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Citizen Kane


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#41 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:22 PM

View PostCameron H., on 21 May 2018 - 06:23 PM, said:

Paul mentioned in the episode that he was initially put off by the film’s structure, and I totally get that. However, what I did like - although I didn’t necessarily appreciate at the time - was the opening news reel. Yes, it was an exposition dump, but when the movie gets going in earnest, it proved to be a sort of Rosetta Stone, allowing the audience to grasp where they are in Kane’s life without interrupting the flow of the movie. By getting it out of the way at the top - in a type of bulletpoint-y way that wouldn’t have seemed entirely alien to it’s contemporary audience - it allowed the movie to unfold more organically and shift its focus to where it needed to be while providing a bit of dramatic irony.


It's a brilliant Brechtian device: foregrounding the actual plot of the movie so that the audience pays attention to the "why" instead of the "what." I'd also note that the movie certainly makes the same point Joel did here:

View Postjoel_rosenbaum, on 19 May 2018 - 03:32 AM, said:

And that's where the comparison sticks with me, Kane is unambiguously American.




It's all right there up front for you, but the movie still feels like a mystery where you're trying to find something. That's what makes it so great.

#42 KevinTL

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 02:35 AM

I always dread when this film gets brought up online because of the baggage that has been placed on it because of its reputation as "Greatest Film Of All-Time". I think many people take that into the film and approach it with an attitude of "PROVE IT!". No film can really stand up to that scrutiny and without fail there are always those who dismiss the film as "overrated" or even worse "boring".

Overrated is a flimsy critique because it isn't really a critique of the film it is a critique of how other people feel about it. And I have a hard time understanding how anyone can be bored by Kane, it is just so thoroughly entertaining. Some classic films (even films I love dearly) can feel like eating you're vegetables but this isn't one of those films. While it is very much a great artistic achievement at the end of the day Welles was a showman (remember he dabbled in Magic) and he wanted to reach the masses. This is a film that is aiming for a mainstream audience.

I love, love, love this film. Is it the greatest of all time? No because I don't feel there can be any greatest of all-time. But if you insist on naming one you can't do any better than Citizen Kane.


Edit: One more thing...

If you want to check out a really great Marion Davies film that shows off how talented of a comedic actress she was I highly recommend "The Patsy". A fantastic film.

#43 grudlian.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 06:40 AM

View PostKevinTL, on 23 May 2018 - 02:35 AM, said:

I always dread when this film gets brought up online because of the baggage that has been placed on it because of its reputation as "Greatest Film Of All-Time". I think many people take that into the film and approach it with an attitude of "PROVE IT!". No film can really stand up to that scrutiny and without fail there are always those who dismiss the film as "overrated" or even worse "boring".

I think thats the case with a lot of "greatest X of all time" and I'm pretty sure I approached Citizen Kane the same way when I first saw it.

I had to get up super early to watch it on tv before you could stream everything. It was something like 5 or 6 in the morning in college. So, I was very "This had better be worth it." It won me over during the first view.

I'm curious how other people reacted to this on their first view. Did you think it lived up to the hype?

#44 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:54 AM

View PostKevinTL, on 23 May 2018 - 02:35 AM, said:

Overrated is a flimsy critique because it isn't really a critique of the film it is a critique of how other people feel about it.


It's long been my opinion that "overrated" is the single worst word to use in artistic criticism.

#45 Dan Engler

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:42 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 23 May 2018 - 06:40 AM, said:

I'm curious how other people reacted to this on their first view. Did you think it lived up to the hype?

Prior to watching Citizen Kane, I'd only seen 20 of AFI's Top 100. I listened to the oldies station when I was young, and love You Must Remember This, so this glaring cinematic blind spot can only be explained by having prioritized other media (TV as a kid, video games in my 20s, podcasts in my 30s.) I plan to remedy this by watching along with Unspooled.

I went into the film with the assumption that its legendary status was earned via writing and performances, so I was surprised to find I was most riveted by the cinematography. The long camera movements, the way the actors played between light and shadow, and the sense of "heft" in the environments felt remarkable even by today's standards. (The sometimes claustrophobic darkness/post-Art Deco New York/themes about the downfall of Great Men felt very Bioshock, though, so maybe I was predisposed to enjoy it.)
Disclaimer: I am not an Earwolf employee. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Midroll Media LLC.

#46 Susan*

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:44 PM

View PostCameron H., on 20 May 2018 - 09:52 AM, said:

Out of curiosity, where is everyone at with the AFI list?

Currently, I’m at 74 on the 1998 list and 81 on the 10th Anniversary list.

I have not seen Birth of a Nation or Giant all the way through. (I saw parts of Birth in a college class and parts of Giant on TV but it always looks awful)

When I was in college I went to a revival house at least once a week, mostly seeing double features, which could be tough, like the double feature of 2001 and Clockwork Orange.

#47 Cameron H.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:52 PM

View PostSusan*, on 23 May 2018 - 04:44 PM, said:


I have not seen Birth of a Nation or Giant all the way through. (I saw parts of Birth in a college class and parts of Giant on TV but it always looks awful)

When I was in college I went to a revival house at least once a week, mostly seeing double features, which could be tough, like the double feature of 2001 and Clockwork Orange.


