Directed by Orson Welles. US. 1941. NR. 119 minutes. Warner. Digital.
Sun., November 1, 2015
Whether or not one agrees with those who have rated Citizen Kane as the finest movie ever made, it is, for certain, one of the most impressive directorial debuts in the history of film. Helmed by the 25-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles (who had, shortly before, shocked the worlds of Broadway and radio with his Mercury Theater productions and sent thousands running from their homes in panic with his “War of The Worlds” radio broadcast), Citizen Kane is truly essential viewing. Basically the story of the rise and decline of a flawed but fabulous newspaper tycoon, told largely through flashbacks, it is also a mystery, a melodrama, and an evocation of the years during which publisher William Randolph Hearst dominated the American scene. Utilizing a remarkable spectrum of cinema techniques, especially the deep-focus cinematography of Gregg Toland; and incisive and witty dialogue written by Welles and Herman Mankiewicz, Citizen Kane is truly a masterpiece and the perfect film to kick of our celebration of the Orson Welles Centennial. (Bill Roth)