Just saw Citizen Kane for the first time...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew_Sch, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    First of all, what an incredible restoration job by Warner. I thought it was a very good, maybe great film, but I don't know if I would go so far as to call it the absolute best the 20th century has to offer. I realize that it probably lost some of its effect for me because I've seen the things that it did for the very first time so many times before in movies that copied the techniques it pioneered. I'd like to pose a few questions to ya'll:

    1. Do you think that this movie is deserving of the AFI's top spot?
    2. What makes it better than say, Casablanca, The Godfather, or On the Waterfront?
    3. Was the lesson of the movie that:
    knowing what "Rosebud" meant really didn't mean anything, because his life couldn't be defined by just one word?

    4. What exactly was the significance of Rosebud?
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    Several learned theses have been written on the meaning of 'Rosebud'. The concensus opinion (though there are others) is that:
    it represents Kane's lost innocence. If you watch the movie again, you'll see that Rosebud is involved at two points which arguably most transformed Kane's life. One is where the young Kane is taken off to the big city - Rosebud is the sledge he was playing with in the snow. Again, he meets Marion on the night he was planning to visit the warehouse containing all the stuff from the family home (including, of course, Rosebud).


    Taken purely on its own merits, CK is a great film, but whether it's 'better' than e.g. The Godfather or many European masterpieces such as Belle et la Bete or Rules of the Game is open to debate. However, in *historical* terms it is enormously important, because it introduced a huge range of innovative techniques. E.g. CK has almost as many special effects shots as Star Wars. In addition, there were innovative camera angles (the most obvious perhaps is the use of including shots of the ceiling to give an impression of a closed world), revolutionary use of sound, overlapping dialogue, etc.

    I'd personally take any list of 'best' movies with a pinch of salt. It's fun to compile lists, but at the end of the day it's like saying that pears are 'better' than apples.
     
  3. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  4. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    It's important to remember that the only reason Citizen Kane is considered the greatest movie of all time is because some upper-echelon of critical faculty chose to declare it as such. It's a great film, but there's danger in holding a work of art in such veneration that nothing can ever approach it, and nobody can ever speak poorly of it.

    Mark
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    It's not my personal favorite, but when a film over sixty years old remains as powerful and relevant today, that says something. Wizard of Oz is an undeniable classic, but it's definitely dated. Citizen Kane, still looks modern. And the story is one of humanity that is very powerful. I'd say that it's quite possibly in my top ten.

    Also notable... the acting is the very stylized theatrical kind of the time; it's for the most part much more realistic.
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    1. Yes. Citizen Kane is technically, artistically, and entertainingly a perfect film. But....I think there's some other films which are just as accomplished. Number one should go for at least 50 films. [​IMG]
    2. Citizen Kane hides the fact that it was made for such a low budget. The movie is fun to watch due to the excellent use of cinematography, narrative form, and just great acting. Kane never feels stressed or forced, nor is there much in the way of mistakes (the Son of Kong footage can be forgiven...)
    3. and 4. have been answered pretty well. I'm not going to attempt anything.
    However, one thing I noticed is this... You only see Kane as how he really is in one scene. Each flashback is told by each person's perspective. Bernstein has somewhat happy memories of Kane. Leland is bitter. Alexander is depressed. The butler has sort of a sarcastic view. The newsreel is the basic reporter BS.
    The film basically ends up where it started. We never do find anything for certain about Kane's life...just how his life was to other people. We only know that his missed his childhood at the most... After all, it's mentioned in the film that Kane's opinion was the most important to him, yet we never do hear it, except through people who knew him.
    Don't cross your eyes yet. [​IMG]
     
  7. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    One of the best things about Citizen Kane is now "getting" a ton of Simpsons jokes. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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  9. andrew markworthy

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  10. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    The film is important, no doubt. I only object to its untouchable status. Before it was decided that Citizen Kane was the greatest film ever, Battleship Potemkin was regarded as such. I've studied both films, and am well aware of what makes them great. But holding something objectively and universally as the greatest, allows us to overlook the contributions of new art. It also doesn't allow for opposing viewpoints on the film's worthiness--this dilemma is the root of fascism. I guess it just bothers me that a work of art can be this highly and singularly canonized.

    Mark
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Are you kidding me? Who exactly is restricting opposing viewpoints?



    Crawdaddy
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Briggs edits his post, realizing too late it may not have been understandable in how it was intended. Duh! Andrew, I hope it didn't come off the wrong way! I was trying to reinforce the point you were making.
     
  13. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    Robert I never said anybody was restricting them. The point I'm making is that when a work of art is canonized under the collective belief that it's the greatest ever, it has reached such a level of veneration that it's taken to be an objective fact. Arguments against the film's worth are therefore not considered--it'd be like denying the existence of snow. Seriously, even people who haven't seen Citizen Kane have heard somewhere that it's supposed to be the best movie ever. But what evidence can possibly support this claim? Which brings me back to my first point: "the only reason Citizen Kane is considered the greatest movie of all time is because at one point some upper-echelon of critical faculty chose to declare it as such."

    Mark
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And again, it achieved its stature for a reason (actually, several reasons). We're going in circles here.

    Read Pauline Kael's book on Citizen Kane if you'd like some background information. Otherwise, no one anywhere in the critics' circles is telling you that you can't offer a dissenting opinion. But you need to back your opinions up.
     
  15. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Uh, trying to lighten up the atmosphere, let's remember that the true meaning of Rosebud was that Welles wanted to take a cheap shot at Hearst [​IMG]
    It was Hearst's (the real-life Kane) pet name for Marion Davies' (the real-life Susan Alexander) private parts (although scholars debate whether it was a name for just her clitoris, or a broader region)
     
  16. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  18. LawrenceK

    LawrenceK Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    Will_B Producer

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