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CITIZEN KANE!


Sepiatone
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Yes, again!

 

Thought I'd, now just about a half hour after seeing it yet again, this morning, relate my relationship with this movie.....

 

I had heard of Citizen Kane for years.  Heard it was supposed to be this "great" movie and that NO movie could match it.  But I never saw it until I was in my mid to late 20's.

 

I remember years ealier, a "Peanuts" comic strip in which Linus was watching TV and Lucy walked in and asked him, "What are you watching?"  and Linus replied, "Citizen Kane".  THEN Lucy walked out of the room saying, "The BUTLER did it!", and Linus being upset about the movie being ruined for him!

 

But at the time, I had NO idea what "Kane" was about.  So, for all I KNEW, the butler COULD have "done it"!

 

That all changed in the later '70's when a local station broadcast a "special" showing of the movie one Friday night.  So, I hunkered down with a fresh cup of coffee and a freshly rolled joint and settled down to see what all the FUSS was.

 

I must admit I WAS impressed.  But NOT with the revolutionary cinematography, which I didn't know all that much about at the time, nor did I make any connection to Hearst, who I knew LITTLE about at the time, and all I knew of Orson Welles was his voice, which provided substance for some "Jungle Book" characters on TV recently(at that time), and seeing, years earlier, a movie called "The Stranger" on BILL KENNEDY PRESENTS, and hearing Kennedy make a big deal out of Welles.  AND about seven or eight years earlier, a teacher in high school playing an LP of Welle's famed "War Of The Worlds" broadcast in class one day.  But not only did that ending, when we all find out just WHO and WHAT "Rosebud" was just grabbed me, but the whole story as well!  I thought it was VERY well told, and that Welles did a FINE acting job.  Up until then, I thought the BEST movies I ever saw were "GRAPES OF WRATH", "ON THE WATERFRONT", "PAPILLON" and "THE GODFATHER"  .  Well, all of those ARE still high on my list, but "KANE" took the highest spot, and still sort of rests there.  And after all these years and analysis and "study"( I regret to losing a book I had once that examined everything about this movie.  It informed me that much of the technology that Welles required to be able to film the story the way he wanted didn't yet exist and he, along with Gregg Toland had to INVENT much of it was amazing to me!). 

 

AND Everett Sloane STILL provides one of my favorite movie moments when he tells the reporter about the young woman on the ferry boat 50 years earlier.  I myself have a couple of memories similar to that!  It's profundity hit a note in me when I first saw it, and stuck with me throughout all these years.

 

Even if you don't like this movie, ya gotta admit-----it WAS quite an accomplishment for a novice film director!  And, of course, that scene in which all those images of Kane reflected in that mirror as he walks by hooked me as much as it did a lot of people.  At the time, I took it to be Welles saying that no one man ever IS just "one man".

 

 

Sepiatone

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Yes, again!

 

Thought I'd, now just about a half hour after seeing it yet again, this morning, relate my relationship with this movie.....

 

I had heard of Citizen Kane for years.  Heard it was supposed to be this "great" movie and that NO movie could match it.  But I never saw it until I was in my mid to late 20's.

 

I remember years ealier, a "Peanuts" comic strip in which Linus was watching TV and Lucy walked in and asked him, "What are you watching?"  and Linus replied, "Citizen Kane".  THEN Lucy walked out of the room saying, "The BUTLER did it!", and Linus being upset about the movie being ruined for him!

 

But at the time, I had NO idea what "Kane" was about.  So, for all I KNEW, the butler COULD have "done it"!

 

That all changed in the later '70's when a local station broadcast a "special" showing of the movie one Friday night.  So, I hunkered down with a fresh cup of coffee and a freshly rolled joint and settled down to see what all the FUSS was.

 

I must admit I WAS impressed.  But NOT with the revolutionary cinematography, which I didn't know all that much about at the time, nor did I make any connection to Hearst, who I knew LITTLE about at the time, and all I knew of Orson Welles was his voice, which provided substance for some "Jungle Book" characters on TV recently(at that time), and seeing, years earlier, a movie called "The Stranger" on BILL KENNEDY PRESENTS, and hearing Kennedy make a big deal out of Welles.  AND about seven or eight years earlier, a teacher in high school playing an LP of Welle's famed "War Of The Worlds" broadcast in class one day.  But not only did that ending, when we all find out just WHO and WHAT "Rosebud" was just grabbed me, but the whole story as well!  I thought it was VERY well told, and that Welles did a FINE acting job.  Up until then, I thought the BEST movies I ever saw were "GRAPES OF WRATH", "ON THE WATERFRONT", "PAPILLON" and "THE GODFATHER"  .  Well, all of those ARE still high on my list, but "KANE" took the highest spot, and still sort of rests there.  And after all these years and analysis and "study"( I regret to losing a book I had once that examined everything about this movie.  It informed me that much of the technology that Welles required to be able to film the story the way he wanted didn't yet exist and he, along with Gregg Toland had to INVENT much of it was amazing to me!). 

