klondo great movies shouldn't make you say, "Great editing and directing!" 3 stars
8/04/05 ALDO not the best movie ever made, film geeks. Learn to think for yourselves. 3 stars
6/29/05 Lord Durvok II Obviously, the only ones who didn't enjoy this were air-headed, stupid kids... 5 stars
6/26/05 Julie Picking Incredible!! beautiful!! 5 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper Far too potent and intelligent a film for most movie goers today. A film of substance. 5 stars
5/27/05 Walker Incredible directing and acting, while maybe not the most fun to watch, still a masterpiece 5 stars
5/07/05 JJ stupid people who want others to think they are smart pretend to like this crap 1 stars
4/13/05 brody more ass taste then the olive garden 1 stars
3/17/05 indrid cold The ultimate example of being good in the academic sense and bad in the entertainment sense 3 stars
2/27/05 Tylor I had to watch it as an assignment in school, I will be teling them it sucked balls,it does 1 stars
1/18/05 ads boringboringboringboring 1 stars
11/05/04 Naka Why yes, this movie DOES sodomize AvP with a rusty garden rake. Shut the fuck up, potheads. 5 stars
10/01/04 Katheryn Cinematic perfection 5 stars
8/28/04 Conor Crockford masterpiece 5 stars
8/21/04 Peter James One of the best films ever made and AVP was one of the year's worst 5 stars
7/10/04 Paul Carone Citizen Kane is the Citizen Kane of...Citizen...Kane 1 stars
7/08/04 Stevo Stupid people hate this film 5 stars
5/20/04 Ray Perfect in every sense 5 stars
5/17/04 Monster W. Kung If you think this movie is bad, you're probably a retard. 5 stars
5/14/04 Gary well filmed but boring 4 stars
5/12/04 Emily amazing- esp. for its time 5 stars
5/09/04 Lori Jordan it was horrible and boring, i almost fell asleep 1 stars
4/05/04 Anonymusser Had its moments. Completely overrated. 2 stars at best. BOOOOO!!!! 2 stars
3/22/04 Trannon Goble Horrid waste of film 1 stars
2/16/04 Mr. Blonde Just a fantastic film. One of the greatest cinematic achievements ever, uh, achieved. 5 stars
1/30/04 Desperado you guys are dipshits, period, great movie ahead of its time,its sad you cant see that 5 stars
1/24/04 Elena The problem is that it's dated. We are all used to action. But it's still engaging I find. 5 stars
12/26/03 I Would Greatest film ever? Hmm, not sure about that one yet but I'll keep you posted :-) 5 stars
11/21/03 adguy Just the best movie ever made, that's all. 5 stars
11/14/03 Ultron Not a single bad scene in the movie. Infinitely re-watchable. 5 stars
9/27/03 Alan I am sure those who call it Total Crap say the same for Moby Dick. Requires some intellect. 5 stars
9/21/03 Monster W. Kung If you didn't see Kane, you're not a cinema fan. If you didn't LIKE Kane, you're an idiot. 5 stars
9/17/03 John_Oconnor No Comment 1 stars
7/23/03 Max Blue Lagoon? WTF? This is the best movie of all time, bar none!!!! 5 stars
6/19/03 John Aster Habig Charles Foster Kane the story of a hero in a villianous persona 5 stars
5/20/03 Ryan F. The epitome of a masterpiece. It moved me to my very bones. In my Top Five List 5 stars
5/12/03 Movie Man There is no equal to casablanca 4 stars
4/18/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik masterful 5 stars
2/10/03 Ubu the Ripper Lucas, Spielberg, and Cameron wish to God they knew how to make a movie this good. 5 stars
2/03/03 mdk He lost is childhood. I guess so, he went from 10 to 25 yrs old. No explanation inbetween. 3 stars
1/25/03 djfbnfm An all-out masterpiece. 5 stars
12/30/02 Bob Hardcore If you didn't like it, then you're just a stupid moron. 5 stars
12/16/02 Jeremiah I kept waiting for something interesting to happen... it never did. 2 stars
