Citizen Kane By Orson Wells Essay, Research Paper
By many, Citizen Kane is one of the greatest films ever made. Orson Wells, at age 25, directed, produced, and starred in this film. Citizen Kane is a memorable film for countless reasons. The film brought about controversy because it fictionalized the life of William Randolph Hearst, a powerful newspaper publisher. The film draws remarkable parallels with his life and his relationship with his mistress. There is also speculation that the film is loosely based on Wells? life as well. This movie tells the fascinating story of the life and death of Charles Foster Kane, a narcissistic newspaper runner, politician, and a wealthy millionaire. What makes this movie spectacular is not only the acting of the actors, but the symbolism and cinematic effects. The techniques used by the cinematographer brought this film to life. This is what sets Citizen Kane apart from other films.
Symbolism has an enormous role in this film. "Rosebud" is the last word uttered by Cane. He then dies and takes his secret to the death. The film follows one reporter on his search to the truth. Throughout the film, the tragical existence of powerful newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane, becomes apparent. He spends most of his life in solitude. Although he was married twice, he always stayed alone. This was because of his incapacity of felling love, which was caused by his insecure childhood. Kane was unwillingly taken away from his mother as a young child; this single event molded Kane into the narcissistic man he became. The only time Kane felt safe was when he was under the care of his mother. She was the only person he ever was able to show feelings for. This hugely affected his relationships with women, as well as people in general. All of the women in his life leave him behind in some way. His last word before he died was "rosebud," the name of the sled he was riding before his was ripped away from his family. "Rosebud" was not merely a sled, it was much more than that. His happiness lied in that single materialistic object. The sled represents his innocence and carefree happiness of childhood. His last happy memory was when he was playing on his sled. This was the last time Kane felt true happiness and love. When he got older, Kane equated money and power for love. He tried to demand love by smothering the people closest to him. It did not work; it actually caused feelings of hatred and anger towards him. He tried to use his money and his business to control his life. Despite his power and wealth, his life ends in failure. He tried to buy love and happiness but he never achieved either. The key to his failure can be found in his childhood, or his lack of a childhood.
Another aspect of the film that made it brilliant is the diverse techniques of the camera. Many people consider Citizen Kane to be the greatest film ever made, and for its time it probably was. Although technology today is by far more advanced than what existed when this movie was made, the cinematographer of Citizen Kane probably catered to the story better by simplistic camera shots, rather than the overdone special effects used today. The use of the camera in this film can either enhance the whole experience, or just confuse the audience. To fully appreciate this film, a person must really pay attention. The use of the camera was just as significant as the lines spoken. From just the first few minutes of the movie, the director sets the mood of the film by the numerous scene transitions. Throughout the duration of the film, there were a few points where the scene transitions and changes of camera angles almost had a chaotic effect. I think this is done purposely to parallel the chaos in Kane?s life at certain points throughout the film. Other camera techniques that made the film as great as it is are the unconventional lighting, the use of shadows, and the variety of camera angles used. The director used the camera to project the frenzy that was going on in Kane?s head.
Citizen Kane is known as one of the greatest films ever made. I don?t know if I would agree completely, but I can see why it receives as much praise as it does. This film broke barriers of film for its time. The film consisted of great acting, plot, symbolism, and cinematography. It had all the components of a great film. In the future, I am sure there will be films that surpass this one, but I think Citizen Kane will always be remembered for the barriers it broke.