When you beat out “Casablanca,” “The Godfather,” “Gone With the Wind” and “Hudson Hawk” to be named the best freakin’ film of all time by the American Film Institute, there’s little we should have to do to sell ya on it. (Yes, we tossed in the Hawkmeister to see if you were paying attention)
We’re talking, of course, about the Orson Welles classic “Citizen Kane.” And this week, recent Michigan State graduate and current San Jose Mercury News intern Carrie Hoover (a.k.a. grand champion of the first SND Intern competition last fall in Orlando) takes us inside the greatest movie of all time.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard us say this before, and we’ll say it again until all of you have reviewed a movie for us! Get involved! Send us an e-mail and we’ll get you on the VIP reviewers list!
As reviewed by Carrie Hoover, Design Intern, San Jose Mercury News
Released: 1941. Length: 1:59.
Director: Orson Welles. Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Everett Sloane.
Awards Circuit: A very impressive nine Academy Award nominations, though it brought home just one Oscar for Original Screenplay for Welles and co-writer Herman Mankiewicz. The multi-talented Welles also was nominated for Best Actor and Best Director, not to mention Best Picture (he also produced the film). But perhaps the most important awards have come from any of the multitude of organizations and publications who have named this the No. 1 movie in film history.
What Leonard Maltin says: “Welles’ first and best, a film that broke all the rules and invented some new ones … A stunning film in every way … and Welles was only 25 when he made it!” (****) (From Leonard Maltin’s 2007 Movie Guide)
Plot synopsis: A man robbed of his innocence and childhood loves to gain the love and attention of people through controlling the news and creating it. Even in his death, he haunts the media who investigate his last words.
Reality Check: In parts, Charles Foster Kane (Welles) is a little ridiculous with how he “creates” the news — but that is often the reality.
Geek Factor: Super geek flick for investigative reporters and story-hungry journalists alike. Everything leaves a question, and the way it all cycles is incredible.
Crucial scene not to be missed: However monotonous, DO NOT miss the first scene of the movie, in which Kane is a little boy playing with his sled in the snow — otherwise nothing else will make sense.
The character of Charles Kane is one who symbolizes American culture and how it becomes corrupted by society and, indirectly, the media. But the media reigns triumphant because it provides the only way that we as the audience can identify with the humanity peering from underneath this man consumed by his reputation.
Prominently mentioned in the movie, the idea of “love on his terms” becomes a repetitious one between Kane and other people. It drives most of them away and leaves him alone. Though he owns about 30 media outlets, real estate, factories and mines and enough sculptures for ten museums, he is alone until death — and then he is mourned. He is mourned through the media and he becomes the biggest headlining news in all of his and other newspapers. In a sense, I asked myself, is he finally getting the return investment on his love?
When you wade through all his collections, endeavors and relationships with people, you don’t need to see the word “rosebud” to know what it means (and no, I’m not going to spoil it entirely, as it really can’t be spoiled).
So the media becomes the murderer and the hero. Have we convinced people into thinking that they can buy us with money or lifestyle? Maybe — or maybe that’s what we’re afraid of. On the other hand, do we provide the opportunity to connect with other human beings? Does that which we don’t understand about one person, explored through storytelling, help others connect to each other? Well, that’s my favorite part of working for a newspaper.
Movie Monday Archives!
5.14.07: “Spider-Man 3” (MattE)
5.21.07: “Deadline — U.S.A.” (Chris Ross)
6.04.07: “Foreign Correspondent” (Bill Thornbro)
6.11.07: “Man On Fire” (Mike Rice)