Late To The Party: Citizen Kane

Each week in Late to the Party, someone posts about an older piece of media that they’ve just experienced for the first time. This week Wasp returns for a Third Time to talk about Citizen Kane a 1941 mystery/Drama from RKO and directed by Orson Welles.

Thompson: No, I don’t think so; no. Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything. I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, a missing piece.

TLDR: Citizen Kane is every bit of good that people have been saying it is for decades at this point.

Writing another glowing review of Citizen Kane at this point feels like throwing a bucket of water onto the ocean, it isn’t going to get noticed. While I won’t let that stop me from from going over the things I love about the movie it really needs no explanation or introduction from me.

The Characters: This section is called characters but it really should just be Character. Charles Foster Kane is the biggest presence in this film. He’s the sun by which the entire film orbits. Orson Welles acting in this phenomenal, he lends an inescapable weight and presence to Kane that even has me in the audience generations removed from him believe he is standing right next to me extolling the virtues of himself.

The Look: Citizen Kane is a wonderfully dreamy film to experience. The sets are lavish and larger than life. (The chair Mankiewicz is sitting on is the biggest thing in his office!) the scenes only have has many characters as necessary and no more. (Any outdoors scene will show you how empty the world is.) Even the passage of time is handled visually with no cue cards or words saying “ten years later” and the whole plot unfolds semi linerally with a nesting doll structure pulling us back in time a bit as each character begins their recollections.

Gregg Tolan is a goddamn wizard of a cinematographer

In Conclusion: Citizen Kane is a singular moment in film history. A sort of statement of purpose for how the art form will progress going forward and just a damn good time. I look forward to revisiting it again in the future.