Bethluvsfilms

Finally saw CITIZEN KANE on DVD last night...

60 posts in this topic

I don't think knowing Rosebud is the sled's name is all that important. The film unravels what the sled, the snowy cabin represents for Kane. It's the story of Kane's repression through the years and how it manifests into the man who died at the beginning of the story.
I love it for just that reason.

ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE is kind of in the same vein-although those involved are more "regular" people than the "great" Kane. George Bailey actually gets a do-over before ruining his life over money. But then, George Bailey has a strong foundation of support from family/friends while Kane is completely on his own, the crux of both stories.

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I've seen them all from the Hollywood studio system days, I think, all the biggies.

I'm not counting, of course, some lost silent like London After Midnight which I doubt that anyone alive today has seen, of course. Now I try to catch up on some of the smaller, less celebrated films from that era.

As for Kane . . .

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I always liked that momentarily shocking moment (it shocked me, at least) with sudden appearance of the shrieking cockatiel with the missing eye. I know it's a minor moment and has nothing to do with the story but it made me wonder if years later it may have inspired Carol Reed to have his own cockatiel scene in The Third Man, a film with a couple of the actors from Kane in it, as well.

Kane is clearly a monumental, brilliant piece of filmmaking in so many ways. That masterful photography and all those matte paintings alone make it worth several viewings. But I never really get into the film emotionally. Welles's film noirs (Lady from Shanghai and A Touch of Evil) are my favourites from his career when it comes to repeat viewings.

Still, Kane is a film with so many striking visuals. Let's not forget that cinematographer Gregg Toland deserves so much credit for the look of the film. Welles must have been leaning on him constantly. "Can we do this? How about this? Never been done before? Let's try it!"

 

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Isn't that a cockatoo in Kane and not a cockatiel?

 

Cockatoo on the left,   and two cockatiels  (my pair look just like this,  with the male being gray).

 

image.jpeg.e545528eb808a1a128d3905176da43c9.jpeg    image.jpeg.66f54677c4598e1515f6f90bda5bb483.jpeg

 

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My only gripe with Citizen Kane is the continuing perception that Kane was based on William Randolph Hearst and that Susan was based on Marion Davies. Yes, there are some parallels, but Welles' characters are more amalgams like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

The similarities were obvious enough at the time for Hearst to campaign savagely against the film. But that's another story.

Davies always claimed never to have seen the film. When her memoir, The Times We Had was published more than a decade after her death (based on a series of audio recordings she made in the 1950s), Welles wrote a contrite apology to Davies. Too little, too late.

The major problem was that when Citizen Kane came out in 1941, long before movies aired on TV and long before VHS and DVD releases on classic movies, Davies had already been off the screen for four years. Four years of hundreds and hundreds of new movies released since 1937 had dimmed audiences' memories of Davies and her movies. Arguably, her best work had come more than a decade earlier than Kane. It was easy for audiences to see Susan as a true representation of Davies. Over the following decades, Davies' reputation as a star actress took a bad beating.

Only with the rise of "home theaters" that brought the VHS and DVD and Blu-ray editions of classic films, along with stalwart Davies fans like TCM's Robert Osborne and director Peter Bogdanovich did the reclamation of Davies begin.

Over the years TCM has broadcast 15 of the 16 talkies Davies made, and several of her 30 silent films. More importantly, these 15 talkies have all be released on DVD as have about a dozen of the silent films. While Davies may not be everyone's cup of tea, it's easy to see that she was a talented comedienne and a solid dramatic actress. In a career that spanned 20 years, including the transition to sound, Davies starred in about four dozen films. For most of her career, she ranked with the top stars of the day. She had a large and loyal fan base. The stories about her films all being flops is simply not true, as can be seen from box-office reports in Variety and other sources.

The very first major write-in campaign at the Oscars was for Davies in Peg o' My Heart. Davies was named "Queen of the Screen" for 1922-23 by the nation's theater owners for her mega-hits When Knighthood Was in Flower and Little Old New York. Her silent comedies The Patsy and Show People rank among the great silent comedies.

Even today, the discoveries keep happening with Show People screened at this year's TCM Film Festival and Knighthood being screened at venues in Toronto, Detroit and New York. Beauty's Worth, a 1922 film, is being shown this summer/fall at several venues in Italy, including the prestigious festival at Pordenone.

Recent DVD and Blu-ray releases have included Knighthood, Beauty's Worth, The Bride's Play, and Enchantment.

Untarnishing a reputation takes time. In the long run, Marion Davies' reputation will escape the shadow of Citizen Kane.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, drednm said:

The similarities were obvious enough at the time for Hearst to campaign savagely against the film. But that's another story.

