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Newbie needs help with Citizen Kane *MAJOR SPOILERS*

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DarrylWHarrisJr, Nov 1, 2001.

  1. DarrylWHarrisJr

    DarrylWHarrisJr Stunt Coordinator

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    Well you seen me on the forum from time to time...always loved movies but now getting into some older material. I just have one question:
    What in the heck is Rosebud? While an excellent DVD I don't see what AFI makes a fuss about. The last shot just left me with a blank face. Sure they keep saying Rosebud through out the movie, but where did that bedframe (??) come in to play?
    ------------------
    A man never chooses to live...but chooses to make a life.
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  2. James D S

    James D S Screenwriter

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    I don't recall a bedframe. Could you please elaborate? (In the off-chance you mean a "headboard," that's a sled. In which case you can distinguish b/w the two since a sled has rails designed for snow.)
     
  3. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Not sure if I'm just pointing out the obvious or not, but here goes. Throughout the whole movie, we see the quest to find meaning in the final words of Charles Kane. Everyone speculates on what Rosebud could have meant, but in the end, it remains a mystery to the characters. Seing the sled with the name "Rosebud" burned at the end of the film though, lets the audience in on the secret of Kane: that for all his money and power, in the end he was happier as a boy with his sled.
    Of course, I'm sure that essays have been written on the subject, and that this interpretation is open for debate. Any other opinions?
     
  4. DarrylWHarrisJr

    DarrylWHarrisJr Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Hi Darryl,
    "Rosebud" is the name of his sled, as you know. As previously posted, Kane, despite his money and power, yearned for the only time he was truly happy. It was not the sled itself for which he longed, it was what it represented. Kane's great pain was that he could never again have that which was lost. His dying word, in fact, reflected this great irony. The sled being tossed into the fire symbolized this loss.
    Have you listened to the Roger Ebert commentary? I recommend it. Ebert has much to offer with regard to this film, including the explanation I've paraphrased above.
    Jon
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    --Owner of the North American rights to the small-orange-for-a-head joke. http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/005319.html
     
  6. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    It wasn't Rosebud, it's Roast Beef, he wanted to order a roast beef sandwich on rye but couldn't quite finish...
    This was from a Saturday Night Live spoof 20 some years ago [​IMG].
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    The inside joke of Wells' regarding Rosebud was that this was also rumored to be the pet name William Randolph Hearst used when referring to his second wife's ...um... private parts. The documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane" on the 2nd disc of the DVD set gives a lot of great insight to the history of the making of this great film.
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  8. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Darryl,
    How on Earth did you survive so long without ever having heard that Rosebud is the sled? [​IMG] Must be cool, though, to be discovering that for the first time.
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  9. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    According to the HBO movie about the making of CK, RKO 281, Rosebud referred to the private parts of Heart's mistress, Marion Davies, not his wife. I know you wouldn't sleep until this was cleared up. [​IMG]
     
  10. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    And to be even more specific, not just her private "parts", but rather a specific "part" of her private parts.
    Rhymes with "twit".
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Dave L

    Dave L Stunt Coordinator

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    The meaning of "rosebud" has never been that big a deal to me, caught the drift the first time I saw it. However, the enduring mystery of "Citizen Kane" is who heard him say it? It's his dying whispered word, and, if I remember correctly, the nurse doesn't open the door until after he's whispered it and drops the snow ball, which rolls and breaks (offering another clue to the meaning of "rosebud" in that it holds a snowy scene with a house much like his last day with his mother and his sled). But even if the nurse opened the door prior to his last breath, she was too far away to hear it. So who did? Was someone else in the room close enough to hear?
     
  12. Tom Rhea

    Tom Rhea Second Unit

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    Doesn't the butler say he was in the room when he chats with the reporter toward the end of the movie? I realize he's not actually shown in the room, so it is a little confusing.
     
  13. JamesCS

    JamesCS Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL! Roast Beef. Ha ha. I'm sorry I missed that Saturday Night Live episode.
     
  14. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Kane says "Rosebud" twice.
    The first time, when he learns his mistress is going to leave him and he grabs the sphere with the snowy landscape he suddenly realizes a moment from his past when he lost all that matters to him ... and remembers the name of the toy he held at that crucial moment when he tried to resist his fate. He mutters the word and calms down (more or less).
    Then of course he says the word again (start of the film) when dying - heard by his butler - and we see the sphere fall out of his dying hands.
    All his life, when collectiing, collecting, collecting, money, power and things, as well as trying to have and keep and be able to hold on to a real love, he only tried to regain what he lost in his youth. Including the presence of his mother's love.
    The tragedy is: you cannot really regain what you loose in your youth, not to your satisfaction, because what it represents has metaphysically outgrown it's true physical shape and self. We know in the end that he already owned his mothers house again, and the sled, and much more... but that didn't help him. He probably hardly even realized it.
    And after the last shot WE understand at least partly what drove him all his life and obsessed him.
    Cees
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    The Dick Van Dyke show also did an affectionate tribute to Citizen Kane. Ritchie found out his middle name was Rosebud.
    Which actually stood for Robert Oscar Sam Edward Benjamin Ulysses David.
     
  16. DonMac

    DonMac Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom Rhea wrote:
     
  17. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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  18. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    I saw the butler in the room at the beginning of the film. You guys must have the P&S version. [​IMG]
    Rob
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  19. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Good answer Cees. Note that he mentions that it's the butler who was in the room at his death.
    Also note that the beginning and ending of the film have the "No Tresspassing" sign in the shot. At the beginning, no one has entry into Kane's inner-world, no one understands what really drove him. And by the end still no one has that insight (except the audiance themselves).
    That's the tragedy. Despite his money and power his life has gone unfullfilled and misunderstood. His last hope for understanding leaves with his 2nd wife, the one person with the guts to walk right out on him sober, and the closest a person ever came to knowing him.
    Note also that as she walks out the door we see Kane diminished in the distance, a shell of a man. Contrast this to when he finishes the bad notice on his wife for Leland. The deep focus shot allows Kane to be at the forefront, the dominating screen personality. Leland walks up and is placed in the frame not unlike a thought-bubble from Kane's head. In all aspects since his childhood, Kane has been the dominate figure and when he finds himself walked out on it reminds him of the last abandonment he suffered.
    I always feel great pity for Kane in those moments as he tears up the room and then stops when he finds the snow globe.
     

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