Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
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|Format||Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Collector's Edition, NTSC, Subtitled|
|Contributor||Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles|
|Runtime||1 hour and 59 minutes|
Orson Welles’ timeless masterwork is more than a groundbreaking film. Presented here in a magnificent 70th anniversary digital transfer with revitalized digital audio from the highest quality surviving elements, it is also grand entertainment, sharply acted and superbly directed with inspired visual flair. Depicting the controversial life of an influential publishing tycoon, this Best Original Screenplay Academy Award Winner (1941) is rooted in themes of power, corruption, vanity—the American Dream lost in the mystery of a dying man’s last word: “Rosebud.”
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 5.12 x 0.59 x 6.69 inches; 4.94 Ounces
- Director : Orson Welles
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Collector's Edition, NTSC, Subtitled
- Run time : 1 hour and 59 minutes
- Release date : September 13, 2011
- Actors : Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten
- Dubbed: : Spanish
- Subtitles: : Czech, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, Portuguese
- Studio : Warner Bros.
- ASIN : B0050G3NWG
- Number of discs : 3
- Best Sellers Rank: #100,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #6,358 in Drama Blu-ray Discs
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2018
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But is it the best motion picture ever made? Perhaps. Most movie critics consider 1939 to be the greatest year in the history of American cinema, but 1941-the year "Kane" was made-is a close second. It's a story told almost entirely in flashback, as a group of reporters interview people to try to discover what Kane meant by his dying last word: "Rosebud." Kane's assistant Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) (he's never given a first name; it's just "Mr. Bernstein" or "Bernstein") thinks it might have been a girl. "There were a lot of them in the early days." Kane's friend and partner Jed Leland (Joseph Cotten) says he read about Kane's "dying words" in the Enquirer (Kane's newspaper). "Well, I never believed anything I saw in the Enquirer."
Charles Foster Kane became a multi-millionaire quite by accident. As a boy, he lived with his parents in "Mrs. Kane's Boarding House" in Colorado. A boarder who couldn't pay his bill left Mrs. Kane a deed to a worthless (or so he believed) gold mine. It turned out to be the Colorado lode, one of richest mines in the world. And now we have a scene which has always disturbed me. Young Charles is playing in the snow with his sled and building a snowman when Mr. Thatcher (George Coulouris), a prominent banker, comes to visit. He's going to take the very rich Charles away with him on a train trip. What's more, the scene makes it very clear that Charles is never going to see his parents again. WHY? Mary Kane, who is so depressed one can barely look at her, is played by Agnes Moorehead, making her screen debut at the age of 40. But again, why is it necessary to separate Charles from his parents just because he's rich? No wonder he attacked Thatcher with a sled.
Fast forward to Kane, now 21, and completely independent from the firm of "Thatcher and Company." In a letter to Thatcher, he tells him he's not interested in oil wells, gold mines, etc., but would like to buy a bankrupt newspaper because, "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper." When the very rich and powerful confront a reality they don't like, they often use that money and power to try and change it. When Kane is confronted by his wife and his political opponent Gettys (Ray Collins)-Kane is running for governor-about his affair with Susan Alexander and Gettys tells him he won't print the story if Kane withdraws from the race, Kane totally refuses ("Nobody's going to tell me what to do!"). The people love him (Jed Leland: "You talk about the people as if you own them."), and will elect him no matter what he's done. He was wrong.
To quote Leland once again, Kane "spent his whole life trying to prove something." After Emily Monroe Norton (Ruth Warrick), Kane's first wife, dies in a car accident, he marries Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), and tries to turn her into an opera singer, a hopeless task. (He even builds her an opera house.) Finally, her singing teacher has had enough. "Some people can sing. Some can't. IMPOSSIBLE! IMPOSSIBLE!" Mr. Kane intervenes, and reminds Sigor Matiste (Fortunio Bonanova) that he runs a few newspapers and can easily destroy his reputation. Once again money and power defeat reality.
Now, I don't really think it's fair to say that Susan Alexander and Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, are one and the same person. Susan was an inept singer, Marion a successful and talented actress for 20 years. She never married Hearst, nor did she ever leave him. She also claimed that she never saw "Citizen Kane," and had nothing negative to say about Mr. Welles.
Finally, if you want to understand how the mind of a really powerful man works, look at how Kane dealt with Leland when he was giving Susan's performance a bad review. Leland was too drunk to finish it, so Kane did it for him, writing a bad notice. Kane spent his whole life "trying to prove something."
Earlier, Mr. Bernstein told us that Lane and Leland have not spoken for years. Then Leland walks into the room where Kane is typing Susan's notice, and we have the following dialogue:
Kane: Hello Jedediah.
