|Now celebrating its 70th anniversary!|
"Citizen Kane is perhaps most studied for its use of deep-focus photography, wherein the entire frame remains in focus at all time. This technique challenges audiences to search the screen for crucial pieces of the puzzle, and allows for cinematic sleight of hand. An otherwise ordinary fireplace, for example, is a background piece in Kane's mansion. It's not until Kane steps next to it that its massive size is revealed, and Kane's captivity to his outsized riches fully expressed. In another scene, when Kane loses control of his media empire, he dominates the frame, signing away his holdings while claiming a moral superiority to his new corporate masters. He then turns and walks to a window at the far end of the room, and is visually diminished. Through deep focus, the camera captures the magnitude of Kane's defeat without a single word spoken."
The film is a puzzle in more ways than one
Let's not forget Bernard Herrmann's outstanding score, Herman Mankiewicz's contribution to the screenplay (quotes from the film on one internet site number 304), and the stellar bunch of Mercury players (yay for Bewitched's Agnes Moorehead!).
Critic Kenneth Tynan claimed that "nobody who saw Citizen Kane at an impressionable age will ever forget the experience; overnight, the American cinema had acquired an adult vocabulary, a dictionary instead of a phrase book for illiterates." Do you remember your first impressions of this masterpiece? Or do you not think it is one? And what are your favorite lines? One of mine is "I'm the one that gets the raspberries!," which is shrieked by Kane's vocally challenged mistress as he tries to fashion her into an opera singer.