Monday, April 27, 2009


Citizen Kane * * * * *
Directed by: Orson Welles / 1941

There isn’t any need for me to repeat as others have a million times over with the brilliance and mastery of “Citizen Kane”. I’ll simply say that it’s an impressive feat of filmmaking (though maybe I was expecting a little more…blame it on the hype?), one I need to digest for more than three and a half hours, as I rushed to work right after it ended. Right now I’m just pondering if Orson Welles eventually embodied his Charles Foster Kane as he peaked early to world-acclaim by making one of the great, influential films at the age of 24. What did I make at 24!? It took me half that amount of age just to see his movie. It was worth the wait and I’m a little sad in some ways. Not seeing “Citizen Kane” was kind of my own movie watching “Rosebud” (and darn-it whomever film friend jerkily told me the answer to the mystery! Not cool!).

It was a high school history class where I first heard this classic movie mentioned, from my teacher. My young mind simply shrugging it off into the “Old Black & White” movie pile as I had Terminators, Jedi Masters, Col. John Matrix, Bruce Campbell, Ren & Stimpy and Monty Pythons to watch…over and over and over (and I still do). A few years later in a university history class it was said in swift passing after discussing William Randolph Hearst that a “Citizen Kane” viewing and report was worth some extra credit. I could tell by the professor’s blushed enthusiasm that she wanted to switch historical gears and talk cinema for the next three hours. I chewed on the initiative of “awesome easy credit that I don’t really have time for” until the weekend, only to find that more than likely classmates had beaten me to Blockbuster (this was before Netflix). I think I ended up meandering into the Action or Comedy aisle that Friday night and of course a date with a bag of Doritos, cheese dip and Reese’s Pieces. I gained five extra credit points that night, the so-called “Freshman 5”.

The past 8 or 9 years, as my movie window has widened, I’ve had some chances to see “Citizen Kane”. And this time last year I was really interested in finally marking it off the list as I was informed via a PBS documentary on Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz that he watched the film some 40 times, finding great connection and inspiration from it. Seeing it make the top of the American Film Institute list even furthered my curiosity. I passed purchasing the film cheap on a whim-before-watching a few times, something that I’ve stopped doing the past couple of years, buying before viewing. Well, that is until I was at Costco a few weekends ago and with tax refund money in hand. The sticker said, “$8.00” on the special edition DVDs for several cinema classics. I instantly snatched up a couple that I had on my “Must Purchase” list. Titles included “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.” And then I picked up “Citizen Kane”, thought for a second and put it at the top of my pile, a confident Kane-like Costco citizen.

Last year I said that 2009 would be the year for me to watch “Citizen Kane”. The hype has been building for so long that it was probably for the best that I put off seeing it until now, plus I wanted to devour more film to get ready. This morning I finally hit PLAY and was fully absorbed…and rewarded. I don’t want, rather I NEED, to see this one and over and over and over. I can’t wait. -djg

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