Citizen Kane

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I just saw this for the first time on TCM. I really loved this movie. The cinematography, the script, even the acting were all dead on. Rosebud may be the driving force of the movie, but I thought the "No Tresspassing" sign at the beginning and end of the film we're much more symbolic of Kane's life. I really, really enjoyed this.
     
  2. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Yes, Adam, it's no fluke that Welles bookended the film around that image.

    We are allowed into Kane's life and when we see the sign at the end we have come to learn that know one got in before his death nor will they ever do so. It's rather sad because we understand the motivating truth behind his life, such a famous life, yet he lived it alone and will never truly be known for who he was.

    Toland (the DoP) used deep focus on many shots (where everything in a very deep shot is in focus at the same time). He often used it to make Kane larger and more important than everyone else (like when he finishes the review/notice), but near the end after his fit of rage we have a deep focus shot from the butler's POV in which Kane is now very small in the shot.

    Despite his fame and power, he ends up a little, lonely man. A man whom no one will ever understand. A man simply looking desperately to fill a void in his heart, to beat those who wouldn't love him, and to earn the love of all people.
     
  3. Travis D

    Travis D Second Unit

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    You know, I caught the tail end of this on TMC too. I rented the DVD not too long ago and I must say the print on the DVD is MILES above the print used on TMC. Except for the rain which you cannot supposedly see in a scene because of the software they used to clean it up. It ended up cleaning the rain out.

    What else was I going to say...

    Oh yeah.... the movie.

    I find I don't enjoy older movies as much as other people do. I find a lot of the acting stale any without and vigor to it whatsoever. Perfect example of it is Kane's mother when she is talking about packing his bags. Just so.... stiff and bleh. Maybe I am a desensitized brat who doesn't know what good acting is. Oh, well.

    But my point is, is that other than what I just cited, I REALLY enjoyed Citizen Kane. Orson Welles is an incredible actor. My little semi-rant on older movie actors does not and cannot apply to him. Every scene he is in, he is Charles Foster Kane and it shows! The writing is superb and so is the makeup, which I couldn't believe. The aging effect is used to its full effect here, but Joe Cotton's makeup looked like a hack job, I'm sorry. Also, the little rant at the end on the meaning of "rosebud" and how it related to his life, felt a little preachy. As if we didn't get it already, it was like being force fed something you've been eating for the last hour. Still, other than that.... Wonderful movie.
     
  4. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I own this DVD and consider it to be one of the gems of my collection.

    Nearly every time I pull the DVD out, I end up viewing the movie twice!

    Also, listening to the very enthusiastic Ebert commentary track is almost like taking a film course.

    If you enjoyed the TCM presentation, you owe it to yourself to pick up the DVD. The presentation of the movie on this two-disc set provides an experience that is at least two orders of magnitude beyond what just watching this movie on a television broadcast can provide.
     
  5. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Travis, one classic bit of great filmmaking used in the scene you mention is the extremely long sequence shot. This is when there is no cut, just the camera adjusting to the on-going action. It even begins with the zoom on Kane before pulling back "into" the house.
    The best moment of acting in that scene is her twinge of hurt when she call out "Charles" as the men talk about Charles being taken away (i forget the line that makes her twinge and crack her voice). That is great subtle acting that is rather rare these days.
    I'm not demanding you like it, just mentioning some popular aspects of that scene and reasons why it is respected.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Oh, I can't help but ask... Is Kane's mother played by Endora from Bewitched?
     
  7. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Yes, Adam. It's Agnes Moorehead who was Endora on Bewitched.

    BTW, the DVD looks even better than what TCM showed last night. It was funny because I didn't realize it was on and I coincidentally was watching the "Battle over Citizen Kane" documentary last night. After I turned it off, I was surprised to see the last 20 minutes of Kane on TCM and then re-watched the same part on the DVD.

    Regards,
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, let this be a lesson to anyone and everyone who thinks he or she "doesn't like older movies." Remember, all films are destined to become older.

    Don't think a silent film can entertain in this day of CGI excess? Give Eisenstein's Potemkin a serious screening. This pioneering filmmaker de facto created the concept of "montage." The film draws a viewer into the swirl of events so effectively that one does not notice the lack of a soundtrack; art transcends technology always.

    And though Kane is noted for Welles's deft use of mis-en-scene, the director also employs montage to great effect as well: the famous breakfast-table-through-the-years scene between Kane and wife comes to mind.

    Stilted acting? No way. A good actor to trace through the '40s and '50s is James Stewart. Screen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and prepare for some ramped-up, emotion-driven scenes of drama.

