Citizen Kane

If you are reading this to hear me say “it’s overrated” then you have come to the wrong place. Some say it’s the best film ever made…I will not argue that statement. I have watched this 1941 film at least 8 times and have enjoyed it every single time. Before I watched this movie I had read all the accolades the movie received through the years. This is one of the few movies that lived up to them.

Orson Welles is the most natural actor in this movie I’ve ever seen. He IS Charles Foster Kane.

The camera work is still fantastic and holds up to this day and it’s been copied over and over. The below floor level shots and others make it a beautiful film to watch. You can see this movie’s influence in a countless number of movies that followed.

Orson based his character off of William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, actress Marion Davies. That fact brought Orson trouble that would haunt him. Hearst owned everything at that time…newspapers and businesses across the globe and had as much influence as a person could have. He didn’t care too much for this movie because it was too close for comfort. If you ever get the chance…see the documentary “The Battle Over Citizen Kane.”

He stopped advertisements in his newspapers and did everything in his power to stop and sabotage the film.

Orson made some great movies after this but never…to me reached this pinnacle again. That is really unfair because I don’t think anyone has reached this high again.

The plot? The movie, unlike other movies at the time, starts at the end. The mighty Charles Foster Kane dies but before he does he utters one last word “Rosebud” and everybody tries to find out what he meant by that. Reporters will go interview everyone in his life trying to find the answer and all the while…Kane’s story is being told. One of the lines in the movie is “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life.” That is true but it’s what “Rosebud” represents that helps make this movie great.

The movie flows so well from beginning to end.

When the silent movie era ended…the first “talkies” were clumsy with the actors/actresses overacting with their theater training. The studios were also using bulky cameras and microphones that left the scenes stationary. This movie ended all of that. Citizen Kane changed the cinema for good. Up until this movie, we got the same old shots, stiff acting, theater makeup, and mediocre music scores… You couldn’t get by with that anymore after this movie.

Is it the best movie ever? That is subjective but for me, the answer is…yes.


Here is the cast from Wiki

Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland, Kane’s best friend and a reporter for The Inquirer. Cotten also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane, Kane’s mistress and second wife.

Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Kane’s mother.

Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Kane’s first wife.

Ray Collins as Jim W. Gettys, Kane’s political rival for the post of Governor of New York.

Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter, editor of The Inquirer. Sanford also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein, Kane’s friend and employee at The Inquirer.

William Alland as Jerry Thompson, a reporter for News on the March. Alland also voices the narrator of the News on the March newsreel.

Paul Stewart as Raymond, Kane’s butler.

George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher, a banker who becomes Kane’s legal guardian.

Fortunio Bonanova as Signor Matiste, vocal coach of Susan Alexander Kane.

Gus Schilling as John, headwaiter at the El Rancho nightclub. Schilling also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.[8]

Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston, News on the March producer.[8]

Georgia Backus as Bertha Anderson, an attendant at the library of Walter Parks Thatcher.[8]

Harry Shannon as Jim Kane, Kane’s father.[8]

Sonny Bupp as Charles Foster Kane III, Kane’s son.

Buddy Swan as Charles Foster Kane, age eight.

Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper publisher


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

40 thoughts on “Citizen Kane”

  1. I agree this movie is fabulous! Orson is one of my favorites. I was thinking if he comes back he can play me in the movie of my life. I think he could play anyone. I don’t know what movie I have watched the most times but it could be this. I also was able to see it years ago on the big screen. Joseph Cotten another of my favorites also great in this. Great selection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to see this on big screen really bad. I should have mentioned Joesph Cotten…so many great actors/actresses in here. I thought of this while talking about Agnes Moorehead a few weeks ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it was in the early 90’s- in Pittsburgh at a theater it was playing for a week- I just had to see it on the big screen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote this story about Nefertiti the Egyptian Queen sitting on the banks of Nile bathing her long slender legs as she lamented over the recent loss of her husband. Nefertiti removed her royal cap revealing her shaved head knowing that she was now in charge of Egypt. Nefertiti sobbed as she sat on the bank of the Nile splashing her feet in the water, contemplating what to do with her life now that Pharaoh Akhenaten was dead. Pharaoh Akhenaten said, “Until the swan grows black, And the Raven becomes white, Until the Mountains rise up and walk, And the waters flow uphill” that his new faith would endure. Nefertiti was puzzled over his last words, why would he utter the four symbols of life “sun, earth, air and water” and did he use his last breath to say “Rosebud”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! I have that show…I have a lot of the Cavett shows… Dick Cavett was/is my favorite talk show host. He didn’t interview…he had conversations. No stupid lame jokes…he did a monologue and got to business. He spent the complete show with Orson…
      Orson was one of the few real geniuses of film…he was heavily flawed but one all the same.