 

AND Everett Sloane STILL provides one of my favorite movie moments when he tells the reporter about the young woman on the ferry boat 50 years earlier.  I myself have a couple of memories similar to that!  It's profundity hit a note in me when I first saw it, and stuck with me throughout all these years.

 

Even if you don't like this movie, ya gotta admit-----it WAS quite an accomplishment for a novice film director!  And, of course, that scene in which all those images of Kane reflected in that mirror as he walks by hooked me as much as it did a lot of people.  At the time, I took it to be Welles saying that no one man ever IS just "one man".

 

 

Sepiatone

Of the three seemingly universally critically acclaimed films of that period, CITIZEN KANE, GONE WITH THE WIND, and CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE is the only one I really like.

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Of the three seemingly universally critically acclaimed films of that period, CITIZEN KANE, GONE WITH THE WIND, and CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE is the only one I really like.

And while all three are in the Turner Library-- CITIZEN KANE is the one that is least played now. Back in the 80s when Welles died, then again when it hit its 50th anniversary in 1991, there was a huge public resurgence of interest in this film. It consistently ranked on top or near the top in most polls about the greatest Hollywood movie ever made.

 

Even the programmers at TCM held it in very high esteem. Looking at old schedules of the early days of TCM, it is clear CITIZEN KANE was broadcast often. But then they got away from it. They started to play it less and less. And now we're lucky if it pops up twice a year on the channel.

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And while all three are in the Turner Library-- CITIZEN KANE is the one that is least played now. Back in the 80s when Welles died, then again when it hit its 50th anniversary in 1991, there was a huge public resurgence of interest in this film. It consistently ranked on top or near the top in most polls about the greatest Hollywood movie ever made.

 

Even the programmers at TCM held it in very high esteem. Looking at old schedules of the early days of TCM, it is clear CITIZEN KANE was broadcast often. But then they got away from it. They started to play it less and less. And now we're lucky if it pops up twice a year on the channel.

I'm not sure that this indicates that the film is now held in less esteem.

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I really like Citizen Kane.  I had heard about it for years and years as well and then finally watched it one day when it aired on TCM and was captivated from beginning to end.

 

I've always been a fan of Orson Welles.  Sure, he can be a little out there sometimes, but he always does something different in his films and I appreciate that.  He doesn't rely on a proven formula for his films.  He may use some of the same actors, i.e. Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead, but his films are always unique from one another.  He was definitely ahead of his time and under-appreciated.  

 

In regard to 'Kane,' I loved the overall plot and the characters.  What makes the film standout for me, are definitely the camera angles.  Welles had his crew dig a trench in the studio to attain the low angle shot after Kane loses the election.  I've read that Citizen Kane was one of the first films to show a ceiling and also used deep focus shots in order to keep everything in the scene clear, including the backgrounds.

 

Also I think it's interesting that Welles, 25, was able to play Kane through all the adult stages of his life, instead of casting multiple actors of varying ages to play the character. 

 

I want to watch Citizen Kane again; but need to do so when I have the time, attention span and peace and quiet to absorb the whole film uninterrupted. 

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I'm not sure that this indicates that the film is now held in less esteem.

The tide was turned when it was no longer voted the No. 1 film by the Sight and Sound poll a couple of years ago.  For years, "Kane" had been promoted as "the best film of all time" by those who marketed the film for home video and theatrical releases.  Now they can't say that anymore.

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The tide was turned when it was no longer voted the No. 1 film by the Sight and Sound poll a couple of years ago.  For years, "Kane" had been promoted as "the best film of all time" by those who marketed the film for home video and theatrical releases.  Now they can't say that anymore.

Right-- didn't VERTIGO overtake it?

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Right-- didn't VERTIGO overtake it?