I wonder how much this Hearst campaign against Kane increased interest in the film.    (similar to what we see today where someone tweets about a book,  which only increases interest in the book and keeps it in the news cycle longer).

 

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8 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I wonder how much this Hearst campaign against Kane increased interest in the film.    (similar to what we see today where someone tweets about a book,  which only increases interest in the book and keeps it in the news cycle longer).

 

I think the Hearst-led media blackout must have hurt it at the BO. I'm surprised it got the Oscar nominations it did. Taken as purely fictional, it's a brilliant film, one of my favorites.

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3 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I wonder how much this Hearst campaign against Kane increased interest in the film.    (similar to what we see today where someone tweets about a book,  which only increases interest in the book and keeps it in the news cycle longer).

At the time I don't think it increased interest. The film was a modest financial success, far from a blockbuster. And of course it lost in eight out of nine categories in which it was Oscar-nominated (including Best Picture). If Hearst hadn't banned advertising for it in his papers then it arguably would have had more people turning out to see it. He effectively took away some of the publicity that would have made it a bonafide hit. And I think we can say he was able to make sure it was not a victor on Oscar night.

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Herman Mankiewicz was a fairly regular guest at Hearst's lavish boreathons at San

Simeon. So while other tycoons were used to some extent as models for Kane,

Hearst was the main one. The biggest shot Herman took was rosebud, which in

its original use had nothing to do with sleds. 

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2 hours ago, drednm said:

...Untarnishing a reputation takes time. In the long run, Marion Davies' reputation will escape the shadow of Citizen Kane.

Yep, and when in about another generation, nobody'll will even KNOW who the hell EITHER William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies OR Orson Welles even WERE!!!

LOL

(...and when that generation is overwhelmingly filled with people who'll think watching a black & white film, ANY black & white film regardless its quality, will be considered something people JUST don't do anymore, and primarily FOR the reason that "all that stuff happened YEARS before they were born"...well, besides of course those OTHER "reasons" of "they JUST can't get into B&W movies 'cause the plots "move so slow" and/or "there's JUST not enough action in 'em") ;)

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7 hours ago, TomJH said:

Still, Kane is a film with so many striking visuals. Let's not forget that cinematographer Gregg Toland deserves so much credit for the look of the film. Welles must have been leaning on him constantly. "Can we do this? How about this? Never been done before? Let's try it!"

There's the famous story of Welles trying to get Toland's camera low enough for one of his ceilinged low-angle shots of Kane, and when Gregg said "we can't get it any lower!", taking a pickax and cutting a hole in Culver's studio floor to get it:

RR511.jpg

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8 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Isn't that a cockatoo in Kane and not a cockatiel?

 

Cockatoo on the left,   and two cockatiels  (my pair look just like this,  with the male being gray).

 

image.jpeg.e545528eb808a1a128d3905176da43c9.jpeg    image.jpeg.66f54677c4598e1515f6f90bda5bb483.jpeg

 

That cockatoo in Citizen Kane looks even scarier with the all white eye.  Either his eye is closed or perhaps it's the stage lights reflecting off of it.

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This is my bird! His name is Buddy.

 

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53 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

That cockatoo in Citizen Kane looks even scarier with the all white eye.  Either his eye is closed or perhaps it's the stage lights reflecting off of it.

 

The cockatoo's eye is actually missing in the film. You can see right through his head. I don't believe it was intentional. There was some kind of optical error, I believe.

Buddy looks nice, by the way. I've got a pair of budgies myself.

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

The cockatoo's eye is actually missing in the film. You can see right through his head. I don't believe it was intentional. There was some kind of optical error, I believe.

Buddy looks nice, by the way. I've got a pair of budgies myself.

Interesting.  Now I feel like I need to re-watch Citizen Kane just to see the cockatoo's missing eye! 

Thank you! Buddy is a yellow-sided green cheek conure.  He's 1.5 years old. My husband had him picked out when he was still inside the egg.

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2 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

I love all birds, inside and outside.  I've had a parakeet and cockatiels.  The TV screen behind Buddy doesn't look to be tuned to TCM.

No.  Buddy and I were watching The Simpsons (It was the hilarious clown college episode, so there's that).  There weren't any movies on today that were interesting to me.  Buddy and I did watch The Awful Truth the other day.  Buddy likes musicals (I bet he'd love Funny Face ;-P) and he also really likes I Love Lucy--or at least I pretend he does. But he truly does seem to be attentive to musicals--especially the colorful Gene Kelly ones. 

