I just don’t get it. I watched this movie for one of my podcasts, where we chose some of “the greatest movies we’ve never seen.” Sure I knew the most famous of all famous spoilers regarding Rosebud, so I wasn’t really expecting much in the way of surprise endings. What I don’t get is, why the hell is this movie the number one on AFI’s list of 100 greatest movies? Is it the best boring movie ever made? Possibly. Who knows? I admit there are a large amount of classic movies that I haven’t seen, but I’ve certainly seen enough to know that this movie just isn’t very good.
I liked the first half. I did! But then it just kept going…and going…and going… By the time the “shocking” ending came up, I couldn’t have given two shits about Rosebud. Yes, the cinematography was really quite good. The story was interesting, for a while. But it just seemed as though Orson Welles was in love with his own genius, and couldn’t get enough of himself. The fact that he had to put in a random squawking cockatoo to wake up the audience makes me wonder if he knew exactly how boring it was, but did it anyway.
Maybe at the time, this movie was monumentally impressive. I’m sure it could have been. It’s lovely that he used all unknown actors and actresses, and they were all very good at what they did. But the script was just painful to me. I get it. Charles Foster Kane had white man problems. He didn’t want to be rich, and he was. He didn’t get hugged enough as a kid, got sent away from his mom, and was miserable for the rest of his life as a result. I didn’t need to know who or what Rosebud was to figure that out. That was crystal clear within the first ten minutes.
If you want to listen to me and a friend jabber on about it, as well as some movies that I enjoyed 100 times more than Citizen Kane, I’ll be posting the podcast tonight here. I’ll update the post to the specific link when I get it up and going.
Edited to correct the direct link. Now go listen! Go ahead. I’ll wait here…