The debate over Casablanca and Citizen Kane has been a classic argument between film critics and historians alike because both of these pieces contain great cinematographic value, and are timeless pictures that have managed to captivate audiences well beyond their era. However, the real question at hand is which film is the greatest? Which film transformed the future of American film making? It is these questions that I as many others have, will attempt to answer in the following essay as I explain why I believe Citizen Kane has achieved the status of greatest film ever made.
The film Citizen Kane opens with the camera panning across Kane’s deserted estate in Florida called Xanadu. The ...view middle of the document...
`Not only did Kane`s hair thin, his face sag with jowls and bags made of Seiderman foam plastic, but Welles` body was reshaped with the plastic,`` Smith said. ``The final touch was his contact lenses that dimmed Welles`eyes.``
Each of the flashbacks are instigated by reporter Thompson as he meets with different people who were close to Kane to uncover the story of rose bud. As Welles explains: "They tell five different stories, each biased, so the truth about Kane, like the truth about any man, can only be calculated by the sum of everything that has been said about him."
One such flashback begins when the reporter Thompson enters a large room in Thatchers building and begins reading about Kane. This is cues the flashback which can be considered one of the most poignant in the film. It’s one of many scenes that exhibits Citizen Kane’s most significant contribution to cinematography, as cinematographer Greg Toland’s deep focus technique of filming and use of unique lighting.
We are taken to Kane’s Cabin in Colorado, and we see Kane playing as a child in the snow. The camera then tracks back to see his mother looking at him through the window and further back to show the entirety of the room with Kane still playing just outside the window. It is this scene in which Kane’s mother signs over her son to Thatcher, and Kane attempts to hit him with his sled which bears the image of a rosebud. This scene is highly important to the rest of the film as it ties in much of the story of Kane’s life
Many other innovations of technique came from this film, such a technique known as the “wipe” where on image is wiped off the screen by another, as well as other innovations which resulted from Greg Toland’s experimental low-angle...