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DVD Reviews:  Citizen Kane

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Dean Malandrini
Distributed by:
Warner Home Video

I recently read a copy of Empire the DVD magazine and it had a section on the top 100 movies that changed our lives and the way we watch movies and reading this only a few days after seeing Citizen Kane I was surprised to see the movie holding its own at number two; “Number two” I bellowed in the middle of the store, what about the other greats, Citizen Kane is the type of movie you hear all about and you say to yourself “Hey I haven’t seen that before” and like the fool that you are, you make your way to the front counter and hand over your hard earned $$$$$$’s, and what happens when you finish watching the movie?  A big “What The”.   

Citizen Kane would have to be the biggest let down I have had the pleasure to review, at least I wasn’t expecting much from the other hapless 1/10’s I’ve handed out in my time, but Citizen Kane was the type of movie that left you guessing throughout the entire movie.  But alas the story finally came to an end, the great ending, THE MEANING TO LIFE; “Rosebud”.  Rosebud the one word uttered by Citizen Kane on his dieing day, the one word to solve all your questions, what does it all mean, obviously I’m not going to give it away, but come on; a man with millions of dollars had nothing better to do but run a small news paper and disgrace the men that brought him up. 

The story follows a young man who’s family has come into possession of great wealth, and by his mothers hand and wisdom is sent away to live with a smart banker to raise him and turn his millions into billions.  What mum didn’t realize is that a man raised by money grubbers and loveless fools has only one desire; spend, spend, spend and then I guess he might spend some more just before he goes to bed.  What Citizen Kane was out to achieve was not great wealth, that’s something he was born to, Kane was to make a name for himself and turn something that was barely there into a great empire, not something that was inherited or given to him.  Kane wanted to make something of his own and have the peoples trust and their loyalty and more importantly Citizen Kane felt the lack of love, in his life he had barely known love and for him someone to love him back, the real trick was to weed out the money grabbers but Citizen Kane would do anything to procure love. 

After many long days of trying to win over the hearts of both the women in his life and the people in his community Citizen Kane died; a lonely, loveless, and very rich man, when the word “Rosebud” was uttered from his lips, on that very fateful day, the press that his whole life had built up through his riches, influence, and hard work; the press set out on a great mission; what does rosebud mean? And why was it so important to be that last word of one of the richest and reclusive men of the world?  This is where the reporter takes you on a quest to find the meaning of the word and its great significance to Citizen Kane, as so this is how the story is told, through the eyes of a reporter chasing his story.

The picture quality is very grainy throughout the entire movie, but I guess for that day and age it was ok, sound quality throughout the whole move was very exceptional, the only real points where the sound quality lets us down is when there are raised voices and that time where his second wife is nagging him really gives you a clear picture (sound) of how not to hold a boom microphone to close to the actors, the sound crackling and distortion was irritating for the whole scene. 

I’m sure there are heaps of you out there that would disagree with my five for Citizen Kane, as a matter of fact my sister believed I should give Citizen Kane at least a nine “One of the greatest movies of all time” she said , “I think not” I replied, the main audience for Citizen Kane would have to be university students and university graduates, the film definitely targets the more upper class ‘citizen’ and those of you that have never seen the movie I would defiantly recommend seeing it, just for the sake of saying “Yes I’ve seen Citizen Kane”, and at that time you will be able to give your opinion.  Surely Citizen Kane not the movie to run out and buy without seeing it first either hire then buy, or if you’re a fan of Orson Wells and his masterful acting as Citizen Kane which I won’t deny, then by all means rush out and grab your copy. 

Extras are absolutely fantastic never have I seen such a complete documentation and informative extra section if you’re a fan watch all the extras.  Extras include a listing of all the cast and crew that performed in Citizen Kane, commentary by both Peter Bogdanovich and Roger Ebert both are great to listen to but I think I like Ebert’s comments better, but hey that’s just me.  A newsreel footage section New York Premiere just a reel of the guests that showed up for the opening night, theatrical trailer a very interesting and effective trailer that never shows Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) he is just out of frame, other extras included shorts, storyboards, call sheets, still gallery, deleted scenes, ad campaign, press book, opening nights, production notes which is in four separate sections

Citizen Kane Features

  • Two full length commentaries

  • 1941 New York movie premiere newsreel

  • Gallery of storyboards, rare production photos, call sheets and other memorabilia

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Interviews with Welles, stars of Citizen Kane and associates of Welles and Hearst

  • Rare footage from Hearst's San Simeon estate and Welles Historic War of the Worlds broadcast

  • Biographical profiles of Welles and Hearst

  • The Battle Over Citizen Kane Documentary


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