Eighty-one years ago today, the film Citizen Kane was released. It was a box office flop and openly booed at the Academy Awards that year, but it received Best Picture at the New York Film Critics Circle Award and Best Film from the National Board of Review. Not until RKO sold it’s library to television in 1956 and it started appearing in people’s homes and the rerelease in theaters did the recognition of the film start to change. It is continually on the top, if not the top of every best film of all time list for it’s subject matter, it’s cinematography, writing, and acting. I first saw it in high school in a film appreciation class, but then sought it out in a theater showing. You should do the same if you ever see it listed. It’s dark and cold, lonely, and beautiful.
Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; ‘Rosebud’.
Directed by: Orson Welles
Produced by: Orson Welles
Screenplay by: Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart, Ruth Warrick, Erskine Sanford, and William Alland
Music by: Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Edited by: Robert Wise
Production company: Mercury Productions
Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures
Release date: September 5, 1941
Running time: 119 minutes
After his death, the life of Charles Foster Kane – newspaper magnate and all-round larger-than-life American – is told from the perspective of those who knew him. A newspaper reporter is interviewing those in Kane’s life hoping to learn the meaning of Kane’s last word, Rosebud. Kane was sent to a boarding school at a young age after his mother struck it rich thanks to a mining claim that was signed over to her in lieu of rent. He came into his vast fortune at the age of 25 and promptly bought a newspaper. His idea of news was to make it as much as report it and along with his good friend, Jedediah Leland, had a rollicking good time. Unsuccessful in his bid for political office, his relationships with those around him begin to deteriorate and he dies, old and alone, whispering the word Rosebud.