It’s a great movie when you’re still thinking about it a week later. Last week, I saw “Citizen Kane” on the big screen. And, I’m still thinking about the characters and themes.
The theme of the movie, it seems to me, was that Kane started out idealistic; but, over the passage of time, became increasingly self-focused.
However, contradicting that point, I bring up two scenes in the movie: 1. it was relatively early in the movie when Kane engaged in the yellow journalism that would start the Spanish American war (You supply the pictures, I’ll supply the war is the historical quote, modified somewhat in the movie), and,
2. it was late in the movie that Kane finished the review of his wife’s performance, in a truthful way. Both of these events defy the timeline that Kane went from “idealistic” to “narcissistic.”
Another interesting point about the movie’s title: In the beginning, Kane identified with the common man. Perhaps this is the source of the word “Citizen” in the title.
Also, the word “Kane” could be considered a derivation of “Cain”, the Biblical character who killed his brother (both sons of Adam and Eve). The name could apply to Kane’s betrayal of the common man.
Quite literally, the character was a betrayer of the common man – i.e. a citizen’s cain. And thus, the title, “Citizen Kane.”
Finally, I recall seeing several years ago a documentary on the filming of “Citizen Kane”. I remember the narrator explaining the camera angle technique used by Orson Welles when filming scenes of Charles Foster Kane.
The crew would actually dig out a hole in the set in order to place the camera below the floor.
Orson Welles used this low angle camera technique to give Charles Foster Kane a towering look. The two pictures above are examples of this technique. Notice that it looks as if the camera is at the feet of Charles Foster Kane. (It’s actually below that, as the floor has been removed for the camera).