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Citizen Kane

Updated on March 30th, 2019

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

After his death, the life of Charles Foster Kane – newspaper magnate and all-round larger-than-life American – is told from the perspective of those who knew him. A newspaper reporter is interviewing those in Kane’s life hoping to learn the meaning of Kane’s last word, Rosebud. Kane was sent to a boarding school at a young age after his mother struck it rich thanks to a mining claim that was signed over to her in lieu of rent.

He came into his vast fortune at the age of 25 and promptly bought a newspaper. His idea of news was to make it as much as report it and along with his good friend, Jedediah Leland, had a rollicking good time. Unsuccessful in his bid for political office, his relationships with those around him begin to deteriorate and he dies, old and alone, whispering the word Rosebud.

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Movie Reviews: “Citizen Kane

Movie Review: The New Republic

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane can be approached in several ways: as a film, as an event, as a topic of the times, etc. The outline of the story is simplicity itself, almost like saying, “Once upon a time there was a man of whom certain things are remembered.” But its presentation is managed in complex ways and its conclusions are so vague with the shadows of meaning that it is easy to read almost anything into it, including what was actually put there.

The things to be said are that it is the boldest free-hand stroke in major screen production since Griffith and Bitzer were running wild to unshackle the camera; that it has the excitement of all surprises without stirring emotions much more enduring; and that in the line of the narrative film, as developed in a countries but most highly on the West Coast of America, it holds no great place.

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Movie Review: Hollywood Reporter

These items interested us, made the entertainment much greater, and how much an audience’s ignorance of these facts will discount the actual entertainment, we can’t tell. But we’ll venture the opinion that no ticket buyer, if he ever has the opportunity of buying a ticket to see Citizen Kane, will leave the theatre mad at his buy, because he will be entertained, although probably not as much as those knowing the inside of this whole production.

Whether the story was inspired by the life of William Randolph Hearst is of little interest to this reviewer; that’s for others to determine and act as they see fit. However, we might express our opinion that we will be surprised if the picture ever hits a theatre where admission is charged, and if that is finally the case, audiences will lose the opportunity of seeing a fine motion picture produced in a most adult fashion and one that should lift Orson Welles right up to the top of producers and actors.

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Movie Review: Los Angeles Times

Citizen Kane

April 10, 1941: “Citizen Kane” does occasionally sink to dullness because of its reiterations, notwithstanding it can be classified as, in a number of aspects, one of the most arresting pictures ever produced, Edwin Schallert says.

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