12/02/02 Matt way overrated based on influential camera work, but still very good 4 stars
11/25/02 Alex Brosky Disappointing 1 stars
11/24/02 Mason I LOVE this film, i watch it, literally, every day! 5 stars
11/21/02 Greg this is fantastic 5 stars
11/21/02 dead good 5 stars
11/20/02 Mason Best movie EVER 5 stars
10/08/02 Chance i never realized how many special effects were in the movie until I listened to Roger Ebert 5 stars
7/30/02 Grace Full Not - I repeat NOT - the greatest film of all time. But an excellent effort 4 stars
5/14/02 Hey Vidmar, you idiot. If this movie is given 5 stars by you for being technologically ahead of its time. Why don't you give the same rating for Star Wars? 5 stars
3/01/02 Unagiboy If you think about when this film was made, the style and production is brilliant 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance good yeah, but amazing....hardly 3 stars
1/09/02 Joshy Woshy If someone gives away what Rosebud means, destroy their genitalia 5 stars
10/21/01 Cookie Cutter An amazing story, with multiple subtexts and incredible visuals. A landmark. 5 stars
10/21/01 Andrew Carden Moorehead Is Wonderful, Such A Great Actress. 4 stars
10/18/01 Ricky Viva las Citizen Kane! 5 stars
9/18/01 Lisa Amazing.. Need we say more? 5 stars
9/05/01 spaceworm Demand a top-dramer sound system for this one. 5 stars
8/01/01 KC Au Easy to praise this classic : excellent direction, acting, and plot. One of my favorites. 5 stars
7/15/01 Tony Hansen Recheck your history TMC. This movie was not hated and booed when it was released. 5 stars
5/02/01 Andy Ramijj Worth a try, good entertainment for black and white 4 stars
4/12/01 Anna THe most beautiful film ever made.Fantastic 5 stars
3/27/01 Jesse L If you don't like this movie, go buy a WWF season ticket 5 stars
3/19/01 TNT-6 Fantastic, deep, classic, groundbreaking. A movie that will forever be a classic. 5 stars
2/20/01 moviebuff Excellent ! when you discover the hidden messages, the more amazed you'll be! 5 stars
2/14/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Every directing technique in this move was a landmark. 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky. 5 stars
12/13/00 nick white without this movies today would suck dick 5 stars
12/06/00 Cristopher Revilla Good techniques and script, the best ever!!! 5 stars
10/21/00 Macross Good film. Almost made me ejaculate in my pants 5 stars
9/22/00 Mark The best ever 5 stars
8/31/00 ami good 5 stars
5/13/00 Bruce One of the best 5 stars
2/16/00 sarah meyers Amazing that Welles can make such an awesome movie with the intent on poking fun a Hearst. 4 stars
1/13/00 henry hill The Masterpiece 5 stars
11/29/99 Mic If only it had a tiny bit more plot... oh well, just nitpicking. 5 stars
11/18/99 Tyson Stewart After Eyes Wide Shut, it's the best film I hav ever seen! 5 stars
10/04/99 mariam mirbaba very well done, i really enjoyed it 4 stars
6/15/99 Heather There are a lot of hidden meanings that can be related to our life. 5 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Thought provoking. Timeless classic. 5 stars
6/10/99 Belinda K gets better each time I watch it 4 stars
4/18/99 jimmy jam Classic.Nuf said 5 stars
4/03/99 Albert You people don't even know why this is fucking awesome. 5 stars
3/14/99 Ah Dooey There was a movie in the 40s?! Dude! Flashback! 5 stars
3/13/99 OZ Welles was on another plane of thought. 5 stars
2/21/99 little jerry One of the few golden oldies that stays eternally fresh.Puts most modern film to shame. 5 stars
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  01-May-1941 (PG)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2011



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