Classic Hollywood. Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. Yareah review by Dewey Edward Chester.
Citizen Kane is an American dramatic motion-picture produced by and starring Orson Welles. It was his first feature.
Considered the greatest Hollywood film ever made, Citizen Kane is praised for its character study and narrative structure, which was innovative for its time.
After success with his Mercury Players, and his controversial 1938 radio broadcast, Orson Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures and given freedom to develop his own material.
He realized the need for an original story, and fortunately Herman Jacob Mankiewicz was available.
“Mank” was a brilliant screenwriter who had partied with the great newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, and saw him as a finagling, calculating Machiavellian figure.
Mank hit on the idea of using Hearst as his central character, and won the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Screenplay.’
The story begins when a legendary American newspaper publisher has just died, and the world mourns his passing.
News professionals swarm over his property to report this sensational story: “What were his last words?” one reporter asks another.
“Rosebud” is the reply, and the life of Charles Foster Kane unfolds as a series of flashbacks in search of what that last word meant.
Intrigued, reporter Jerry Thompson investigates the private archive of the late Walter Parks Thatcher, and learns that Kane’s childhood was spent in poverty, until “The world’s third largest gold mine” was discovered on his mother’s property.
Kane was ten years old, playing on the snowy slopes of Colorado when his mother called him home; he would be sent away to be “educated properly” by a Banker.
Jerry Thompson interviews Kane’s business manager, Mr. Bernstein; his estranged friend, Jedediah Leland; his wife, Susan Alexander; and finally his butler.
Kane was 25 when he gained control of his trust fund, and bought the New York Inquirer.
He hired the best writers available then rose to power by manipulating public opinion. He married the niece of an American President, and then began a campaign for Governor of New York.
An affair with a singer destroyed his marriage and brought his political ambitions to an abrupt end.
Discouraged, he married the singer and forced her into a humiliating operatic career for which she had no talent.
After years spent in boredom, isolation and domination, she ultimately left him, and his last years were spent building his vast estate, Xanadu.
Raymond, the butler, recounts to Reporter Jerry Thompson that he saw Kane pocket a snow globe soon after his wife left.
On his deathbed, Kane held that snow globe and uttered the single word, “Rosebud,” before dying.
When Reporter Jerry returns to Xanadu, a vast number of Kane’s belongings are being catalogued: priceless works of art are intermingled with worthless pieces of modern furniture.
Jerry concludes the meaning of “Rosebud” will forever remain a mystery. He theorizes that “Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, and then lost it all.
“Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost.”
As the drama ends, the camera reveals that Rosebud was the name of a sled from Kane’s childhood—-an allusion to the only time in his life when he was happy.
The sled, thought to be junk, is burned in a basement by Xanadu’s departing staff.