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Citizen Kane

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Is Citizen Kane the Greatest Film of all time

Yes
8
23%
No,it is vastly overrated
6
17%
Very good, but not the best
21
60%
 
Total votes: 35

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mickeeteeze
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Postby mickeeteeze » August 7th, 2007, 2:28 am

I guess the "best" is too hard a question. My favorite is "on the Waterfront".
So,by default,that should be "The Best?".
Too tough.
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citizen Kane

Postby melwalton » October 6th, 2007, 6:09 pm

Just found the Citizen Kane poll (I'm new here) and would like to comment. I like polls and have lots of opinions. I think Moraldo said it best. saying any movie was the greatest is like saying, 'the world's richest man, or most beautiful woman there's no such thing, the word 'groundbreaking' mentioned here, hit the nail on the head. it certainly was. I thought it a truly great movie but wouldn't put it on my best list, I like movies that are entertaining rather than artistic,
very good, and intelligent comments.

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CoffeeDan
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A reporter's view . . .

Postby CoffeeDan » December 22nd, 2007, 3:49 pm

I have to confess that seeing CITIZEN KANE was one of the main reasons I got into the newspaper business. Later on, I met many more people working in various media (not only newspapers, but radio, TV, and yes, even the Internet) who were also influenced by KANE.

One reason is that the film, through its unconventional narrative structure, actually illustrates very well the joys and frustrations of a reporter's job.

When you're writing a story on a deadline, especially a personal profile, you never get your facts in nice, neat, chronological order. When you interview many different people, you get different info, points of reference, locations, and attitudes. Your basic job is to take this informational chaos and turn it into an orderly narrative by 5:00 pm Saturday (or whatever your deadline happens to be).

A lot can happen along the way. Certain important sources may be unavailable, refuse to speak, or simply don't have the facts you want. Once, a single factoid I discovered three hours before deadline changed the whole thrust of my story and I had to completely re-edit it (in this case, it was a lucky accident that improved the story). You may decide not to use a strict chronological approach, but present the most essential or arresting facts first, establishing the narrative later. Often, there is more than one way to present the story, and you have to choose the best method (your editor often helps you do this).

Most important is finding a "hook" or common thread in your material that you can use to bind it together, like "Rosebud" in KANE. You see that frustration at the end of the film -- the reporters want to find out what Rosebud is, but they don't have enough info, or the time to get it. That deadline has to be met. They have to roll with what they've got.

With KANE's unconventional narrative, the film makes the viewer do a reporter's job -- we "gather" the facts about Charles Foster Kane's life in the same way that Thompson (the faceless reporter in the film) does, and we put the puzzle together along with him. Over the years, I've seen that there's more than one way to put the narrative together, and that's one of the fascinating aspects of the film: The basic narrative is so dense, you can interpret and arrange it in a variety of ways. It still amazes me how much information Orson Welles and his team packed into a film that lasts just under 2 hours.

I wouldn't say so much that CITIZEN KANE is the best film of all time as much as it occupies a unique place in the pantheon of classic film. It's a film you have to see at least once. While some may not see it as the best, there is, indeed, no film quite like it.

(I was going to say something about KANE's unique, ground-breaking use of sound from a radio worker's viewpoint, but I'm going to have to save that for another time . . . space and time constraints and all that.)
Last edited by CoffeeDan on December 22nd, 2007, 7:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby mrsl » December 22nd, 2007, 6:02 pm

Coffee Dan:

You may have unknowingly hit on a reason why so many people are at odds with the purity of this movie. Speaking from a news persons view, I guess you may have seen and felt things the average person doesn't. Often movies are made for the general public, however, are not so well accepted because they play too close to the collar so to speak. Too many inside jokes and/or occurrences are not understood by the regular public. Movies such as The Big Picture, Broadcast News, Quiz Show, all deal with specific walks of life that harbor certain types of people, and the non insiders are lost.

Your example of taking notes and laying them out in a sensible way however, is lost on me. Many times I took notes from 20 to 30 business men in one meeting and had less than 2 hours to translate them to readable minutes with each participant being recognized, in addition to typing them, and copying them to be delivered before the end of the day. This, in the days before computers and spell checks, on a manual typewriter with 3 or 4 layers of carbon paper. I would assume this is why people need a degree in journalism to work on the larger papers today - to know how to keep those notes in sync.

Unfortunately, Citizen Kane will always be a jumble of disconnected spots with no melding thread to me and many others like me, however, I'm glad you have found a meaning to it.

Anne
Anne


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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

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movieman1957
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Postby movieman1957 » January 1st, 2008, 10:10 pm

Someone at TCM posted this link for a review of Kane by Erich von Stroheim.

http://www.fredcamper.com/M/VonStroheim.html
Chris

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Postby ChiO » January 3rd, 2008, 11:18 am

I am always hesitant to say a film is "the best" because it assumes that (a) I have seen far more films than I have, and (b) I have taste and good judgment. That caveat aside, Citizen Kane is my favorite film and has been for 40 years (maybe I saw it in utero). The older I get and the more I see it and other great films, the more firmly Citizen Kane remains my favorite.

