1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Citizen Kane

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by Setenza, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Setenza

    Setenza
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    3,345
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +226
    The greatest film ever made is Citizen Kane, according to international polls of film critics, directors, academic literature, and the film "establishment" of the UK.

    Nicky James, editor of Sight & Sound, the BFI's magazine, once said he was surprised that Welles's portrait of an American newspaper baron, made in 1941, still resonated after so many years.

    "I would have thought that with the passing of time it would have replaced with another film," he said. "It is a burden because Citizen Kane can never match anyone's expectations. People see it and ask, 'Why isn't it more entertaining? But Welles's movie changed the way films were made. It changed the way cameras moved, how we used sound, the idea of overlapping dialogue, and heavy symbolism were also new."

    In the same way as Shakespeare is sometimes perceived as being the embodiment of literary perfection, Citizen Kane suffers from the the label it has been awarded: the Greatest Movie Ever Made. The accolade hangs around its neck, like the proverbial albatross. Such a build up will always risk raising expectations to high. Or does it?

    Well having watched CK again recently for the third time in my life, at the age of 36, I was staggered by the sophistication of the style, cinematography, and production design. It had just as many FX shot's (if not more) as any contemporary film. The plot themes of absolute power and emotional loss are still relevant. Charles Foster Kane is a grotesque recognizable to every generation. But what makes the film stand out is that is one of the earliest movies to depict the American Dream as a nightmare. It's amazing to think that Welles was allowed to get away with it.

    What are your thoughts on the film. Can it live up to it's legendary reputation? Is it still relevant? Or is it like Gone With The Wind, some anachronisms from your parents generation that you simply cannot identify with.
     
  2. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,939
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,306
    I watched it too young- 12 and have never got around to seeing it since. However my library has a perfectly good copy on DVD so I think I may try again with an extra 11 years experience.

    It is going to have to work hard to topple Metropolis (the Fritz Lang one) as my favourite view of a failed utopia though.
     
  3. Setenza

    Setenza
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    3,345
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +226
    Metropolis. I've yet to see a decent version of that film all the way through. I must admit, I was considering reviewing several silent classics recently and will add that to the list.
     
  4. the_pauley

    the_pauley
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,066
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +198
    There are many things wrong with "Citizen Kane". It is -

    a) old
    b) black and white
    c) 4:3 ratio
    d) mono soundtrack
    e) made before "Star Wars"

    - therefore it can't possibly be any good.

    What we need is a remake in full colour, with cutting edge CGI, and perhaps the icing on the cake would be Will Smith in the title role and he could even "sing" the title song. Oh, and not forgetting a DTS soundtrack...

    But, if you insist on having the original, the 2 disc R2 version is £9.99 in HMV's sale.
     
  5. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'll wait for the remake it sounds good.
     
  6. dfield2000

    dfield2000
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    957
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +5
    I think the film could have done with a few more exploding helicopters.
     
  7. Setenza

    Setenza
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    3,345
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +226
    Alas, many a true word spoken in jest :( That is exactly the perception that some people may have of the film.
     
  8. dfield2000

    dfield2000
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    957
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +5
    Something that has always bothered me about the way people rave about CK is this : fair enough it was the FIRST film to use the afore-mentioned techniques (overlapping dialogue etc), so repect is due to Welles for that - but surely these techniques have since been refined and done better.

    So in my book you can't take anything away from him for being the first guy to think of these techniques - give him respect as an innovator - but is it not the case that directors have better used these techniques since, so the actual film Citizen Kane is interesting as a historical piece of film, but not as the 'best film ever made' ?

    I'm sure there are film buffs out there who can quote films which have better sound engineering, symbolism, cinematography which is better that Kane.
     
  9. Azrikam

    Azrikam
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    But you could just as easily say that Tolkien shouldn't get credit for LotR, because other Fantasy writers have taken his work and refined and improved on it. It takes a lot of risk to do something first.

    I'm a big fan of Citizen Kane, but the story behind the movie is almost as interesting as the movie itself. Most people have seen "The Battle over Citizen Kane" (brilliant), but if you haven't seen it, check out RKO 281 , which is a great HBO production as well.
     
  10. the_pauley

    the_pauley
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,066
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +198
    It isn't a case of him being the first to use these various cinematic techniques - indeed contrary to popular belief he wasn't the first film maker to use many of them - it was the use to which he put them in terms of storytelling, character development, visual and symbolic imagery, etc, that was so marvellous. And more importantly, they were completely unobtrusive and always enhanced / furthered what was on screen.

    And to answer Dfield's question, no, I am hard pressed to think of a director who has wielded them to better effect since. That's what makes Welles and "CK" so special.

    Many film makers have more technically sophisticated cinematic tools at their disposal, than Welles could have dreamed of, but it's how they are used that matters.

    Many contemporary films and in some cases the average MTV music video probably use a greater, and vastly improved, variety of cinematic techniques than Welles used in his entire career. But to what effect? With "Kane" the dog definitely wagged the tail, not the reverse as is often the case with the bulk of contemporary cinema.