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I believe the Cockatoo's eye is "clear" because of the "green screen" effect. When you remove all of one color from a print (in the cockie's case "black") it is clear and only the other color (in this case "white") shows up. Kind of like if you're wearing a green shirt in front of a "green" screen it becomes "background", transparent. Whatever is projected on the green screen will show on your shirt.

Nice still photos shown there, Tom.

kane2-300x225.jpg

This inspired me to place two mirrors opposite each other in my 4'x4' doorway vestibule. New visitors to my house play "find the classic movie references" and often miss that one. Wish my mirrors were twin gothic ones like the picture!

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

I believe the Cockatoo's eye is "clear" because of the "green screen" effect. When you remove all of one color from a print (in the cockie's case "black") it is clear and only the other color (in this case "white") shows up. Kind of like if you're wearing a green shirt in front of a "green" screen it becomes "background", transparent. Whatever is projected on the green screen will show on your shirt.

 

The bird's eye is actually missing because at one point you can briefly see the background behind the bird through the bird's eye.

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The narrator of this video feels compelled to swear a fair amount, for some reason. I guess he thinks that's cool, Nevertheless, you might find this video interesting.

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41 minutes ago, TomJH said:

The bird's eye is actually missing because at one point you can briefly see the background behind the bird through the bird's eye.

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Is it a dead or fake bird? Because even if the bird's eye was missing, you wouldn't be able to see completely through his head to the other side. What you're seeing is the green-screen effect projecting the background image onto the eye, much the same way a TV weatherman's background will appear on his clothes if he wears the wrong color.

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14 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Is it a dead or fake bird? Because even if the bird's eye was missing, you wouldn't be able to see completely through his head to the other side. What you're seeing is the green-screen effect projecting the background image onto the eye, much the same way a TV weatherman's background will appear on his clothes if he wears the wrong color.

My bird's eyes look like the top picture when they're closed.  He has a thin line of eyelashes that you can see when his eyes are closed.  I don't see the background through his eye?  

I agree with the reflection theory.  Maybe the bird is reflecting the soundstage lighting?

I think I'll have to re-watch Citizen Kane

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I'm sorry, but didn't anyone read my explanation of why you can see through the bird's eye?
It's clear, you can see through it because it was superimposed onto another piece of film, like a modern green screen. The clear eye is a casualty of that effect.

Lawrence then reiterated my explanation directly after in simpler terms (and repeats the term "green screen") comparing it to a weatherman's broadcast in front of a projection screen.

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As there WAS no( AFAIK) "green screen" use back then, the bird's "superimosing" in the scene is obvious.  So, admit it.....

HOW long was it before MANY of us noticed the birds flying around in the "beach/picnic" scene are animated, and NOT real?  ;)  I'll admit it took my 4th or 5th viewing until it dawned on me.  :P

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I'm sorry, but didn't anyone read my explanation of why you can see through the bird's eye?
It's clear, you can see through it because it was superimposed onto another piece of film, like a modern green screen. The clear eye is a casualty of that effect.

Lawrence then reiterated my explanation directly after in simpler terms (and repeats the term "green screen") comparing it to a weatherman's broadcast in front of a projection screen.

Yes, I did read your explanation, Tiki, though I didn't quite understand it. Lawrence's followup made it a little easier for my frequently obtuse mind to sort of comprehend.

All I know is the next time I watch a weatherman on TV I'll be thinking of that bird.

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MARION DAVIES will survive.

Here's a snap from this month's screening of MARION DAVIES in BEAUTY'S WORTH in Trivigno, Italy.

MD_BW.jpg

MARION DAVIES in WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER will screen at Cinema Detroit on August 29.

39343324_1825782910824049_77658503993486post pictures

 

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On 8/18/2018 at 10:35 AM, Bethluvsfilms said:

I bought the movie on DVD because I finally wanted to see what all the hoopla was all about. And while it wouldn't be what I would have chosen to be THE greatest movie of all time, it is a damn fine film for sure.

Charles Foster Kane is neither saint, nor villain really, but a deeply flawed human being. Like the rest of us.  

Orson Welles certainly succeeded in making a classic film. I am aware a lot of folks didn't appreciate KANE when it came out in 1941, but today quite a lot of viewers (myself included) believe this is indeed the crowning achievement of his career.

I'm only sorry I didn't get to see it much sooner than I did. But I couldn't wait until it came on TCM again.

And at last I finally understand what 'Rosebud' means!

But do you REALLY know what Rosebud meant, besides the sled iconography?

Hmmm...

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