Citizen Kane

A Star is Born: Auspicious Directorial Debuts 

Director: 
Orson Welles
Year: 
1941
Rating: 
Not Rated
Run Time: 
119 mins
Cast: 
Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore

Since the dawn of the sound era, an estimated 25,000 feature-length films have been produced—and that’s in the English language alone. When, in the early 1960s, an international group of film critics were polled as to their “number-one film of all time,” Citizen Kane was in first position. The repetition of this poll in the early 1970s and once again in 1982 produced the same result: Citizen Kane was a solid first each time. Even more important than the opinion of critics is the opinion of audiences. They too, decade after decade, have ranked Citizen Kane as their favorite film. For what truly sets Kane apart from every other film commonly called a “masterpiece” is that it’s also an enormous amount of fun.

When a reporter is assigned to decipher newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane's (Orson Welles) dying words, his investigation gradually reveals the fascinating portrait of a complex man who rose from obscurity to staggering heights. Though Kane's friend and colleague Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten), and his mistress, Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), shed fragments of light on Kane's life, the reporter fears he may never penetrate the mystery of the elusive man's final word, "Rosebud."