    The reason the film is so highly regarded is that it is a very rare beast - a perfectly realised and executed artistic entity. And what is more (again, contrary to popular belief) it is a punchy, lively, witty and highly entertaining piece.

    The key to this lies in what Welles' cinematographer Greg Toland said to him when Welles expressed nervousness at his own lack of technical knowledge. Toland said (and I paraphrase) "I can teach you all you need to know about the technical side of movies in an afternoon, the rest is down to whether you are any good or not."

    Fortunately, Orson was very, very good indeed. :)
     
  11. dfield2000

    dfield2000
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    957
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +5
    I'm not saying that he shouldn't get credit - I'm saying that he should get loads of credit - like you said, he did it first and that takes alot.

    I'm just talking about how the film stands as a piece of work compared to its contempories - does it deserve to be cited as the 'best film of all time ever' ? I mean this film contained the first occurance of these techniques - but are the best examples of these ever compared to all the work that has come out since ?

    EDIT : Just read the above post - yes, I agree with the points you make
     
  12. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    So does anyone know when the Will Smith remake is out ?
     
  13. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    3,714
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Land of the Living, Essex
    Ratings:
    +33
    It wasnt just "lord of the Rings" that made it the book it was, it was all the other books that backed it to create a 'history' of middle earth, nothing since has been done like that ever.

    Anyway on to the film. I think it is a shame that people tend to regard films highly based on 'originality', sure points should be given for this, but what about character, story and style? this seems to be often over looked because everything that can be done has, been done, just in style that is different. Most film makers will be accused of being 'MTV' for using certain styles in making their films, but doesnt the same go for music videos?

    I'm not saying you shouldn't praise originality, but the fact remains that there is a fine line between influence and rip-off that most of us will always interprate as different.

    BTW: I do not think it is the greatest film ever made as to me the greatest film ever made is 2001: A Space Odyssey, but its not my favourite.
     
  14. the_pauley

    the_pauley
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,066
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +198
    I think it is difficult to say what is the single best film. For example many in the industry think Welles bettered "Kane" with "A Touch of Evil".

    I'd find it difficult to name my No. 1, if I did I'd probably fluctate between several, but I do know that "Kane", "2001" and "A Touch of Evil" would all be at the top of my all time greats list.
     
  15. seany

    seany
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Messages:
    2,987
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    61
    Location:
    Manchester city
    Ratings:
    +1
    I have not seen CK for many years. I saw Fritz Lang's M not long ago, and was amazed. It's a master class in film making.

    "But can I … can I help it?" . "Haven’t I got this curse inside me? The fire? The voice? The pain? … Who knows what it feels like to be me?"
     
  16. the_pauley

    the_pauley
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,066
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +198
    "M" is another gem. :smashin: Films like this are getting on for three quarters of a century in age, yet they wipe the floor with most of what is being made today.
     
  17. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    3,714
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Land of the Living, Essex
    Ratings:
    +33
    I'd also like to put in a small mention for "Ghost in the Shell" as best animated film.
     
  18. Azrikam

    Azrikam
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Yeah, I'd put Kane in my list of 5 best films of all time, but it would come lower in my list of favorite films. That's not to say it isn't enjoyable; it is a film I can watch over and over again. But mindless escapism can be just as entertaining as brilliant filmmaking.

    I think a lot of the power of these classics is how well they hold up, even now. A film may seem brilliant the year it's released, but will people still feel the same about it in 20 years time? I'd just as soon watch Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, or any number of Hitchcock classics as I would Return of the King. But in 10 years time, those classics will still be in my list of favorites. I'm not sure if the same can be said for RotK. That's not a knock on the film, it's just very difficult to predict how a film will hold up over the years.

    I'm gonna have to pick up "M", I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen it yet.
     
  19. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,939
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,306
    I also own it and love it to bits but for me it isn't going to topple Dumbo and my favourite animation of all time. The only thing wrong with Dumbo is that it serves to remind me what a bunch of slack wasters Disney have become in the interim. Metropolis and Citizen Kane have the same effect with many other newer works- I hope and pray that they continue to remain unremade.
    I'd also nominate "Fist of the Northstar" for being the nearest thing much of the general public will ever get to being on PCP.
     
  20. dfield2000

    dfield2000
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    957
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +5
    Would you consider the anime version of Metroplis a remake of the Fritz Lang one ?
     
  21. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,939
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,306
    No- although I concede that it borrows heavily.
    SPOILER (for a 76 yr old film)


    Lang's ending sees Metropolis hopefully moving toward a brighter and more egalitarian future whilst the animation simply leaves a kid stomping about on a pile of rubble. HEL is inherrantly destructive whilst Tima is destructive only in the context of Duke Red's Ziggurat and much of the animation is concerned with the "humanity" of a synthetic lifeform. Oh and the HEL robot itself is the ultimate Art Deco collectors item.
     

Share This Page

Loading...