June 17th, 2009

amd: loving the monkey

Citizen Kane (spoilers probably)

Watched Citizen Kane last night on TCM. It was really beautiful and brilliant and surprisingly fun, even though I went into it knowing more than I should have about the enigmatic Rosebud. I love the fake newsreel about Kane at the beginning, which must have been a bit of a head trip back then when you were used to seeing real newsreels prior to your film starting. And I quite enjoyed the structure of one character going around to interview various people to get the real story on the main character, even though the people telling the stories were often talking about private moments that they didn't witness (something I think Todd Haynes handled better in his similarly structured Velvet Goldmine).

The only real problem for me was the way Welles interrupted the brisk, years-are-flying-by pace of the film with that gruelingly long and sometimes tedious opera storyline. Don't get me wrong, it's a great anecdote that tells us a lot about the character. Kane building an opera house for the untalented singer he left his wife over largely to silence the critics who put her profession in quotes during his election bid, and then writing the scathing review of her performance himself. It's good stuff, but it could have been told in fifteen minutes, rather than forty-five.

Still, it's a great film, and you can use that conveniently large chunk of time in the middle to check your laundry or walk the dog.