I love Giant! Although, I’m not a huge fan of 2001 or Clockwork, so yeah, that double feature would be tough. :)
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#48 grudlian.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:57 PM

View PostSusan*, on 23 May 2018 - 04:44 PM, said:

I have not seen Birth of a Nation or Giant all the way through. (I saw parts of Birth in a college class and parts of Giant on TV but it always looks awful)

When I was in college I went to a revival house at least once a week, mostly seeing double features, which could be tough, like the double feature of 2001 and Clockwork Orange.

I like Giant but can definitely see it coming across pretty bad seeing it in parts.

I'm very glad Birth Of A Nation isn't on the updated AFI list. It's even more racist than its reputation. It's also the very first DVD I got through Netflix.

#49 Cameron H.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 06:24 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 23 May 2018 - 05:57 PM, said:


I like Giant but can definitely see it coming across pretty bad seeing it in parts.

I'm very glad Birth Of A Nation isn't on the updated AFI list. It's even more racist than its reputation. It's also the very first DVD I got through Netflix.


You probably know this already, but the 10th Anniversary List replaced Birth of a Nation with Intolerance. I guess AFI felt like D.W. Griffith had to be represented on the list somewhere and Intolerance was the less controversial choice..?

Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

Seb: Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass 'cause it made you feel better about yourself.
La La Land (2016)

#50 grudlian.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 06:43 PM

View PostCameron H., on 23 May 2018 - 06:24 PM, said:


You probably know this already, but the 10th Anniversary List replaced Birth of a Nation with Intolerance. I guess AFI felt like D.W. Griffith had to be represented on the list somewhere and Intolerance was the less controversial choice..?

I didn't care much for Intolerance when I saw it but it's certainly less controversial. If they had to include Griffith, I might have picked Orphans In The Storm or Broken Blossoms but the latter is still kind of racist. If I recall, the intentions are good but the 1910s were not a great time for portraying Chinese people in American film.

How did the AFI list get made for the anniversary? The original was a list of 400-500 nominated movies then voted on by industry people. Was the anniversary list the same?

#51 Cameron H.

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:00 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 23 May 2018 - 06:43 PM, said:


I didn't care much for Intolerance when I saw it but it's certainly less controversial. If they had to include Griffith, I might have picked Orphans In The Storm or Broken Blossoms but the latter is still kind of racist. If I recall, the intentions are good but the 1910s were not a great time for portraying Chinese people in American film.

How did the AFI list get made for the anniversary? The original was a list of 400-500 nominated movies then voted on by industry people. Was the anniversary list the same?


I didn’t like Intolerance either.

According to the site I visited, it sounded like it was the same deal. Wikipedia says that AFI is supposed to be doing one every ten years to account for new releases. That means we should see a new list pretty soon (I guess...)
Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

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#52 Susan*

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:16 PM

View PostCameron H., on 23 May 2018 - 06:24 PM, said:

You probably know this already, but the 10th Anniversary List replaced Birth of a Nation with Intolerance. I guess AFI felt like D.W. Griffith had to be represented on the list somewhere and Intolerance was the less controversial choice..?

That's interesting! I haven't seen intolerance either.

#53 Susan*

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:26 PM

Some of the really old movies will be more fresh than the ones from recent decades.

I used to love Tootsie. It was never perfect but the good parts were so good and my parents loved that movie. That one would be tough to rewatch because I'm old enough to remember how Dustin Hoffman gave dozens of interviews talking about how playing that role made him appreciate what an ass he had been as a young man and he was all about the feminist statements. But honestly, the soundtrack might be the deal breaker for me now. Earnest 80s movies had some of the worst songs. That one has a montage that's the equivalent of an 80s music video.

#54 Susan*

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:34 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 20 May 2018 - 04:13 PM, said:



AFI also did other lists and had covered the top 25 American musicals too. So, there is always one of these selections: http://letterboxd.co...atest-musicals/

How did they pick Top Hat for the musical list but Swing Time for the movies list? And I still like the Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet, and the one where he plays a ballet dancer better.

#55 grudlian.

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 03:16 AM

View PostCameron H., on 23 May 2018 - 07:00 PM, said:


I didn’t like Intolerance either.

According to the site I visited, it sounded like it was the same deal. Wikipedia says that AFI is supposed to be doing one every ten years to account for new releases. That means we should see a new list pretty soon (I guess...)

I'm curious what films came out in the last 11 years that people would consider the top 100 American movies. I might consider No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood.

#56 Cameron H.

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 03:34 AM

View PostSusan*, on 23 May 2018 - 08:16 PM, said:


That's interesting! I haven't seen intolerance either.


I mean, I don’t know that for sure, for sure. I’m just guessing. It just seems like Intolerance doesn’t fit much of the AFI’s criteria on its own.

Personally, I could do without either of them being on the list, but from a film history perspective, I guess I get it. Maybe. Sort of...
Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

Seb: Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass 'cause it made you feel better about yourself.
La La Land (2016)

#57 Susan*

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:49 PM

Also Swing Time has the Fred Astaire in black face number.