Citizen Kane

Discussion in 'Movies' started by John Gates, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    I just read that Citizen Kane was again rated as the #1 movie of all time by Sight and Sound.

    I saw this movie a couple of years ago in a nicely restored old movie theater. I'm going to be blunt: I thought it stunk. It was ponderously slow. I could see why some might like this film, but the #1 film of ALL TIME???

    For impact and influence, I would suggest Casablanca as a far better film.

    Now, I didn't come on here and post just to complain or be negative... I'd really like to know, for those of you who like this film, why does it deserve the #1 spot? I'd really like to know what I missed...

    Convince me, and I might just want to see it again.

    Thanks,

    John G
     
  2. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    My answer is a cop-out, but I suggest you watch the DVD with Roger Ebert's commentary. He points out many many great things about this film that all add up together to give it the praise it rightfully deserves.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Such is not the premise for an even passable "discussion" about a great film.
     
  4. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Jack,

    I apologize if I offended you. I'm still interested in hearing why you think this is a "great film." I'm certainly not stuck with my opinion, but I do still have it. :) There seem to be a lot of people who believe differently, and I'm just wondering what they saw that I didn't see, what they know that I don't know.

    You could help if you like.

    Regards,

    John G
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The best way to voice an opinion about a film almost universally recognized as one of the greatest--if not the greatest--films of all time (and widely loved here at HTF) is by saying something a little more elevated than "it stunk."

    A better way to put it would simply have been, "Okay, I saw it, and I was disappointed because [fill in the reasons]." Then somebody else might be encouraged enough to post and explain some of the many, many reasons this film is so praised. Paul's suggestion, vis. the Ebert commentary, is one. Another would be Pauline Kael's authoritative book on Citizen Kane. And yet another is to rescreen the film with an open mind.

    First off, there's the story, which touches on universal human conditions--with an emphasis on greed, acquisitiveness, and avarice. Then there's the marvelously wrought script, Orson Welles's state-of-the-art (to this day) direction, the cinematography (note the depth of field, the edgy camera angles), the mise-en-scene shots juxtaposed with near-montage cutting, the breathtakingly incredible performances (by actors from The Mercury Theatre troupe), the sheer timelessness of the film and its story and what it represents, the intelligence surrounding everything about the film, and so much more.

    Add to that the fact the film innovated in all these areas at the time of its release and has never been surpassed in any of them, then it looks like you might have what could be called the "greatest film of all time."

    And the list could go on and on.
     
  6. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    We watched this movie in a Film Study class I took two years ago in High School (I'm going to be a Junior this coming school year, I was a Freshman when I took the class) and we spent a good two weeks on this movie. There is a LOT of symbolism, interesting camera angles, great acting, and a wonderfully written story. You really need to spend time with this movie in order to catch everything.
     
  7. Roland G

    Roland G Stunt Coordinator

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    C.Kane is a great movie! It may not be the favorite movie of everybody out there, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve the number one spot. The way I see it Kane was revolutionary with its storytelling. The visual language of Kane is very beautiful and unique and maybe thats not so easy to notice in the year 2002.

    Cititzen Kane just has it all...doesn't lack in any department.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I've seen it literally dozens of times, and I see something new every time.
    John, if the film bored you, no amount of explanation or commentary will make you feel otherwise. Films either grab you at a gut level, or they don't. Kane has grabbed a lot of people -- a lot of people -- over a very long period of time, and at the most basic level that's why it continues to be rated number one. Of course, it doesn't hurt that, the more you look at it, the more there is to see.
     
  9. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Michael,

    I think you are right. The film never "grabbed" me or sparked my imagination. These are all excellent observations, and I appreciate the insight. Perhaps I should watch the film again and look for some the details mentioned here.

    Jack, to clarify why I didn't like the film, I guess I couldn't identify with any of the characters, I thought the pace was very slow, and I felt the dialogue was very un-interesting. This combination of items frustrated me throughout the film.

    I went into my viewing with high expectations, and I was disappointed. You have shown me I was perhaps looking for the wrong stuff in the film.

    Thanks again,

    John G
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Ordinarily I consider my love of Casablanca second to none, but even I don’t think that this film had anywhere near the influence to other directors and filmmakers as Citizen Kane.
    There is a reason that books have been written by the Trauffaut’s of the world and commentaries have been made. It is because of Wells and this movies influence on them.
    I urge you to consider, not just from an artistic perspective but from a strictly entertainment one as well to watch the movie again. Of course if you still find the movie boring, well that’s what makes a horse race.
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Citizen Kane is basically "The Complete Guide to Filmmaking" in a box.

    It also is a symbol of creativity. Orson Welles got FULL CONTROL over the film, which is rarely done even now.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  13. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Also what Jack, Morgan, Roland and Michael said. Jack, I am particularly struck by your third paragraph. Don’t think that anyone could put down why this is a great film more succinctly and accurately.
     
  14. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Wow, Lew!! Your post was incredibly insightful and exactly what I was looking for. You have absolutely inspired me to take another look at this film.

    John G
     
  15. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Ta muchly, John :b
     
  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    We are successfully reeducating John Gates. We won't have to send him to a camp for cinema heretics after all! [​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    And on the same day that I made up my mind to give Lawrence of Arabia another chance. Ain't it a wonderful world??[​IMG]
     
  18. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    It's an important film no doubt... But the "Best"? I'll take Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai over Citizen Kane any day of the week.
     
  19. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I would personally recognize it as the #1 film of all time for its originality and influence it has had on cinema throughout the years. The story structure, cinematography, and mise-en-scene are all ingenious and unlike all the other films released during the 1950's, it does not appear the least bit dated today. The movie is timeless and remains unsurpassed by any other film in terms of its influence on filmmaking all over the world.
    But at the same time, I would like to add that although I do consider it the best film ever made, it is not my favorite film. There are numerous other movies I'd rather watch than Citizen Kane, because my preference for genre and story differ from the one featured in CK. If someone were to ask me whether I'd rather view Paper Moon or Citizen Kane, I would easily choose the former, simply because I find the subject matter of Paper Moon more appealing than Citizen Kane's.
    What I am getting at here is, that in my opinion, the reason Citizen Kane has been nearly unanimously regarded as the best motion picture ever created is because, all facets of the filmmaking process considered, Citizen Kane is perfect. No other film in my opinion has such a first-class combination of acting, story structure, cinematography, sound, and direction, to name a few. But despite this, like what has been mentioned before, it is ultimately the story that grabs the viewer, and if these "Best Movie" polls were changed to "Favorite Movie" polls, then I think it would be safe to say that Citizen Kane would not score quite as high.
    So it is understandable that you thought the film stunk, John, simply because you did not connect with the story. I do not rank Citizen Kane in my top favorite films either. But as far as film as an art form goes, there is no denying that Citizen Kane remains the best example of a film where all of its production values, from acting to directing, are so uniformly perfect.
     
  20. Rich Romero

    Rich Romero Supporting Actor

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    Nothing more wise than that.
     

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