8:00 PM, 30th May, 2003
In 1924, media mogul William Randolph Hearst (the man on whom Citizen Kane was based) may be the most powerful man in the world. On his yacht for a pleasure cruise are his mistress and plenty of Hollywood's finest, including Charlie Chaplin. We know from the beginning that a murder will be committed, but who did it, why, and most importantly, what will happen?
Supposedly based on true events, the movie is in truth less concerned with the murder than the relationships that lead up to it, as the characters clash in orbit around Hearst's massive star ((mdash)) in particular, the developing triangle between Hearst, his mistress, and Chaplin. But everybody wants something from Hearst.
This is director Peter Bogdanovich's first movie for almost a decade; he's best-known for Nickelodeon and The Last Picture Show. In some ensemble movies (such as Gosford Park), watching the cast work off each other is the delight of the movie. Here, things feel more mannered, even a little forced; but that may have resulted from a deliberate decision to evoke the forced cheeriness both of those hoping for crumbs from the high table, and of the Roaring 20s themselves.
10:00 PM, 30th May, 2003
Media mogul Charles Kane (Welles) dies, and for some reason nobody can make his newsreel obituary sound interesting. One reporter believes he has the key: Kane's last word, 'Rosebud'. Who was Rosebud? The reporter tracks down Kane's surviving associates in an attempt to find out, but the more he unearths, the more enigmatic Kane becomes.
Citizen Kane has just won the once-a-decade Sight and Sound poll for the fifth time in a row (the last two times round, they polled directors as well as critics, and Citizen Kane headed both lists), and if any film is universally regarded as a masterpiece, this is it. Yet somehow it's also acquired the reputation for being worthy but dull, the kind of thing people watch because they feel they ought to rather than out of any real desire. This is unfair. Citizen Kane is, if nothing else, entertaining ((mdash)) one of the easiest films to watch again and again. Kane was not some grey nobody, but a colourful chap who led a fascinating life. And if you don't know what the neat twist at the end is, for God's sake come and see the movie before some bozo tells you.