Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Citizen Kane 70 years later

If any film can be said to be great, Citizen Kane is it. I'm happy that I began watching it back in the 70s when everybody was a movie nut and there were revival houses everywhere and I could see it on the big screen where it belongs. I mean, it's okay on TV (especially, I guess, as TV screens get bigger), but it is such a movie movie that it should be seen in a movie house. Then again, the disk I own has commentary by both Roger Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich, so there's a bright side to everything.

The story of Welles and Kane is famous, of course, how the wunderkind conquered theater and radio and headed out west to take Hollywood by storm, how a certain Mr. William Randolph Hearst was not particularly charmed by the perceived resemblance of Kane to his own character (and its reflection on his mistess), how Welles seemed to go on the road to ruin following the 1941 release of Kane, a genius unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled. D.B. Grady, in his Atlantic article "Citizen Kane' at 70: The Legacy of the Film and Its Director," does a great job of summing up Welles and his magnum opus.

But let's have Welles have the last word, as quoted by Grady:

"By coincidence, as related by Welles in his autobiography, he once found himself alone in an elevator with Hearst. It was the night of Citizen Kane's San Francisco premiere, and Welles invited him to the opening. 'He didn't answer. And as he was getting off at his floor, I said, 'Charles Foster Kane would have accepted.' "

Source: Culture: The Atlantic

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