Released 1941 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Orson Welles
Stars - Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Everett Sloane, Dorothy Comingore
Upon the death of famous publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane (Welles), a journalist tries to discover the meaning of Kane’s last word, “Rosebud.” Cotton co-stars as Kane’s friend/business partner, Jedediah Leland; Sloane as his employee, Mr. Bernstein; and Comingore as his second wife, Susan Alexander.
I was bored to tears.
One of the final exchanges of the film sums it up rather nicely for me (paraphrased because I can’t find the actual quote): “So what did you learn about him [Kane]?” “Nothing much.” For a guy who had boatloads of money, his life was pretty ordinary. Rich guy has everything, loses everything. It’s a story that’s been told since the dawn of time.
I did not like the loud, confusing, extensive newsreel scene toward the beginning of the film. It really put me off and made it difficult for me to get into the rest of it.
Welles, Cotton, and Sloane were all great, especially Welles. He’s dynamic to watch.
The make-up work to age the actors was very good.
If you can believe it, I’d never seen this before. However, since it’s 75 years old, I knew pretty much the whole plot (including who/what “Rosebud” is) beforehand. Would I have liked it better if I hadn’t known that? Perhaps. If I had spent the whole movie trying to figure it out along with the journalist (Thompson, played by William Alland), I could see where the mystery would be engaging. But that’s not how things went, and as it was, I can’t say that I was particularly impressed. As a slowly unfolding story about a deeply flawed man, it was decently done, but I didn’t find the man that it revealed either interesting or compelling.
I give it 2.75 stars.