 

That's what I'd remembered, too, but if you go to Sight and Sound's website, you'll discover that Citizen Kane has never been dislodged from its top ranking since at least 2006, which is as far back as their ranking history page goes.  Vertigo climbed to #2 in 2008 and has remained there ever since.  I'm not sure what explains our cognitive dissonance, but we were probably thinking of some other poll.

 

Of course the order is crazy, since Vertigo is the far better movie.   But that's just a matter of fact, not opinion. B)

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If millennials are not watching CITIZEN KANE then the remedy is obvious...

 

it must be colorized.

 

A monumental landmark film will be invigorated and a technique written off prematurely validated.

 

:D

 

For those that know something about the art of filmmaking Citizen Kane is known for it use of the black and white camera as it relates to lighting and shadows.     Colorizing destroys the techniques Welles and Gregg Toland worked so hard to obtain and therefore would make this monumental landmark film way less of a monumental landmark film.

 

:angry:    

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To say VERTIGO is a better movie than KANE IS a matter of opinion.  And most polls reflect opinions rather than fact.  Personally, I found VERTIGO to be a huge bore.  But, that's ME.  Others think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  There are those who think MADONNA is the best thing to happen to pop music.  And there are those who think she was the harbinger of it's death.

 

In these cases, it's best to ignore polls, unless it's a poll of other film makers. 

 

Like I once said, I have a friend who STILL thinks the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is the best movie ever made!

 

So.....THERE'S a "poll" for ya!

 

 

Sepiatone

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For those that know something about the art of filmmaking Citizen Kane is known for it use of the black and white camera as it relates to lighting and shadows.     Colorizing destroys the techniques Welles and Greg Tolland worked so hard to obtain and therefore would make this monumental landmark film way less of a monumental landmark film.

 

:angry:    

I am not against colorization. In some situations, I think it is necessary-- but that's a topic for another thread. In the case of CITIZEN KANE, Welles was very much opposed to it. Before he died, he made a famous comment where he said, and I'm paraphrasing, 'someone please tell Ted Turner to keep his crayolas off my film!'

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To say VERTIGO is a better movie than KANE IS a matter of opinion.  And most polls reflect opinions rather than fact.  Personally, I found VERTIGO to be a huge bore.  But, that's ME.  Others think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  There are those who think MADONNA is the best thing to happen to pop music.  And there are those who think she was the harbinger of it's death.

 

In these cases, it's best to ignore polls, unless it's a poll of other film makers. 

 

Like I once said, I have a friend who STILL thinks the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is the best movie ever made!

 

So.....THERE'S a "poll" for ya!

 

 

Sepiatone

I agree with you regarding polls.  Even if "Sight and Sound" held a poll and declared Vertigo a better film than Citizen Kane, it's still subjective.  It's just a consensus of the opinions of those who voted on the poll.  While I like both films, I don't even know if I would choose either of those films as "the greatest of all time."  Quite the claim to make about any film.  In the case of the "Sight and Sound" poll, I think those who voted were people involved in the industry.  I could be wrong, but I don't think they let just anyone vote.  However, I doubt anyone considers the opinions of industry experts when it comes to what film they think is the greatest of all time.  For me, The Godfather is considered one of the greatest of all time; but if I were to compile a list of what I think are the greatest films, The Godfather wouldn't even rank.  That's because I find Marlon Brando incredibly annoying in almost every film I see him in and I found The Godfather incredibly boring.  Other people act like it's the 1970s Citizen Kane

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I am not against colorization. In some situations, I think it is necessary-- but that's a topic for another thread. In the case of CITIZEN KANE, Welles was very much opposed to it. Before he died, he made a famous comment where he said, and I'm paraphrasing, 'someone please tell Ted Turner to keep his crayolas off my film!'

 

In regard to colorization, I prefer to see the films as they were originally intended.  I don't want to see someone's interpretation of what colors things might have been.  Colorization might be interesting if the person doing the colorization was working from original color photographs taken when the film was in production.  However, what I would not want to see happen is the colorized versions replacing the original versions.  Some films, especially ones in the film noir genre, benefit greatly from black and white.  Some filmmakers use the black and white film to their advantage and design entire lighting schemes and such to take advantage of the qualities that black and white can offer, like contrast and shadows.  Double Indemnity for example, benefits greatly from black and white.  I don't think it'd have the same effect in color.  Citizen Kane also benefits greatly from black and white.  I'm sure if Orson Welles wanted to shoot 'Kane' in color, he would have done so.  I can imagine that choosing black and white over Technicolor was not only a budgetary choice, but also a creative choice. 

