Kim Watches Old Movies Part 1: Citizen Kane

For a few years now I’ve been wanting to catch up on all Those Movies You’re Supposed to Have Seen, and this afternoon when I found myself with some free time I started doing that. I’m not planning to write formal reviews of these movies – just whatever comes to me at the time.

Obviously there will be spoilers in the rest of this post.

I wanted to watch Citizen Kane for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I wanted to know that the hell this “rosebud” crap was all about. (Turns out that’s the entire plot of the movie. Sort of.) Another reason I wanted to watch it is because it’s just so freakin’ famous, but that’s going to be true for all these movies I plan to watch so maybe I’ll just stop including that.

I didn’t know anything about this movie before I saw it, though I had read somewhere online (on accident) what rosebud was, but couldn’t remember exactly. And then as soon as we saw the sled in Kane’s childhood I knew that was it.

Before I go on I feel like I should mention that I’m fully aware that I might just not know enough about film and/or cinematic history to really “get” it. And this will be true of any other movie I watch. Anyway…

Overall, this movie didn’t excite me that much. I think it might just be because I’m not a fan of this type of story. There’s no good vs. evil, there’s not really a story arc, there’s just a series of accounts of this dude’s life. (I’ve been trying to get through a book that’s also written in this style since December and it’s just dragging on!) I suppose the “point” of this movie was to learn what makes Kane tick, to show us that you can’t buy love (literally) and to make us think about what’s important in life, etc. Maybe I didn’t get much out of it because I knew early on that rosebud was the sled because, really, once you know that the message is pretty heavy-handed.

What did I like about this movie? With my uneducated eyes it appeared that they were really pushing the envelope with film for it’s day, and that’s really cool. In the camping scene there’s live action (people partying) and animated effects (birds) onscreen at the same time – I didn’t know they could do that in 1941! Also, it looks like there were a LOT of sets/locations.

This is the type of movie I would like to watch in a classroom setting so I could get the history and significance of it. However, I enjoyed having the chance to make my own impression of it first.

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