Citizen Kane is on just about every list of “movies you should have already seen” I can think of. Citizen Kane is even on the one list I am slowly completing. No, I don’t want to be a film critic or even part of the movie industry, but I have to say, after watching it I understand why it is on everyone’s list.
One other thing I must point out to you. On today’s high quality televisions, black and white is phemon! I could not believe the resolution! I expected the grainy pictures I remember as a kid with my own cheap black and white television. Nope. Black and white on today’s high resolution flat panel televisions, even the cheap ones like I have in this corporate housing unit, is absolutely stunning. I was blown away.
Another thing I really loved, and completely miss from today’s cinema, was the cheesy Movietone News segment the movie starts out with. That’s a bygone era we really need to try and bring back.
Okay, you young kids cannot understand this, but, very few people actually had televisions back when both World Wars happened. In fact, televisions didn’t start finding their way into people’s homes in any large scale manner until the 1950s. Better off households had a large wood box radio like the larger ones you can find here. People would sit around reading and listening to the radio.
Once in a while people would venture out to see a movie. After movie theaters got air conditioning, people would go to the movies just to cool off. Normally you got much more than one movie for your ticket. Besides the cartoons, the one thing you could always count on getting was “the news”. In retrospect these news reels appear to be huge amounts of propaganda, but, they allowed the government to shape what the public believed. These clips were edited to deliver a precise message. Many times the message was to “buy war bonds” or “do your part to help the war effort”, but sometimes they were to document crowning achievements like the construction of a building or a dam.
Back to “Citizen Kane”, yes, Rosebud was a sled. It is sad that most people only take that away from the movie. In truth, Rosebud was the only thing he had during childhood which he cherished. It, like his childhood, was taken from him. He suffered huge psychological and character flaws due to that loss. Even though he was the richest man in the world he became so trapped in his own loss and need for everyone to love him that he didn’t realize his one prized childhood possession had been returned to him. There, after his death, the people going through acres of crated up things in his estate was Rosebud. They thought it a piece of junk and tossed it in a fire. The movie even makes a point of saying when the sled arrived, many years before his death.
Those who write, and those who think, are left to wonder if it would have changed him had he gone through those crates. Others simply walk away saying “all of that for a sled? This movie really sucked!”
“Citizen Kane” was and is a great movie. I’m glad I waited until the Autumn of my years to watch it. In a very simple way it divides the masses between thinkers and video game players.