    More than anything, though, is the depth of story and dialogue in films as a whole that preceded 1975 and that damn shark movie. Greater attention, generally, was given to character development and intelligent plotting. And all this culminated in the last truly great period of American cinema--1967-1975.

    It's the general tenor of films today that is so lacking in depth, humanity, cleverness, terrific dialogue, and, yes, acting. Exceptions pop up from time to time, but the Hollywood of this era is geared to an MTV mentality.

    There's a reason Citizen Kane continues to be universally lauded as the greatest film ever made. Like all great art, it is timeless in its themes and issues; it is, as William Faulkner said about great literature, about the human soul at war with itself.

    Don't dismiss so blithely a film that is not in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1; you only do yourself a disservice. (And, one should add, you end up not being taken seriously by students of film.)

    I am so glad you gave this film a chance. Now, why not try checking out The Magnificent Ambersons.
     
  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  10. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    A movie is always new if you haven't seen it before.
    That's my motto. [​IMG]
     
  11. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    I've always liked Citizen Kane, ever since I saw it.

    Orson Welles did quite a job, and he was only 25 when he made the film!
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Screw Ambersons, go Touch of Evil. [​IMG]
    I LOVE the ending dialog of that film so much. That sort of dialog is just so rare in modern films (or maybe it always was and we just forget the "average" older films).
    I don't need to go into the amazing cinematography, the use of shadows, the SMART use of canted frames for effective emotional impact rather than just "looking cool".
    Welles was a better actor than director, IMHO, meaning that he was that good on screen. Add The Third Man to the list to verify that.
     
  13. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    I've got a question of Touch of Evil, I heard the movie was shot in the 1.33:1 format, yet the DVD is 1.85:1. What is the OAR on the film?
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Seth, bro', I couldn't agree with you more. Touch of Evil is one seriously great classic!
     
  15. Travis D

    Travis D Second Unit

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    How did I know Jack was going to show up? [​IMG]
    Seriously, you picked out another great actor, James Stewart. Although I found him to be a little over-the-top near the end of It's A Wonderful Life, I loved him in Rear Window. Harvey is on my "To-Watch-List" and any others you might suggest.
    But see, that's what gets me. How can I like movies like Citizen Kane and Rear Window, but yet at the same time hate movies near the same acclaim in those time periods. No matter what some people say, I believe that NOT all movies transend time and space. I watch movies on TMC all the time and some movies do infact date. Some date bad. I watched the original Father of the Bride, and while I enjoyed Spencer Tracy's performance, I got put off by little nuances from 50's living and film making in general. But since the movie was made in 1950 I believe, I shouldn't be complaining.
    While we're on the topic of comedies, I have given up on comedies pre-1970. Just for the simple fact that in today's culture, all those jokes have been recycled over and over again. The younger generation, my generation, has become so desensitized to those innocent types of jokes that they do not invoke reaction anymore. Perfect example is "Some Like It Hot". Considered by AFI to be the funniest American movie ever, I just didn't laugh. I had seen all the jokes in one form or another by the time I was seven. I kept thinking, "Oh, isn't that cute." I guess writers figured older movies would never be watched again, so over the years eventually all the jokes have been stolen, repackaged, and laughed at. When it comes time to see the original form of said jokes, they simply are not funny to many people any more.
     
  16. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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  17. AaronP

    AaronP Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] EVERYTHING IS IN FOCUS! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    hehe I didn't know that was possible till I saw Citizen Kane.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Aaron: [​IMG] I know the feeling.
     
  19. Dave Barth

    Dave Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    Re: pre-1970s comedies.

    Two words: Preston Sturges.
     
  20. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    Jack hit the nail on the head, as usual.

    The dialog and scripts were generally so much better on the "old" movies (at least the more acclaimed ones) than what we get from most high-budget films today. There's more character development and a lot less pyrotechnics, which usually enhances the storyline, too.

    Some of it may seem corny or old-fashioned by today's standards, but I much prefer the wise-cracking repartee from, say, His Girl Friday, or the fantastic camerawork we can still admire today in Citizen Kane, to the CGI-on-steroids stuff that usually overshadows any efforts at character development now.

    Classic movies like Citizen Kane or Casablanca certainly have stood the test of time as masterpieces. Somehow, I don't think we'll look as kindly at current big box-office fare like Pearl Harbor or The Patriot in just 5 or 10 years, never mind 50 or 60 years, as with many of the classics .:b
     

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