Though its merits as the greatest American film ever made continue to be debated, there's no denying Warner Home Video's 70th anniversary edition of "Citizen Kane" features an impeccable presentation and collection of special features. Citizen Kane: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Release Date: September 13, 2011 Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Three-disc Digipack with slipcover, commemorative book and other printed materials Year: 1941 Rating: PG Running Time: 1:59:23 MSRP: $64.99 FEATURE EXTRAS Video 1080p high definition 1.33:1 Standard definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 1.0 / Dolby Digital: Portuguese 1.0, Polish 1.0 Stereo Subtitles English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Magyar, Polish, Romanian, Same The Feature: 4.5/5 Newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) is dead. He's left behind an empire so massive the media have been calling him "America's Kubla Khan." The details of his ascension are really no mystery - his wealth came through a serendipitous claim to a massive Colorado gold mine - but who he was as a man is a puzzle with more than a few missing pieces. His much-discussed dying word could provide the answer - but what or who is "rosebud?" Reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) aims to find out, tracking down every major figure from Kane's life - from his second wife Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore) to his eventually estranged friend and business partner Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten). What Thompson learns sheds some light on the strengths and vulnerabilities of the larger-than-life figure, but the meaning of "rosebud" remains elusive. Despite all of Thompson's efforts, the secret and its significance seems to have died with Kane himself. Prior to the American Film Institute (AFI) naming "Citizen Kane" the greatest (American) film ever made, the average moviegoer would have been surprised to hear it receive such an accolade. I know I was when I first heard the claim, almost 20 years ago, from a college acquaintance and budding film aficionado. Even with my limited film knowledge at the time, I expected him to say something like "The Godfather" or "Casablanca," not a film I'd barely heard of, directed by a man I knew mostly as a jug wine spokesman. When I finally saw the film, I was left scratching my head, as I'm sure some people still do. It took a second viewing with some expert commentary (thanks Roger Ebert) to understand the rationale behind the admiration. Though it didn't make the story more compelling (which I found thought provoking but not necessarily profound), knowledge of the historical context helped me appreciate its logistical, technical and aesthetic achievements. In most respects the movie was ahead of its time, so when I finally saw it over half a century later, I tended to take certain things for granted. The film's deep focus cinematography, low angle compositions, and long takes are all familiar film vocabulary today, but in the 1940s they were practically words from a foreign language. Because of that - and other impeccable elements like its editing and score - the film holds up even after 70 years in circulation. Though its merit as "the greatest" naturally sparks debate, so would the selection of any other AFI top 20. More important is the discussion itself, and ultimately the impetus it provides for getting some truly great films the recognition and screenings they deserve. Video Quality: 5/5 Accurately framed at 1.33:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the film image is impressively clean and devoid of physical defects. Black levels and contrast are consistently strong, and lovers of black-and-white imagery should thrill to the beautiful rendering of Gregg Toland's cinematography. Detail is similarly impressive - particles of snow and textures in fabrics and skin in particular - though the frequent deep focus cinematography also becomes a showcase for the transfer's high resolution (there's softness or haziness in some shots, but due to the era's special effects methods, not the transfer). In certain high contrast scenes, like in the newsreel screening room, there appears to be some ringing along silhouettes, but otherwise there are no indications of digital sharpening. Likewise, with consistent and healthy levels of film grain, viewers should have no concerns about excessive noise reduction measures. Audio Quality: 4/5 Dialogue in 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is crisp, detailed and intelligible. Sound effects like echoes in the great hall, breaking glass and wood, and Susan Alexander's shrill yelling also sound well rendered. Though LFE is absent, the track exhibits solid depth and dynamic range, mostly through its score but also at key points in the narrative. Special Features: 5/5 The extras - which include all those found on the previous DVD release - offer a strong blend of archival materials, insightful commentaries, and interesting reproductions of physical pieces. The addition of the documentary and dramatic features on DVD are a great bonus, giving viewers additional ways of understanding the film's rich historical context. Commentaries By Peter Bogdanovich: Bogdanovich's track is on the lackadaisical (and observational) side, but he offers some great insights and anecdotes, many from having known Welles personally and authored a book about him. By Roger Ebert: Ebert's engaging commentary is indispensable in providing insight into the film's critical accolades, cinematic significance, and historical context. Opening: World Premiere of Citizen Kane (1:08, SD): News footage set to music shows the film's premiere on May 1, 1941 at New York's Palace Theatre. Interviews (8:44, SD): Recorded in 1997 for the Turner Archival Project, the subjects share memories about working on the film and their impressions of Welles. Ruth Warrick (5:40), actress who played Kane's first wife Emily. Robert Wise (3:04), the film's editor. Production Materials Storyboards (3:20, SD): Show various sequences from the film, mixed with production stills. Call Sheets (:48, SD): Samples of the daily filming schedule. Still Photography with Commentary by Roger Ebert (10:53, SD): Ebert doesn't talk specifically about the images in the slide show, but he speaks to the importance of the film and its historical context. Some of the information is found in the feature commentary, but for anyone looking for a quick but in-depth analysis, this commentary provides it. Post-Production Materials Deleted Scenes (1:12, SD): Are a handful of photographs and storyboards showing scenes that were "scripted and conceived but deemed unusable due to story or budgetary constraints." Ad Campaign (1:36, SD): Includes various theatrical posters and print advertisements. Press Book (:48, SD): Includes excerpts from the souvenir program disributed at the New York and Los Angeles premieres. Opening Night (1:36, SD): Photographs taken at the New York premiere. Theatrical Trailer (3:46, SD) Physical Items Commemorative Book: Includes a history, analysis and numerous publicity photos. Theatrical Posters: Reproductions of several theatrical posters in 5x7-inch postcard format. Press Book: Reproduction of the souvenir program distributed at the premieres. Production Documents: Reproductions of receipts, contracts and press releases. The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1:53:52, SD): The 1996 documentary, which first aired as an episode of PBS's "American Experience," chronicles the struggle between newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Welles over the making and release of the film (which bears more than a few similarities to Hearst's life). The piece was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Presented in 1.33:1 standard definition and Dolby Digital Stereo with optional English subtitles. Extras are limited to a Welles filmography. RKO 281 (1:26:47, SD): The 1999 film, which originally aired on HBO and dramatizes the making of "Citizen Kane," stars Liev Schreiber as Welles, James Cromwell as Hearst, John Malkovich as screenwriter Herman Mankiwiecz, Melanie Griffith as actress and Hearst mistress Marion Davies, and Roy Scheider as RKO studio head George Schafer. The film won a Golden Globe for Best TV Mini-Series or Motion Picture. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic and Dolby Digital 5.1 with optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras are limited to text biographies for the cast and crew. Recap The Feature: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 5/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 Special Features: 5/5 Overall Score (not an average): 5/5 Warner Home Video turns in an excellent presentation and special features package for what many consider the greatest American film ever made. Though its merits will be endlessly debated, any lover of film and film history should consider "Citizen Kane" a must-add to their collections, even without Warner's impeccable treatment. The fact it's been given the kind of attention it deserves only makes the decision more obvious.