Jed: Hello, Charlie. I didn't know we were speaking.
Kane: Sure, we're speaking Jedediah. You're fired.
Unlike the baffled reporters, we know what "Rosebud" means as soon as Kane drops the snow globe. He's thinking about his youth in his parents' boarding house, a poor boy riding a sled and building snowmen. The only time in his life when he was really happy.
Then he decides to run for political office, and his popularity sweeps him into the lead. But just before the election, his worst enemy exposes him as a hypocrite, an adulterer who has betrayed everyone's trust. He loses the election, but presses on, runs again, loses again, and eventually settles into a life of blame and recrimination, denying that he lost, accusing his enemies of falsifying the news, corrupting the election, betraying the voter’s trust. His refusal to accept the truth renders him powerless, broken and forgotten.
In the end, all he can think of is his first, worst disappointment, and what it denied him; the name dies on his lips as his last spoken word. And that's just the beginning!
I was amazed at how this 1941 movie seems ripped from the latest Twitter headlines. It’s contemporary, eternal and as true today as it was then. Watch it, and think about how history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, even in the movies.
It's always hard to read or watch a "classic" without having huge expectations - and perhaps not just enjoying the film. That's true for books you're required to read in high school as well as for movies. You might really have enjoyed reading "Pride and Prejudice" - but if you're forced to read it and told "this is a great book!" you might not enjoy it at all.
Let me say first why this is a classic. There are a TON of visual puns, lighting effects, production effects, that had never been used before. The in-focus effects were spectacular when this movie came out. It was an incredible groundbreaker - one that inspired thousands of other filmmakers. If you weren't around in 1941, then in essence everything you watch is "based" on this. It's like praising Edgar Allen Poe for writing mysteries, if you love mysteries that exist now. They draw their origin from that spectacular start.
If you were born after 1941, you might say "well that's interesting, but I don't have to like the pyramids of Egypt to like modern architecture. I like Van Halen even though some of their songs were really written by classic blues artists 40+ years earlier; I don't like the blues original songs. I like current stuff and don't care about what it was based on."
That is of course true, and a human trait. So if you're not a fan of "tracing the roots" of movies you love, let's just take the movie itself as a standalone entity - as the story of a man.
Orson Wells made this as his very first movie - and he not only acted in it but also directed it. He was a newbie. He did some amazing things in his very first attempt every to make a movie. To start with, you as the viewer are really "drawn in" to the movie in a way that most movies don't do. The interviewer is usually in the lower right, i.e. sort of where you, the audience, are sitting. You and the interviewer are both directly talking to and interacting with the people on the screen.
Kane was "stolen" from his family at a very young age - raised by strangers, sent off to schools and training. He grew up alone, with only some friends to keep him company. He decides when just out of college to run a newspaper, sort of a lark. He has great ideals - to help the little man. Once he gets a taste of power and public affection, he gets addicted to it. He begins to create stories that don't really exist, to "make world events happen". He starts to manipulate the people around him to get him more and more attention. When he gets abandoned, you feel sorry for him - but you also know it's completely his own fault.
These aren't just random vague events that are happening in outer space. They are very personal events happening to a "real person" - this was of course based on real life events of that era. Not only that, but they could happen to any of us. We all have tasks that we do, that bring us joy. We all have the potential to have growth with our dreams - but if we got that growth, would we do "good" with that power, or would we start to be tainted? If we had power over those we love, would we use it 100% for their own good, or would we do subtle things that made US happy and not necessarily them? How many parents, for example, pushed kids to go to a particular college because it appealed to the parent, even if it wasn't the perfect match for the child's personality?
This obviously isn't a hack and slash movie with a lot of combat and violence. It's a movie about the trade-offs we all make as we go for our dreams, find success, find failure, try to make love work. This isn't the story of a 23 year old having a fun college life. It's the story of the full life of a man - from sad, lonely young child, to idealistic young man, to a sad, lonely old man.
The way life affects us - and the way in which our choices affect our life - are universal concepts that are really important to pretty much every human being. It might be that some particular humans might not care yet. Certainly I remember for example when I was a teenager that I didn't give a lot of thought to the nebulous "long off future". Now that I'm a bit older, though, the thoughts of choices made, opportunities missed and long term goals are very important to me. Citizen Kane is a very touching portrayal of one man's journey through the years.
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However...trust me, THIS Warners wins hands down! Enough down to put its competition underground! Make a comparison and you will never look at any other edition again without wincing! And the Warners includes 2 excellent commentaries worthy of repeated listenings. How often can THAT be said?
(Note: the Universal is also accompanied by an excellent commentary, but the image is soft and shadow detail non-existent.)