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Citizen Kane
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Citizen Kane

4.2 34

Cast: Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, Dorothy Comingore


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Orson Welles first feature film -- which he directed, produced, and co-wrote, as well as playing the title role -- proved to be his most important and influential work, a ground-breaking drama loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst which is frequently cited as the finest American film ever made. Aging newspaper magnate


Orson Welles first feature film -- which he directed, produced, and co-wrote, as well as playing the title role -- proved to be his most important and influential work, a ground-breaking drama loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst which is frequently cited as the finest American film ever made. Aging newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) dies in his sprawling Florida estate after uttering a single, enigmatic final word -- "Rosebud" -- and newsreel producer Rawlston (Phil Van Zandt) sends reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) out with the assignment of uncovering the meaning behind the great man's dying thought. As Thompson interviews Kane's friends, family, and associates, we learn the facts of Kane's eventful and ultimately tragic life: his abandonment by his parents (Agnes Moorehead and Harry Shannon) after he becomes the heir to a silver mine; his angry conflicts with his guardian, master financier Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris); his impulsive decision that "it would be fun to run a newspaper" with the help of school chum Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten) and loyal assistant Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane); his rise from scandal sheet publisher to the owner of America's largest and most influential newspaper chain; his marriage to socially prominent Emily Norton (Ruth Warrick), whose uncle is the President of the United States; Kane's ambitious bid for public office, which is dashed along with his marriage when his opponent, corrupt political boss Jim Gettys (Ray Collins), reveals that Kane is having an affair with aspiring vocalist Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore); Kane's vain attempts to promote second wife Alexander as an opera star; and his final, self-imposed exile to a massive and never-completed pleasure palace called Xanadu. While Citizen Kane was a film full of distinguished debuts -- along with Welles, it was the first feature for Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, and Ruth Warrick -- the only Academy Award it received was for Best Original Screenplay, for which Welles shared credit with veteran screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Karen Backstein
Citizen Kane is widely hailed as the "great American film" -- and with good reason. From its complex and dazzling narrative structure to cinematographer Gregg Toland's pioneering deep-focus photography to its incredibly rich use of sound, Orson Welles's 1941 picture remains one of the most innovative movies ever to come out of a Hollywood studio. Not bad for a 26-year-old upstart who had never directed a single film. Unfolding almost entirely in flashback, Welles's masterpiece presents various perspectives on the outsized life of the just-deceased Charles Foster Kane, a charismatic newspaper magnate bearing more than a passing resemblance to William Randolph Hearst. (Writers at the Hearst papers waged a campaign in print to have Citizen Kane banned.) Through the reminiscences of friends, family, and coworkers, the film moves from Kane's childhood to his rambunctious adolescence, from the heights of his success to the depths of his isolation -- all the while searching for a clue to Kane's mysterious last word: "Rosebud." The enigmatic phrase drives the tale, but ultimately it is only a means of exploring the film's real theme: the impossibility of truly understanding the heart and mind of any human being. No less a figure than Jorge Luis Borges hailed Kane's "labyrinth without a center" structure. The 60th anniversary DVD edition digs deeper into the Hearst-Welles bond with the addition of a commentary track by Welles acolyte Peter Bogdanovich.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Widely considered the greatest American movie ever made, Orson Welles's film debut reconceived Hollywood conventions of story-telling and visual structure, suggesting the essential mystery of a person's inner self and inspiring countless filmmakers with its technical accomplishments. Already famous for his work in radio and theater, 24-year-old Welles was given complete creative freedom when RKO Pictures signed him in 1939. Co-authored with Herman J. Mankiewicz, the Kane screenplay dispensed with linear biographical narrative in favor of flashbacks recounting Kane's life from several points of view, ostensibly to solve the puzzle of Kane's deathbed utterance. Collaborating with cinematographer Gregg Toland, Welles used specially constructed sets to compose the film through a number of long takes in deep focus and high-contrast black-and-white, creating meaning through the juxtaposition of multiple actions and characters in a single take rather than through numerous edits. While the imagery and the carefully choreographed soundtrack provide clues to Kane's nature as he ages from innocent boy to corrupt magnate, he ultimately remains an enigmatic figment of memory. Kane's real-life model, however, was no mystery; newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst tried to suppress what he considered an unflattering portrait of himself. While RKO rejected an offer to reimburse their costs in exchange for burning the negatives, Citizen Kane's release was hindered by Hearst's campaign against it. Though non-Hearst papers recognized it as a vanguard work, and it was nominated for nine Oscars (four for Welles himself), Kane was not a popular hit. Despite the film's artistic approbation and subsequent wide-ranging influence, from 1940s film noir to the French New Wave to American film school grads, Welles never again had creative control in Hollywood.

