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Sight and Sound: Citizen Kane (1941)

Sight and Sound: #1
Following the death of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance: 'Rosebud.' (PG, 119 min.)


Sunday, November 19, 2023

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Monday, November 20, 2023

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Sight and Sound: #1s
The Greatest Films of All Time
Since 1952, the British Film Institute's publication, Sight and Sound, has been curating an iconic list of the greatest films of all time. Judges include film critics, programmers, curators, archivists, academics, directors, and filmmakers. Since the list's inception, this once-a-decade poll has crowned only four films #1. This collection is Free for Members.

Synopsis: In the most dazzling debut feature in cinema history, twenty-five-year-old writer-producer-director-star Orson Welles synthesized the possibilities of sound-era filmmaking into what could be called the first truly modern movie. In telling the story of the meteoric rise and precipitous fall of a William Randolph Hearst–like newspaper magnate named Charles Foster Kane, Welles not only created the definitive portrait of American megalomania, he also unleashed a torrent of stylistic innovations—from the jigsaw-puzzle narrative structure to the stunning deep-focus camera work of Gregg Toland—that have ensured that Citizen Kane remains fresh and galvanizing for every new generation of moviegoers to encounter it.

Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Director: Orson Welles
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery

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"A milestone in motion picture technique."

— Marjory Adams, Boston Globe

"It remains a gloriously entertaining classic."

— Rob Fraser, Empire Magazine

"To revisit it now is still to marvel at its wit, audacity and sheer entertainment value."

— Derek Malcolm, London Evening Standard

"It happens to be a first-class film of potent importance to the art of motion pictures...a triumph for Orson Welles."

— John C. Flinn Sr., Variety

"The Orson Welles film is generally considered the greatest American film of the sound period, and it may be more fun than any other great movie."

— Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

"It is the epitome of filmmaking, a masterpiece for which Welles, one of the greatest practitioners of the cinematic art, will be forever remembered."

— Staff, TV Guide Magazine

"Absolutely riveting as an investigation of a citizen - newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst by any other name - under suspicion of having soured the American Dream."

— Staff, Time Out London

"Citizen Kane is far and away the most surprising and cinematically exciting motion picture to be seen here in many a moon. As a matter of fact, it comes close to being the most sensational film ever made in Hollywood."

— Bosley Crowther, New York Times

"Fifty years after its release, Citizen Kane still seems richer, bolder, more spectacularly alive than any other film of the studio-system era. Regardless of how many times you've seen Orson Welles' 1941 masterpiece, it always feels like the first time."

— Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"It's a visual feast, from the moody, horror-flick style opening which hovers over the gates of man-made mountain Xanadu, to the opera-house scene when we levitate hundreds of metres from Susan's awful stage debut to the workmen flinching in the rafters."

— Staff, Total Film

"Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made. Its depths surpass understanding. I have analyzed it a shot at a time with more than 30 groups, and together we have seen, I believe, pretty much everything that is there on the screen. The more clearly I can see its physical manifestation, the more I am stirred by its mystery."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"There is hardly a shot in Orson Welles’ towering achivement that doesn’t employ some sort of ingenious trick involving the camera, editing, sound, staging or production design. Kane didn’t invent all of its techniques, but it’s one of the few pictures I can think of that uses almost every one in the movie playbook. The film is like a dictionary of the cinematic language."

— Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm

"Citizen Kane...has the best of everything: a great director and star, innovative cinematography, dreamlike - even nightmarish - art direction, a sonorous musical score, a skillful screenplay in which comic passages intensify the movie's tragic qualities by means of their grotesque juxtaposition (how lifelike!), a psychological / narrative form that predates our contemporary "psycho-histories" by at least 40 years, and best of all, a memorial word that, when spoken, recalls the film out of thin air. Read full review"

— Bob Stephens, San Francisco Examiner