Citizen Kane (It's Terrific!)

Nine Kuze 03-28-2006 04:44 PM
Pretty much, this is how this thread goes:

I'm doing a research paper in my RHT 160 class about... basically anything. I decided to do a topic on movies, and when I went deeped into the subject, I decided to do a paper on the movie "Citizen Kane".

Okay, I'm going to assume that most of you know what the movie Citizen Kane is about; the story of American tycoon Charles Foster Kane, how is rose to power and how is fell from grace and death is told from flashbacks from friends and associates of his. Anyway, in this research paper, we're suppose to ask a question regarding the topic decided before hand and answer it basically through ten pages. My question is for the Citizen Kane topic is this:

"What made Citizen Kane so controverisal and why is it hailed as the best movie made of all time?"

I pretty much got a good hold on the question and the answer himself but we are suppose to also get reactions and thoughts from other people and sources about the question of our topic and that's when I turn to you fine people here at the PCF.

So, if you can say anything at all about what you think about Citizen Kane, if you think its the greatest film of all time or if its not, tell me why you think that certain way and I'll greatly appreicate it.

Thanks again.
Peace.
Sharpshooter005 03-28-2006 05:07 PM
quote:
What made Citizen Kane so controverisal


Short answer. This guy:



Which is really funny, considering that through his efforts Hearst basically made it so that until the end of history, you can't bring him up without Citizen Kane somehow getting involved.

It also sort of ruined Welles, or helped it along, since it didn't really hit it big until the '50s. And by then Hearst had all but blackballed Welles in Hollywood.

I'm not going to challenge conventional wisdom, even if its not the BEST, it would only lose that competition by a whisker. Though...yeah, I basically consider it the best.

Why? You'll need to find a cinematography expert, since the technical details of it are basically beyond me in alot of respects. Aside from some of the obvious (jump cuts, a couple of other things), you know when you see ceilings in movies? That really wasn't done before Citizen Kane, it dosen't sound all that amazing but it was sure as hell different for the time.

Also the plot is great. We've all been beaten over the head with the knowledge rosebud is the sled, almost from the minute we're exposed to any kind of media. Even with the twist completely wrecked for you, it's still great. In alot of ways its sort of a detective story, tying the last words into the whole scope of Kane's life.

This is why its different yet similar to Birth of a Nation. Which was arguabky more innovative cinematically than Citizen Kane, but everything from the dialogue (er..title cards?) to the acting, to the plot, even sometimes the set design and costumes, was almost LAUGHABLE at parts (really, we all hear how it's disgustingly racist...and it really is, but it goes so far over the top that I actually had to stop from laughing at points).

I'm sure none of this really offers any new insight, we've all been told this list of reasons why its so genius a billion times..as far as I can tell though they're all true.

edit: Also this was the most famed example of Ted Turner's "colorization" idea. Prompting Welles to implore that Turner be kept away from the film with his "damned crayolas". Turner now claims the idea was a joke on his part, but if it wasn't then he honestly is the devil incarnate in my eyes.
Mr. Peabody 03-28-2006 05:16 PM
Citizen Kane was inspired by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was not flattered (the guy was a serious S.O.B) and used all his power to hurt the film and Orson Welles.

Hearst ordered that no adds or glowing reviews be printed in his newspapers. This hurt Citizen Kane at the box office, making it a financial flop. It also hurt Welles' career in Hollywood, as he was never given financial/creative control on a project again.
Generalissimo D 03-28-2006 05:27 PM
It's just awesome. I, at 14, found it quite remarkable if a little slow at times.

Casablanca kept me entertained longer, though.
Mike 03-28-2006 07:38 PM
Citizen Kane was revolutionary in the way it was made. most of the sets (particularly in Xanadu) were very minimal and the shot was just a small piece with a big matte painting around it.

Also, there are a lot of LONG shots (time-wise) in it. In one shot, the camera goes from outside, to inside, around the house, back out the window. In 1941 that kind of camera movement was revolutionary.

Plus, Orson Welles used lots of makeup to make himself look older/younger in the various stages of Kane's life.

The movie was way over budget and behind schedule and Welles had to struggle with RKO to let him finish it.

Yes, the movie is slow. Part of that is caused by each shot being REALLY long, sometimes one shot to one scene. Other movies (today too) have each scene made up of many many short shots and that makes things seem faster.

It's just an effing cool movie if you ask me.
Travis Bickle 03-28-2006 07:42 PM
I'm the only one in the world who thinks the Third Man is better than Citizen Kane. But Kane is still an amazing movie.
Sharpshooter005 03-28-2006 08:02 PM
quote:
I'm the only one in the world who thinks the Third Man is better than Citizen Kane


I seriously need to rent that, apparently.
Nine Kuze 03-29-2006 07:31 PM
Thanks for replying everybody. It really helps. I rented went out to the local Blockbusters that was five minutes away from me and I went out and rented Chinatown, Good Night, and Good Luck, and of course Citizen Kane. There's a second dvd with it that had this documentary PBS did called "The Battle over Citizen Kane" back in 2000 and it really gives you a great look into the separate lives of Orson Welles and William R. Hearst, how Citizen Kane came to be and what all the real fuss was about. It's really good and I watched the movie twice, once with Roger Ebert's commentary and he lets you in on all the technical aspects of the movie, which is just amazing.

quote:
Which is really funny, considering that through his efforts Hearst basically made it so that until the end of history, you can't bring him up without Citizen Kane somehow getting involved.

