Director: Orson Welles
Screenplay: Herman J Mankiewicz &Orson Wells
Starring: Orson Welles * Joseph Cotton
Firstly I have to mention Citizen Kane was the number all time greatest film that honour has now been taken by Hitchcock’s Vertigo I’m not so sure as they’re completely different films in style and substance and there are one or two others I’d have in my own personal top fifty.
Charles Foster Kane newspaper magnate dies and his enigmatic last words are Rosebud.
A newspaper man decides to dig deeper in to the life of Kane(Welles) this is shown in the style of a news reel showing his life from a boy to the man he’d become.
Kane became and idealistic newspaper man full of integrity his soul intact, his political ambitions fall at the first hurdle and he marries the daughter of a man who then becomes President.
As he garners more and more power as his empire grows it begins to erode his idealism and integrity a little at first as he compromises his principles believing them to be for the greater good, though as his power grows he becomes more ruthless.
The newspaper man find people throughout each stage of his life and they describe their association with them he begins to get the picture of a man who loses his soul bit by bit until there is virtually nothing left and he becomes a hollow man with his riches but with no friends or family.
We never really know if he feels if it was all worth it and that all the power and money did not bring him happiness or even the satisfaction of making a difference.
This is an perfect study of what power unless used judiciously can do to a person it can erode from the inside out,it also shows that power can corrupt in the most devastating way not only to the man but to all those around them as they become at first seduced by it,and only the strong seem able to walk away before they are thrown to the wolves their usefulness no longer required.
It’s been written that the story was loosely based on William Randolph Hurst who knows but like those who try to control our thoughts through the media have a responsibility, look at Rupert Murdoch today as a parallel.
Rosebud which the film hangs on is the sled played on when a child, it’s open to interpretation but I like to think it’s when he was happy and innocent with the world before him.