Narrator: Something had happened. A thing which, years ago, had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town, and now it had come at last; George Amberson Minafer had got his comeuppance. He got it three times filled, and running over. But those who had so longed for it were not there to see it, and they never knew it. Those who were still living had forgotten all about it and all about him.
As many of you know, I recently covered the TCM Classic Film Festival for YAM Magazine. You can see the first of those articles here; there will be three more posted throughout the week. I’ll keep my general comments short and just say that it was fabulous and look for my article on YAM tomorrow for more details. I saw lots of really wonderful films on the big screen and I write about those experiences in the article that will be published tomorrow. That being said, I wanted to share one revelation I had while watching Citizen Kane. It is of the spoilery nature, so I thought it best to post it here, under the safety of jump-cut.
It took A LOT of searching to find this movie. It is not available on DVD in the United States (click here if you want to try to do something about that). While probably not as well-known as Citizen Kane, I think this film is just as much a masterpiece Welles’ more famous film, though probably less universally approachable. I’m going to talk a little later about some of the production (and the headaches it caused). The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, though it went home empty-handed: Best B&W Art Direction, Best B&W Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress Agnes Moorehead and Best Picture. The other nominees for Best Picture that year were 49th Parallel, Kings Row, The Pied Piper, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, The Talk of the Town, Wake Island, Yankee Doodle Dandy and winner Mrs. Miniver.
Michael O’Hara: Bannister’s note to the D.A. fixed it. l’d be innocent, officially. But that’s a big word, innocent. Stupid is more like it. Well, everybody is somebody’s fool. The only way to stay out of trouble is to grow old. So I guess l’ll concentrate on that. Maybe l’ll live so long that l’ll forget her. Maybe l’ll die. . .trying.
Love it or hate it, Citizen Kane made an indelible mark in cinematic history and will forever be lauded as one of the great films ever made. The American Film Institute listed it as the #1 American film on both their 1998 list of the 100 Greatest American Films and their Ten Year Anniversary list from 2007. Everybody knows that quote “rosebud….” whether they know what it refers to or no. It did not, however, win the Academy Award for the Best Picture of 1941. No, indeed, that award went to the schmaltzy Zanuck produced, John Ford directed family drama/literary adaptation How Green Was My Valley. I recently saw that film, and I must say I found it to be the most boring of all the Best Picture winners I’ve seen (I’ve only got six left to watch!) I can see why it won though, Academy Politics and John Ford at the helm and Darryl F. Zanuck as producer. But it definitely is not a film that endures or a film many will remember, other than perhaps how much it bored them, the way thatCitizen Kane will. Kane is a classic in every sense of the word. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, ultimately only winning one. Those nominations were Best Film Editing – Robert Wise (who would go on to become a great director/producer in his own right, winning four Academy awards), Best Score, Best Sound, Best B&W Cinematography, Best B&W Art Direction, Best Actor Orson Welles, Best Director Orson Welles, Best Original Screenplay Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz (won) and Best Picture. It was up against Blossoms In The Dust, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Hold Back The Dawn, One Foot In Heaven, Sergeant York, Suspicion, The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon and winner How Green Was My Valley.
Beware, if you’ve never seen the film before there will be at least one really big spoiler.