Amazing Cinematography on the Best Film of the Century!
Similarities? Oh yes! Although the names were changed, the film follows Hearst's life to a Tee, with a lot of creative license being taken.
Orson Welles, only 24 years old, who, flushed from his success on the Mercury Theater and his famous (or infamous) broadcast, War of the Worlds, he created what many consider the best film of all time and many consider the beginning of the end of Orson's career as a radio, stage and film master of entertainment.
[For those who do not know, on Halloween night back in the 1930s, with America concerned about Hitler's advances in Europe, Welles adapted H.G. Wells War of the Worlds with realistic-sounding newscasts and had the Martians invading Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Many people actually believed these broadcasts to be REAL and panicked! Radio was like TV is today, with soaps, westerns, news, and so on as main entertainment and so having your shows interrupted by newscasts and bulletins was common. This created major controversy and put Orson on the map!]
But back to the review:
Charles Foster Kane, as a child, is being taken away as the family can no longer have him. His mother is played stoically by Agnes Moorhead, a strong character actress in her own right (well before "Bewitched!" the cheesy sitcom of the Sixties.).
Kane gets a newspaper, expands his empire, builds a castle (in Florida rather than San Simeon (current location of Hearst Castle), collects art as well as pretty girls, runs for office, confronts scandal and finally dies, dropping a snow globe and whispers "Rosebud."
Why Rosebud? Well, the newspaper guys who are creating the news reel (News On The March!) want to know more about Kane and what Rosebud is. The film then goes through a lot of flashbacks and personal interviews with fictional (and thinly disguised) friends of Kane to find out more about the man, his mission and what was Rosebud.
Was Kane a self-seeking vampire who sucked the spirit out of everyone he came in contact with? Or did his childhood memories still haunt him decades after the fact?
Melodramatic to the extreme, some scenes were slow-paced. The black & white photography was simply gorgeous. And getting a peak at life as it might have been like in the early 20th Century was enjoyable and fascinating.
Disc Two: Wow, this was great. Actual filmed interviews with Orson Welles done in the 1980s before his death. You can see his eyes light up as he recalled the creative energy he possessed as a very young man, creating plays in Harlem with an all Black cast in creating Shakespeare for the masses.
Touched on are is Mercury Theater broadcasts for CBS and the War of the Worlds broadcast. The narrator said it best: Orson accomplished it all at a young age and then was burned and never came back after Citizen Kane.
Extensive biographical data on Welles and Hearst, both driven men, both creative geniuses in their own ways, proud and gifted and heading on a collision course with each other.
The immovable object meets the irresistible force!
"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet."
"Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, an affirmation of the human spirit."
- Orson Welles
"I started at the top and worked down."
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