It also sort of ruined Welles, or helped it along, since it didn't really hit it big until the '50s. And by then Hearst had all but blackballed Welles in Hollywood.

Thanks, Sharpie and yeah, I bet Hearst didn't see that one coming. No person now can go without thinking of William Randolph Hearst without thinking of Citizen Kane, and all because of his efforts to destroy the film, which actually made it even more infamous. In a way it did destory Welles at the time, because after Kane, he couldn't get anyone to give him the kind of power RKO gave him for Kane. But later on it helped, because even back then, people were interested in why the film wasn't supposed to be seen and and that it was the greatest film ever.

quote:
Citizen Kane was inspired by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was not flattered (the guy was a serious S.O.B) and used all his power to hurt the film and Orson Welles.

It was supposedly inspired by Hearst and other tycoons like that back in the day, like Howard Hughes and JP Morgan. Although because of all the unseen trouble it was starting to give him, Welles never admitted that it was inspired by Hearst, even though it obviously was. Yeah, Hearst was described to be a real prick (from stealing other people newspaper staff to just creating straight up fake news) and the reason why he hated Citizen Kane was so much was not because Charles Foster Kane was a parody of him. It was because Susan Alexander Kane was a parody (a rather BAD one at that) of his mistress, Marion Davies.

quote:
Casablanca kept me entertained longer, though.

Me too, and Casablanca is my favorite film of all time. But Citizen Kane was more intriguing and much more better and complex as far the technical aspects of filmmaking go.

quote:
I'm the only one in the world who thinks the Third Man is better than Citizen Kane. But Kane is still an amazing movie.

Interesting how the American Film Instiute named Citizen Kane the greatest American film of all time and the British Film Instiute named The Third Man the greatest British Film of all time... and both have Orson Welles in it. Makes you think how good Welles really is.

quote:
It's just an effing cool movie if you ask me.

Well said my man. Well said.

Again, thanks a lot everybody and if you still got something to say about the movie then please feel free to post so.
Peace.
Sharpshooter005 03-30-2006 03:54 PM
quote:
Welles never admitted that it was inspired by Hearst, even though it obviously was.


It wasn't ONLY inspired by Hearst, though it definately was (there were parallels to others, towards the end of his life Welles said it was initially supposed to be based more on Hughes, but he changed it. And then said in an interview that the story of Kane and Hearst was "quite different")

Had he (Hearst) left it alone, it probably wouldn't have gone down in history as being ENTIRELY about him as it did.

Apparently one of the things that got Hearst so worked up initially, is one of his "inner circle" was a gossip columnist, who convinced him the film was a poorly disguised biopic completely about Hearst and his publishing empire.
Nine Kuze 03-30-2006 07:33 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Sharpshooter005
quote:
Welles never admitted that it was inspired by Hearst, even though it obviously was.


It wasn't ONLY inspired by Hearst, though it definately was (there were parallels to others, towards the end of his life Welles said it was initially supposed to be based more on Hughes, but he changed it. And then said in an interview that the story of Kane and Hearst was "quite different")

Had he (Hearst) left it alone, it probably wouldn't have gone down in history as being ENTIRELY about him as it did.

Apparently one of the things that got Hearst so worked up initially, is one of his "inner circle" was a gossip columnist, who convinced him the film was a poorly disguised biopic completely about Hearst and his publishing empire.

That's true about ol' boy Welles admitting that Citizen Kane was based off of William Randolph Hearst. And yeah, I also heard about him saying that it was originally intended to be based of Howard Hughes but the co-screenwriter of the script, Herman Mankewicz, already had so much info on Hearst, Welles decided to go for him instead.

Personally, I would have gone for Hughes instead of Hearst. I think the obsessive complusive disorder factor would have wonders for Citizen Kane as well as being a rich-ass tyrant who destroys everything and everyone around him.

True again about if Hearst had left Kane alone, he wouldn't have gone down in history as being the source of Citizen Kane. But the reason he attacked it so much was because how the character Susan Alexander Kane was supposedly based off of Marion Davies, and that pissed off the old man something fierce. Davies was actually a pretty good comedic actress but Hearst made her do movie genres that were outside her realm (like Jennifer Lopez doing anything other than romanic comedies. Or hell, Jennifer Lopez doing anything period) and Susan's talents in Citizen Kane were... well, you heard her sing.

And yeah, about the gossip columnist, there's a lot of drama in that angle and I didn't really want to go into that. But basically its like this; Hearst has two columnist who hate each other. One columnist gets to see Citizen Kane first and tells Hearst about it. The other columnist, who was known as Hearst's favorite, was in Chi-Town at the time and flees back over to California to do her own expose on Citizen Kane, taking three weeks off to kill Citizen Kane and make her rival columnist look bad. Hearst got the idea, got pissed off, and threatned the film industry anyway he can.

There's this one quote I like that the second columnist said to the heads at RKO if they didn't destroy Citizen Kane and listen to Hearst's threats: "If you boys want private lives, he'll give you private lives."
Peace.