Movie View: Citizen Kane (1941)

(Let me take note that this post is meant to account for Herzhog’s blog challenge that if I succeed in, I will be granted $55 and a coupon for 25% off at any FYI retailer)


Oh yeah. You better believe it. It’s about to be 1941 all up in here.

Citizen Kane. Deemed as one of the greatest movies in Cinema. Nominated for 16 Academy Awards. Instituted a revolution in film history with its unique cinematography for that era. That Citizen Kane. Not Bold enough for ya?


Got it? Good.

It’s clearly had an influence on modern cinema. I happened to of noticed strong similarities between this and the new Star Wars films. Remember Anakin Skywalker?

This guy. If you don’t remember, here’s a quick synopsis. He was taken away from his home as a child to be raised to be a Jedi. Anakin went on to be a noble warrior among them, but once he recognized his power, he became corrupted and went bat-shit evil (aka, becoming Darth Vader).

Very similar to the story of Charles Foster Kane. Except, ya know, less CGI and not nearly as many spaceships or aliens. Also, feel free to replace “Jedi” with entrepreneur.


Oh wait, nevermind. That’s not really a spoiler. It’s the first scene in the movie.

Before I go on, did you notice how well that was done? The framing of the castle in the background seems to just naturally get bigger with each transition. The placement of the surroundings just magically works with the transition before it.

This is 1941, ladies and gentlemen. The most advanced shot you’ll get from your average movie is the reverse-reverse over the shoulder conversation shot.

Now, the world gets word of his death, and the only thing they have to go for him is two things. One, a short film summing up his life in a few minutes based on what the media has known of him. After watching the film, it almost seems like a parody. Two, his last dying words. “Rosebud.”

So a mystery is triggered. Who or what is Rosebud? A small group of journalists try to find out by asking Kane’s personal friends and even his second ex-wife. This group tries searching through his whole personal life just to find out, and as they do, they learn of his rise and fall as an imperial newspaper owner.

You see most of his life, yet you still wonder what made him so power hungry. Take a look at this scene from his younger adulthood.

This is the scene I wish to account for the challenge with.

Again, fantastic cinematography, mainly in the lighting. I’m not sure if this is right, but I think the dark shadow over Kane represents his fierce dedication to what he is saying. Perhaps it merely to draw attention to him, since he’s in the most darkness. But I feel it parallels what he is saying. How exactly, I wanna know. Maybe there isn’t supposed to be a specific meaning. Part of the reason why this movie is boss is because of the shots themselves. What the shots mean could be interpreted.

It would seem contradictory though, wouldn’t it? Dark shadows are usually for shady figures or omninous thoughts. But Mr.Kane here is speaking like a Ron Paul of the newspaper business. And that guy’s pretty goddamn honest.

I'm no Republican, but I'd vote for this guy

He is the only dark figure in the room. Any CK veteran would know how much of an asshole he’s gonna be. Is it a foreshadow? Maybe he be speaking truly, but the shadow is saying “Ha! Yeah Right!”

I would think he’s just being drawn attention to frame-wise. But looking at that, notice how he’s surrounded by people looking at him. Kane is a guy who thrives off of attention. Could the shadow foreshadow his downfall due to his need to be loved by others?

Those are my guesses. Feel free to educate me on the matter.

The whole film is built on these many paradigmatic connotations (proudly learned those words yesterday). Kane is a hard guy to read from beginning to end. All you can really see is a sad old man who just wanted to be happy. *SPOILER* And all it would of took was a sled named Rosebud.

Fantastically acted, especially by director Orsen Wells, and a damn good piece of work. Kicking the crap out of most modern films, it certainly earns the #1 spot of many lists for Greatest Movies of All Time.

4/4 Stars


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#1   Daniel Min on 09.20.11 at 3:38 pm

Great insight! It totally threw me off guard how Kane’s misfortune is very similar to Skywalker’s.

#2   Eric Dorcean on 10.09.11 at 3:56 pm

I gotta agree with Daniel, great way to compare two great films together. Comparing Kane and Skywalker was something i never even considered but looking back, it does make sense.

#3   Lorena Russi on 10.12.11 at 12:13 am

I think he’s covered in shadow to illustrate the irony in what he’s saying. He’s trying to come off as someone honest and true and yet the dark shadows, ominously covering him, seem to indicate otherwise.
And yes, he absolutely was a sad old man. Spoiler alert, citizen kane is not a romantic comedy

#4   Raaj Mangroo on 10.14.11 at 7:16 am

I like that you speak of the movie’s influence to other movies in modern times because in this class we talk about old films and do not mention much about new films

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