Sunday, 6 October 2013

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: CITIZEN KANE

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

4. CITIZEN KANE (1941, dir. Orson Welles)

06/10/2013

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Has everything that there is to say about "Citizen Kane" been said?

Yes.

The End.

I now need to justify this.

People continue to watch "Citizen Kane" because it is one of the best films ever made. The story, direction, acting and camera work cannot be faulted. It is a monument to Orson Welles, who could have been the greatest film director there ever was, had he not been so hard to work with that he was given few chances to prove it. It is even hailed by the critic Barry Norman, on the making-of documentary included on the blu-ray edition of the film, as the greatest film by a first-time director, and the same documentary even dares to pick out the error where an optical printer accidentally allows a scene to show through the eye of a parrot that superimposed on the shot. Bernard Herrmann provides an outstanding effort in his first film score. Almost every scene in the film has been parodied in "The Simpsons", and most people will get every reference.

The endless fascination with "Citizen Kane" means everyone is so familiar with it, you almost don't need to have seen it to know it, much like myself with "The X Factor". Many books, magazine articles and other films repeat the lessons learned. This fact leads to a further layer of articles referencing that, like this one exists to do.

There is one aspect of "Citizen Kane" that has not been said, one that could not have been  anticipated when the film was made, or even in the last ten years, and one that I made sure I sat on until the end.

There will come a time when audiences of this film will need to look up what a newspaper was, and why someone was seen to only have the power to speak to the people when they own a newspaper, like Charles Foster Kane. Web 2.0, Twitter and Facebook means everyone else can shout just as loud, especially when it gets reported in the paper the next day.

Alright, it's not that great a fact but, at least, it was mine!

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