Sunday, 3 February 2013

Citizen Kane

CITIZEN KANE (Black and white, 1941)
Orson Welles

Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Paul Stewart and Ruth Warrick

13 and up

Charles Foster Kane lives in Xanadu, Florida. He dies suddenly, only muttering the word "Rosebud" while looking into a snow globe. Mr. Bernstein (Sloane) is ordered to find out more about the death and approaches many of Charles’ friends, including fellow reporter Jed Leland (Cotton), his first wife (Moorehead), an ex-servant (Stewart) and many others, but soon realizes he is going in circles.

Why it’s good:
It reflects simply on wealth, life and its frauds. If you have already watched this, you will understand that wealth can sometimes be bad and that wealth can take control of our fate and lives.

Also great about the film is its cinematography and photography. You will notice how Gregg Toland’s camera manoeuvres around the mansion – it starts at the "No Trespassing"sign around the gate of the mansion while it takes in scenes of Charles’ wealth.

The film is also explicit and then classic in its own way with excellent direction and a well-written screenplay.

Parent’s guide:
There is some drinking within Kane and Jed, an excellent team. If you think they need to know about the newspaper industry first, do point out the key points when they float up (e.g. There is a circulation board outside of the newspaper company Welles’ runs, "The Inquirer").

It was nominated for twelve Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, but only won the one for screenplay. Most of the film’s cast come from The Mercury Theatre, founded by Welles at age 21.
Still of Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton in Citizen Kane

If you like this…:
Check out "The Third Man" (1949) which pairs Welles and Cotton in a film-noir directed by Carol Reed. Welles plays Harry Lime, a criminal, while Cotton plays novelist Holly Martins.

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