Product Details

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Original Release:
Turner Home Ent
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Disc 1:; Separate commentary by Roger Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich ; Interviews with Ruth Warrick and Robert Wise ; Premiere newsreel ; Stills gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Orson Welles Charles Foster Kane
Joseph Cotten Jedediah Leland
Everett Sloane Mr. Bernstein
Dorothy Comingore Susan Alexander
Ray Collins Boss Jim Gettys
Ruth Warrick Emily Norton Kane
George Coulouris Walter Parks Thatcher
Paul Stewart Raymond
Buddy Swan Kane as Child
Agnes Moorehead Kane's Mother
Harry Shannon Kane's Father
Sonny Bupp Kane III
Erskine Sanford Herbert Carter
William Alland Jerry Thompson
Georgia Backus Bertha
Philip Van Zandt Mr. Rawlston
Gus Schilling Headwaiter
Fortunio Bonanova Signor Matiste
Pedro de Cordoba Kane senior
Charles Bennett Entertainer
Joan Blair Georgia
Edmund Cobb Enquirer Reporter
Eddie Coke Reporter
Gino Corrado Gino
Herbert Corthell City Editor
Louise Currie Reporter
Robert Dudley Photographer
Al Eben Mike
Edith Evanson Nurse
Arthur Kay Orchestra Leader
Milt Kibbee Reporter
Alan Ladd Reporter
Ellen Lowe Miss Townsend
Irving Mitchell Dr. Corey
Arthur O'Connell Reporter
Benny Rubin Smather
Walter Sande Reporter
Tudor Williams Chorus Master

Technical Credits
Orson Welles Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Arthur Appell Choreography
Linwood G. Dunn Special Effects
Perry Ferguson Art Director
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Herman Mankiewicz Screenwriter
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Mark Robson Editor
Maurice Seiderman Makeup
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
James G. Stewart Sound/Sound Designer
Gregg Toland Cinematographer
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Robert Wise Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Citizen Kane - Citizen Kane
1. Chapter 1 [3:11]
2. Chapter 2 [9:18]
3. Chapter 3 [1:52]
4. Chapter 4 [2:55]
5. Chapter 5 [1:17]
6. Chapter 6 [4:19]
7. Chapter 7 [4:19]
8. Chapter 8 [2:34]
9. Chapter 9 [2:32]
10. Chapter 10 [5:01]
11. Chapter 11 [2:25]
12. Chapter 12 [5:19]
13. Chapter 13 [4:15]
14. Chapter 14 [5:44]
15. Chapter 15 [5:29]
16. Chapter 16 [3:05]
17. Chapter 17 [4:19]
18. Chapter 18 [2:43]
19. Chapter 19 [4:39]
20. Chapter 20 [2:07]
21. Chapter 21 [5:16]
22. Chapter 22 [2:25]
23. Chapter 23 [3:50]
24. Chapter 24 [3:21]
25. Chapter 25 [5:49]
26. Chapter 26 [2:20]
27. Chapter 27 [3:04]
28. Chapter 28 [3:21]
29. Chapter 29 [4:21]
30. Chapter 30 [3:20]
Disc #2 -- Citizen Kane - The Battle Over Citizen Kane
1. Introduction [7:22]
2. An American Saga [3:25]
3. Hearst - Building an Empire [8:51]
4. Welles - a Controversial Career [15:56]
5. Hearst and American Politics [12:18]
6. The War of the Worlds [11:13]
7. Life at San Simeon [15:28]
8. Welle's Arrival in Hollywood [5:50]
9. Filming Citizen Kane [6:58]
10. Attempts to Crush Citizen Kane [16:24]
11. The Decline of Hearst and Welles [9:35]
Disc #3 -- Citizen Kane - RKO 281
1. Main Title / Orson Makes a Wish [4:14]
2. "Good Evening, Mr. Hearst" [8:57]
3. "Take My Hand, Mank" [8:27]
4. Genius at Work [5:58]
5. RKO 281 Begins [7:13]
6. "Come Back, Mank" [4:07]
7. RKO 281 Wraps [3:17]
8. The First Screening [5:22]
9. Hearst Strikes [10:11]
10. Pressure Builds [8:41]
11. Hollywood Vs. Welles [8:35]
12. End Game [11:29]


