Seeing as how this movie has been reviewed and hailed to no end, I might as well just say how I came across the film and give some thoughts.
I’ve known that it was considered the greatest film of all time. It wasn’t until winter break earlier this year that I decided to check it out at my library. The only copy available was a first edition tape from The Nostalgia Merchant, dated as early as 1978. Yep, I couldn’t believe it either. I have talked with some of the staff and have learned that at one point it in circulation on DVD but has since been removed. A new copy should be coming in the future.
So, what do I remember about Citizen Kane? Well, that bird for starters. It would have been more effective if it had occurred a few times earlier in the film. At least it does the job of getting the audience to stay awake for the end.
Now, when I saw it over break I had a vague understanding of the history of the film. I knew I’d watch it in class eventually but I wanted a head start. One week before my class saw it, we watched The Battle Over Citizen Kane. Then, we watched it. I knew in the back of my mind that my classmates wouldn’t expect that bird, especially as we watched it in our theater. It came, we saw, it startled. At the end, our teacher told us that we saw the DVD version and not the Blu-ray. Why? Apparently, the Blu-ray was too clean and that the wasn’t that much of a difference. Also, the reactions we gave toward the bird were some of the calmest or least worried in the twenty some years that our teacher has taught the class and screened the film.
Is it great? Sure it is. Anyone who wants to be a film buff is practically required to see this film in order to have some credibility. With deep focus photography, the use of flashbacks as a framing device (though not the first film to do so), the whole mystery behind “Rosebud” even though no one was around to hear it (some could argue that Kane said it loud enough for the nurse behind the door to hear it), the rise and fall of a media mogul, no wonder it’s a classic. But is it my greatest film? No, that’s 2001.
IMDB Top 250
AFI Top 100 (1997): #1
AFI Top 100 (2007): #1
400 Nominations list for AFI Top 100 for 1997 and 2007