Friday, March 20, 2020

Citizen Kane Power and Faliure essays

Citizen Kane Power and Faliure essays Citizen Kane, it gives us the kind of central character we are immediately interested in; given Welles' opening newsreel montage, Kane is interesting simply because he has to be. No one who led such a life could possibly have been boring; he was a powerful man who lost everything, and that fascinates us for the same reason it fascinates the reporters in the film we don't understand how it could have happened, how Kane could have fallen so far. He seems to befuddle everyone who knew him, exactly in the mold of most Shakespearean heroes: There was Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth, and now there is Charles Foster Kane. He is a Great Man, probably the closest 20th-century America could come to royalty, and that's also part of what makes him fascinating; a small man who falls from grace is of no consequence, which is why Shakespeare never wrote about Hamlet, the plumber of Denmark, or Othello, the hot-dog vendor of Venice. Kane was a king of his time, a man who seemingly had everything, and felt un fulfilled just the same. Citizen Kane explores that conundrum. It puts us in the shoes of a deliberately faceless reporter, Jerry Thompson (William Alland, in a thankless-yet-critical role), attempting to discover what it was that made Kane tick. His official task is to find the meaning to Kane's final word: Rosebud. The word is, in many ways a Macguffin until the end of the film, its only purpose is to move Thompson forward in questioning Kane's friends and associates. The people he talks to are exactly the kind of people we find as supporting characters in Shakespeare's plays. Kane has his Claudius, Thatcher (George Coulouris), the man who ripped him away from his parents and tried to raise him on money alone; his Horatio, the harried Bernstein (Everett Sloane), who remains loyal to the end, but knows he cannot do justice to his friend's legacy; his Banquo, Jed Leland (the wonderful Joseph Cotten), forever bound and determined to be Kane's conscien...

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