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Citizen Kane 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I concede it may be hard to get into the movie, it has not dated as well as other famous, big name movies have. What is considered acceptably entertaingining by one generation seems dull or even annoying n another. Still, Citizen Kane remains one of the most influential, best produced, visually brilliant movies ever made. Movies were very very different before and after its creation. Up to that point, the film industry had apparently defined everything that was possible, marketable and makable in the industry, and then Welles came in and destroys all the perceptions apart. Also interesting is that this one of the very first 'unauthorized biopics' in a sense it is an unauthorized adaptation of William Hearst's life story, fictionalized to a degree that you could distinguish the character from the real life person, but still enough similarities to tell that it was describing that person. Anyway, the use of innovative cuts, shots and sounds, the grandiose story, and some really solid acting make this an all time classic. I coul list all these guys who could not, or would not know how to make films the way they do if this film was not made. And I will: Coppola, Speielberg, Woo, Lucas, Rodriguez, Hitchcock, Tarantino, Scorsese, Cuaron, Lau, Chan, Hark, Peckinpah, et cetera. And no, I am not exaggerating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had been hearing all my life about how great a film this is. After having watched it, I couldn't agree more. A flawless masterpiece. From the acting, to the writing, to the camera work, I have nothing but praise for this work. It is little wonder that Mr. Welles was never able to top it. Worth every penny.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being only 25 when he made it, Orson Welles deserves three rounds for this one. Even if some do not find it exactly entertaining (though I am not one of them), the originality of the cinematography, script, and storyline all deserve a round of applause from any viewer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How could anyone give this gem anything but a 5-star rating. From the camerawork to the editing to the acting, there is nothing about this film that is less than superb. To say this is a classic is like saying "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a pretty good book. One of a handful of absolutely must-see films!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Citizen Kane is not necessarially the greatest movie ever made, but it is near the top of the list of anyone who has any kind of understanding of the artistic portion of filmmaking. It was revoloutionary in many ways, including one of the first movies to have location shots. The story is great, and the cinematography is some of the best ever seen. A tour de force.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't go thinking this has paled with age, Thare's plenty to learn from and impassion us (IF you can) in this masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No film has touched Hollywood so gently or so forcefully as this innovative, honest, and truly American film did and still does. Orson Welles is in top form and shows why being well-known in pictures isn't required to be a good actor. His character ranks with Vito Corleone and Lawrence of Arabia as the most complexly human film character. I am only 15 and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Some may ignorantly gripe about the films length and thought-inducing plot, but to do so is to forget what a movie is supposed to do: tell an engaging story. It may be older and lack color, but it is no less potent now than in 1941. It will never be forgotten and shall always be revered as the quintessential American film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best film ever released before in the history of films. The editing was like no other and the acting of Orsen Welles wasn't to bad either, I guess thats what you get when you let a genius direct a film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Citizen Kane is undoubtedly best film ever made because of the great storyline, great acting, great transtition, great use of visual, and it's just truly great. Orson Welles was at his peak when making this film and it's shame that he never got a chance to make another masterpiece such as Citizen Kane. This is truly must see for every movie buff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
if your looking for a movie to just sit down and not give your full attention, this is not the movie for you.if your looking at citizen kane from a filmakeing point of view, it's amazing.it's angles, flashbacks, and subtle humor are things to look forward to,but you will have to probably watch this film a few times to understand and appreciate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good film and a classic example of 1940's storytelling put onto film along with innovative (for its time) cinematography. Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) is a newspaper mogul that has recently passed away. Through stories told and memories shared by friends and colleagues, we learn about this man from his childhood, to his rise to fame and fall from grace. This is a movie classic and an essential film to see if you are a film buff. Orson Welles gives a spectacular performance as do Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Agnes Moorehead and Ruth Warrick. The film may be a little hard to get into at first, but as the stories behind Mr. Kane's life are told and scandals revealed, one can't help being compelled to stay and see what else comes to light. Highly recommended!
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