Ultimate Collector's Edition, 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition, Collector's Edition
DVD | Box Set
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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.”
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Welles plays Charles Foster Kane, a "yellow journalist" whose life and career is closely modeled on the real-life William Randolph Hearst, who tried everything in his power to stop CITIZEN KANE from being released. Many Hollywood studios offered to buy the negative from RKO Pictures and destroy it, but Welles refused to back down, and the film was finally released in May 1941. Because of all the negative publicity from the Hearst newspapers and other outlets, the film, much like another 1940s classic, It's a Wonderful Life (60th Anniversary Edition), initially bombed at the box office. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, but only won one: for Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles.
Bernard Herrmann wrote the musical score for the film; he later went on to score the music for The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] and many Alfred Hitchcock films, including North by Northwest (Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition) and Psycho (Collector's Edition). In addition, Herrmann also conducted the CBS Orchestra in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast, including the fictional dance-band sequences as "Ramón Raquello And His Orchestra" (and later on in the broadcast, "Bobby Millette And His Orchestra.")
Re-releases in the 1950s and later exposure on television made CITIZEN KANE a cult favorite, and the American Film Institute has twice named it the best film of all time, in 1998 and 2007.
Several of Welles' Mercury Theater players went on to become major stars, including Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins (who played Lieutenant Arthur Tragg in TV's Perry Mason), Agnes Moorehead (who baby boomers remember as Endora in Bewitched), and Ruth Warrick, who starred in the ABC soap ALL MY CHILDREN for over four decades.
Disc 1 features the original film in excellent quality, with several bonus features, including newsreel footage of the 1941 premiere, interviews with Ruth Warrick and editor Robert Wise, who went on to direct such films as West Side Story (Full Screen Edition) and The Sound of Music (Three-Disc 45th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging), storyboards, still photos (with commentary by Roger Ebert), the original theatrical trailer, audio commentaries by Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich, subtitles in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, and audio in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Some of the special features listed by Amazon, such as the 10/28/1940 KTSA, San Antonio Broadcast of "H.G. Wells Meets Orson Welles," and the aforementioned 10/30/1938 broadcast of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS do not appear in this edition; perhaps they are included in the Citizen Kane (Amazon Exclusive 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition + The Magnificent Ambersons on DVD) [Blu-ray]. I have the original THE WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast on a Radio Spirits CD that I purchased years ago at Cracker Barrel, of all places, as well as the subsequent 75th Anniversary Edition, which includes the Welles/Wells 1940 interview mentioned above.
Disc 2 is a fine PBS AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentary from 1996, THE BATTLE FOR CITIZEN KANE, which examines the parallels between the lives of Welles and Hearst.
Disc 3 is an excellent 1999 HBO/WGBH biopic titled RKO 281, named after RKO's production code for the film, loosely based on the PBS documentary, which features many contemporary Hollywood stars, including Liev Schreiber (as Welles), James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, John Malkovich, Roy Scheider, and Liam Cunningham. CAVEAT: Because it is an HBO film, there is a lot of strong profanity throughout, so unlike the original movie, it is not kid-friendly.
The package also includes a 48-page hardcover book with photos and a brief history of the film, and a portfolio containing replicas of movie posters, studio documents, and the souvenir program that was sold to moviegoers in 1941.
This Collector's Edition is worth having on either DVD or Blu-ray, but if you are on a tight budget, the film is also available in several less expensive standalone editions.
It is,simply, a stunner of exhorbitant proportion. CK is a treat for the senses, it sort of lulls one into an asctetic experience of what real film making is, and, sadly, will never be again. This boxed set is magnificent. I will not extrapolate on the contents, as other reviewers have repeated ad nauseum. Suffice to say that, for roughly thirty bucks you get a marvelous package. The other two discs are very interesting nostalgia as to the behind the scenes scuffle regarding W.R. Hearst and Marian Davies (shhh that's where "rosebud" had its origins. It supposedly was a pet name given by Hearst to describe part of Davies' anatomy that he was extremely fond of). Needless to say, CK fans will adore this boxed set.I did not find any fault with the packaging, unlike some other reviewers here, and, again, to nitpick through this legendary film is to dilute its impact on future first time viewers.
It is a first class film, THE film of the century. Welles and Toland created a masterpiece.
Also the voice over started in Spanish for some reason. A mild inconvenience at most. The only reason it wasn't five star is because I felt that, while great, the film itself is a bit overrated. Still worth your time, though.
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The film opens on a silent and dark night. An old man dies peacefully in bed, alone.Read more
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