  3. Stellar review, Max. The movie is everything you “say” it is. Is it the best movie of all time? Speaking objectively–which is very hard for me to do with film–I could certainly make a robust argument that it is. But I wouldn’t need to do that. I would just use your review. Orson Welles makes me proud to be an American.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If there is a genius of film…Orson would be it. He was flawed also but I could just hear the man talk for hours. I have searched out interviews of him…the one with Cavett is great.
      Thanks for the comment Pam. It’s hard to judge films against other films from different eras…but this one is special.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This movie as you say is the A1 of A1 movies. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. My father was in awe of this movie and made me watch it with him as a very young lad, but I rarely got past the ‘rosebud’ sleigh scene in the snow without falling asleep. My favourite line in the movie is when Mr Bernstein recalls his encounter with a woman on the street and there wasn’t a day he couldn’t recall her face. That is magic right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s subjective but the movie is so beautiful. That scene you are talking about is wonderful. Orson was such a fine actor…in this movie it doesn’t seem like he is acting. Compare this with the other movies around this time…there you can see how in front of everyone he was…and still is in some ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Once again it proves that creative artistic genius is more common for people in their 20’s.
        It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Welles got some of his inspiration from Charles Dickens ‘Grand Expectations’ which I’m just finishing reading now and deals with this whole class nonsense and ‘nobleness’ which Kane certainly takes a heavy hand to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That does make sense Matt. I read about him today…his IQ was 185…but he was so down to earth in a lot of ways.I liked him just as much as an actor as I did Director…and that is a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It doesn’t surprise me in the least the guy had an enormous IQ. Obviously only a genius in their 20’s could even contemplate let alone carry that out. I mean even most geniuses couldn’t even get close to what he did even if they tried. How did he have that wisdom at that age to even think that sh&t up? Haha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Usually great art and IQ doesn’t mix as much…it did in this case big time.
        I know! What a story and we must remember starting at the end at a story was not the norm…and to make it flow.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Matt…I think my comments are going to your spam folder…I’ve commented last night and twice today on your blog and I see nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I went back to add the other reply so I thought I would check yesterday…and sure enough it was gone. This has happened to me before so I knew what was going on.
        Thanks for checking.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Max thanks for directing me to your review. I think this is what spurred me to watch it and so I wanted to wait until after seeing it to make comment. I’ll be 100% honest with you when I say I couldn’t get all of the way through it. I tried but I had it on loan from the library and not enough time to watch it in pieces. It’s a lot to take in all in one sitting. The part where he’s a little kid sticks out for me and was quite endearing. I wasn’t thinking of the action in this as a game changer for Hollywood, but now that you mention it, it is a groundbreaker if it was the first to do this format.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thanks for reading it Lisa…I don’t like pushing my own stuff…but sometimes when I write something I’ll think…I wonder what ___ will think of this… and you were one of the ___ or I wouldn’t have pushed you.

      It may not be one you enjoy… when you do tell me good or bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good write up mate. Love to read people describe their favourite art. I watched this while at university — don’t recall strong feelings either way but will certainly rewatch.


      1. I got ya…Bernie I’m an idiot…I was thinking something else… Yes I agree. Wasn’t he Charles Foster Cain in this movie? I mean I buy it hook line and sinker.
        He was brilliant and flawed…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, I gotcha. All good. That’s what really gets me. All of our movie stars seem to peak in their late 30s. This guy engulfed the entirety of filmmaking and acting all in one and created a masterpiece that we continue to copy over and over, and he did it at 25. It just baffles me. Glad I went back a few days to retrace your posts. Kane is one of my top ten for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was wondering what you thought of it. I mean it’s one of those movies that lived up to the hype and more.
        I want to do more movie posts…maybe one every two weeks…I just don’t do them well… but I’m going to try.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s one that broke ground for most of what we see today, and it’s actually better and better with each viewing, so I’m a huge fan! You’re an excellent writer, and I don’t know how you know so many classic rock songs. So, yes, if you’ve got the time, please add movies to your canon! Especially with the asterisk of baseball this year!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes….I notice something different everytime I watch it.
        I appreciate it but as Clint says…A man knows his limitations….but so be it Ill do it anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

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