 

On the flip side, (I don't know why this would occur) I don't think films that were made in Technicolor, for example, would benefit to being "black and white-ized."  Can you imagine The Adventures of Robin Hood in black and white? While the film would be the same, much of the overall aesthetic and feeling you get from the film comes from the color.  The Wizard of Oz, while in sepia tone in the beginning of the film, greatly uses the Technicolor cameras to their advantage when Dorothy is in Oz.  The famous scene when she opens the sepia toned door of her home and enters the vibrant, saturated with color world of Oz would not be as dramatic if the whole film were in one tone. 

 

Last year, CBS aired a colorized version of I Love Lucy's Christmas episode and the episode where she stomps grapes (episode is called Lucy's Italian Movie).  I was leery, because I Love Lucy is my favorite show of all time.  I've seen every episode probably 100 times (maybe not that much, or maybe more, I haven't kept count, but it's a lot).  While I still prefer the original black and white version, it was interesting to see how CBS imagined Lucy and Ricky's apartment to look like, Lucy's famous red hair, etc. A lot of colorized pictures I've seen of Lucy, she always has this insanely bright orange hair, which I doubt is how it looked in real life.  I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised by CBS' production of these two colorized episodes of I Love Lucy; but it wasn't enough to make me want to see the entire series colorized.  I did appreciate that they didn't try to use "modern" color for these episodes. The color is reminiscent of the slightly faded color of shows from the 1960s/1970s.  There is one episode (Lucy Goes to Scotland) of I Love Lucy that was originally filmed in color as an experiment conducted by Desilu.  It was very interesting to watch.  Desilu abandoned the idea of colorizing the show because they decided it wasn't worth the cost.

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Don't want to dump any cold water on this thread but if Citizen Kane was the greatest movie of all time they would have made a heck of a lot more money off of it then they have. Story wise I have dozens of better movies over this one, in term of B&W filming he did a very good job. But that alone is not enough to make a movie the top of all movies.

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That's what I'd remembered, too, but if you go to Sight and Sound's website, you'll discover that Citizen Kane has never been dislodged from its top ranking since at least 2006, which is as far back as their ranking history page goes.  Vertigo climbed to #2 in 2008 and has remained there ever since.  I'm not sure what explains our cognitive dissonance, but we were probably thinking of some other poll.

 

Of course the order is crazy, since Vertigo is the far better movie.   But that's just a matter of fact, not opinion.

 

VERTIGO did overtake CITIZEN KANE in the BFI's Sight & Sound Critics' Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time poll in 2012, a poll conducted once per decade beginning in 1962.

I'm not sure what exactly the 2014 TSPDT poll is for which you've provided the link--- but apparently this poll was also published in Sight & Sound magazine.

At any rate, the BFI's once per decade critics' poll is, per Roger Ebert anyway, "the most respected of the countless polls of great movies” and “the only one most serious movie people take seriously.”

 

Here are some links to information on the BFI critics' poll, which as stated above was last conducted in 2012 and will next be conducted in 2022:

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/vertigo-citizen-kane-greatest-film-of-all-time-357266

 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/08/vertigo-ousts-citizen-kane-on-sight-sounds-top-films-list/  

 

 

Here is the listing of the most recent Critics' Top 10 Greatest Films of All Tiime derived from the BFI Sight & Sound 2012 poll: 

 

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)

4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)

5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)

8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)

10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

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For those that know something about the art of filmmaking Citizen Kane is known for it use of the black and white camera as it relates to lighting and shadows.     Colorizing destroys the techniques Welles and Greg Tolland worked so hard to obtain and therefore would make this monumental landmark film way less of a monumental landmark film.

 

:angry:    

it's Gregg Toland. :)

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Don't want to dump any cold water on this thread but if Citizen Kane was the greatest movie of all time they would have made a heck of a lot more money off of it then they have. Story wise I have dozens of better movies over this one, in term of B&W filming he did a very good job. But that alone is not enough to make a movie the top of all movies.

I don't think that money should decide whether or not a film was "great" or "not great."  Many of Welles' films didn't do well at the box office; but there is no denying that he was ahead of his time.  I believe I read (or maybe it was in Robert Osbourne's intro) that The Stranger was the only Welles film that was a bona fide success upon its initial release. 