Of course, there is the stunning cinematography, the striking use of sound, and the nonlinear narrative. The dialogue can crackle and the acting is stellar. There are elements of film noir, screwball comedy, melodrama, political satire, war movies and a smidgen of a Western. And somehow Welles pulls these disparate pieces together and creates a film with meaning (or meanings, and maybe that turns off some viewers), a soul, and that is a highly entertaining work of art.

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Postby movieman1957 » January 3rd, 2008, 11:55 am

Hi ChiO. It is so very nice to have you here. I hope you'll enjoy yourself and be a regular here. You should recognize some of the folks. Enjoy.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Postby Ollie » January 19th, 2008, 11:49 am

I saw CIT KANE in the mid '60s, and surfed in on its considerable hype. It didn't live up to it. I've seen it many times since then, and find it more enjoyable now that I've tempered my expectations, but I'm still not sure I see "groundbreaking" episodes or techniques in it.

Are there any specifics?

Does the belittlement of Marion Davies affect your view of CIT KANE?

Over the decades of more chat about this film and Marion's belief that she was so unfairly regarded because of it, my high opinion of Orson has dropped. I've often wondered if he had it in for Marion, or if he actually knew very very little about her - either reason could be the cause of his Marion-equivalent character.

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Postby egolden » June 23rd, 2008, 2:37 pm

Great cinematography, and great script, but it's not even in my personal top ten.

Any film where Orson Welles tries to "act" automatically falls off the "great" list in my book. He and his "they're always after me Lucky Charms" accent killed Lady from Shanghai!

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Postby moira finnie » June 24th, 2008, 5:46 pm

So Eve, does that mean Orson Welles' Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre (1944) didn't cut the mustard either? This curious mind would like to know. Thanks.
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Postby knitwit45 » June 24th, 2008, 10:47 pm

Can I throw in my 2 cents worth? The only time I've ever watched Orson Welles and not thought "I'm watching Orson play Orson" was his role as Mr. Rochester. He actually became Rochester, at least for me.
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Postby charliechaplinfan » June 25th, 2008, 7:08 am

I'm undecided about Orson Welles. He was obviously a genius, flawed perhaps but still a genius.

I fall into the it's a great film but not in my top ten category.

There are some films I've seen him in that I've really enjoyed his performance. The Third Man and Othello.

Why did he have to be so grotesque in A Touch of Evil? He could have played the villan jusy as effectively for me with out the makeup.

I liked Lady From Shanghai too but that was more because of Rita. I think she gave a fine performance in that.
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Postby egolden » June 25th, 2008, 8:06 am

moirafinnie wrote:So Eve, does that mean Orson Welles' Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre (1944) didn't cut the mustard either? This curious mind would like to know. Thanks.


I've actually never seen it--the combination of icy Joan Fontaine and hammy Orson Welles has always steered me away.

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Postby moira finnie » June 25th, 2008, 8:54 am

Can I throw in my 2 cents worth?
Why in heck not, Nancy? I love to hear your thoughts as well as Alison's and anyone else's. And I know what you mean about this being one of the few times that "Orson didn't just play Orson" as the character in Jane Eyre (1944), directed by Robert Stevenson, (who was said to be pretty frustrated trying to keep Welles from taking over the production).

Gee, Eve, I really liked it. Despite an aversion for Orson Welles' excesses, you might get some fun out of watching this one, especially on a windblown Autumn night that matches the mood of this piece. I think that the filmmakers' used the tension underneath Joan Fontaine's frostiness as she embodies Charlotte Brontë's's "strange and almost unearthly thing" , and Orson Welles' own innate, enjoyably old-fashioned fustian qualities to make a very well done Gothic romance. The gorgeous black and white cinematography of George Barnes, Bernard Herrmann's brooding romantic score, and, perhaps best of all, two memorable performances from Peggy Ann Garner & Elizabeth Taylor as two friends who find themselves trapped by a truly scary Henry Daniell at the Lowood orphanage were extremely effective. I also liked Margaret O'Brien's childish intensity as the girl Jane is hired to tutor. "A dark gem" is how some have described this version. Though Fontaine and Welles didn't get along very well during filming, the sparks do fly here, in what may be Orson's only relatively "romantically heroic" turn on film. Btw, he's svelte in this one too, and of course, the ham in him couldn't resist donning a beak of a nose, as seen below.
Image

The only other credible Edward Rochester I've seen was George C. Scott's grumpenstein in a 1970 Delbert Mann tv version with the far too pretty Susannah York as Jane.
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Postby jdb1 » June 25th, 2008, 9:01 am

Me, too. I love Orson as Rochester. Tall, dark and handsome, a bit mysterious and possibly a bit dangerous, and even a bit over the top. He embodies the Romantic/Gothic novel hero so well in the movie. If only someone other than Fontaine had played Jane, it would have been a lot better. If Fontaine hadn't been Welles collaborator/producer John Houseman's mistress, she probably wouldn't have gotten half the parts she did in the 1940s.

Oh --- every time Orson looks down on her with his combination of mystery, mute appeal for help, and barely disguised lust --- well, I just wish it had been me.


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