 

Welles also had a problem with his films being butchered by editors.  I believe that The Magnificent Ambersons was butchered and scenes were even re-shot without Welles' input.  The end result was nothing like how Welles envisioned the film.  I wonder how Welles' films would have done in the box office if he were allowed to shoot, edit and release the films how he wanted without interference from the studio?

 

Do the original cuts of Welles' films exist? Or are we stuck with the cut that was released in theaters?

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VERTIGO did overtake CITIZEN KANE in the BFI's Sight & Sound Critics' Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time poll in 2012, a poll conducted once per decade beginning in 1962.

I'm not sure what exactly the 2014 TSPDT poll is for which you've provided the link--- but apparently this poll was also published in Sight & Sound magazine.

At any rate, the BFI's once per decade critics' poll is, per Roger Ebert anyway, "the most respected of the countless polls of great movies” and “the only one most serious movie people take seriously.”

 

Here are some links to information on the BFI critics' poll, which as stated above was last conducted in 2012 and will next be conducted in 2022:

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/vertigo-citizen-kane-greatest-film-of-all-time-357266

 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/08/vertigo-ousts-citizen-kane-on-sight-sounds-top-films-list/  

 

 

Here is the listing of the most recent Critics' Top 10 Greatest Films of All Tiime derived from the BFI Sight & Sound 2012 poll: 

 

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)

4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)

5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)

8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)

10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

 

I'm glad to hear about this, since Vertigo is much the better movie, but it is a bit confusing, since on that Sight and Sound page I went to, the annual surveys showed Citizen Kane as #1 every year from 2014 on back to at least 2006.   If you scroll down to Citizen Kane you'll see it's never been dislodged by Vertigo or any other film within that 9 year time frame.  Maybe you or someone else can make sense of this seeming contradiction.

 

Of course the truly greatest movie of all time---Angi Vera---didn't even make the top 1,000.  Shows what those critics know.  Most of them probably never even heard of it, and probably never will until a subtitled DVD makes its way to the non-Hungarian market.

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I'm glad to hear about this, since Vertigo is much the better movie, but it is a bit confusing, since on that Sight and Sound page I went to, the annual surveys showed Citizen Kane as #1 every year from 2014 on back to at least 2006.   If you scroll down to Citizen Kane you'll see it's never been dislodged by Vertigo or any other film within that 9 year time frame.  Maybe you or someone else can make sense of this seeming contradiction.

 

Of course the truly greatest movie of all time---Angi Vera---didn't even make the top 1,000.  Shows what those critics know.  Most of them probably never even heard of it, and probably never will until a subtitled DVD makes its way to the non-Hungarian market.

 

The information on the page you went to is for the TSPDT poll, not for the BFI's once per decade critics' poll ----- which is the one that that made news in 2012 when VERTIGO moved into the # 1 spot, overtaking CITIZEN KANE.

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Really liked your opening post to your thread here, Sepia.

 

However, and while you can certainly be excused for your mistake in relaying to us the incorrect punchline(quoted below) in that particular edition of the late great Mr. Schultz's long running comic strip due to the passage of all this time...

 

I remember years ealier, a "Peanuts" comic strip in which Linus was watching TV and Lucy walked in and asked him, "What are you watching?"  and Linus replied, "Citizen Kane".  THEN Lucy walked out of the room saying, "The BUTLER did it!", and Linus being upset about the movie being ruined for him!

 

But at the time, I had NO idea what "Kane" was about.  So, for all I KNEW, the butler COULD have "done it"!

 

 

....what Mr. Schultz actually had Lucy saying was...

 

rosebud-was-his-sled2-peanuts.jpg?w=640&

 

...and because having her say "The butler did it", or in other words reinforcing Lucy's established persona as a royal little bitc ..errr..."not a nice little girl" by having her say that, wouldn't have been nearly as "specifically" funny to us cinemaphiles especially, and would have been much too generic a punchline than what he actually had her saying, of course.

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Could it be said that those who have now pushed "Vertigo" to the top spot on these kinds of polls and past Welles' masterpiece have been involved a...ahem..."Citizen Kane Mutiny"???

 

(...okay, okay...maybe the REAL question here is: "SHOULD IT be said etc etc etc?"...and maybe the answer to THAT is "no", eh?!...sorry)

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