Me and Kane

For a couple of weeks now, during Coffee with Jeff, I've been talking about explaining my fascination with the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane. Instead of boring the folks that view the show with my story, I decided to write it out. Why not.

It was 1973 or 74 when this story took place. Sorry if I'm not quite sure but it was a long time ago.

One of the first changes from grade school to Junior High School was the joy pf picking some of your own classes. Junior High is sometimes called middle school. In out area is was grade 7th and 8th. A course in film study seemed like an easy one, so, of course I registered.

Now at this time movies were just a mild form of entertainment. I thought things like Tower Inferno and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry were classics. I really don't remember if these two movies were out at the time, but you get the idea. Movies were just something my and my friends went to so laugh, joke around, and eat a little popcorn.

And then near the end of the class, we watched the film that would change the way I look at films, and possibly the world. OK, I know that may sound a little pretentious but in some small way, I was introduced to film making as an art form and perhaps, to art itself. Not in a grand, I'm a changed person, I now wear scarfs spend my time at the art institute, but, and this is looking back 35 year, but one of the small seeds that help my grow into the person I am today. Wow, what a load of crap.

Now that I got that bull out of the way, the film!

I don't think I even new the name of the film. I remember the teacher telling us about Rosebud and trying to keep it a secret and that it was based of the life of William Randolph Hearst. I'm sure I really didn't care at the time. The only thoughts I probably had was, just show the damn movie!

I have a memory of being totally absorbed my Citizen Kane. I don't remember being bored at all. (I have receive that complaint my many people who've I've convinced to watch the film). It was a way of making films that I have never seen before. Suddenly I began to see the importance of the director. It was the way the film was shot, the angles and the atmosphere of every single frame of film, I found amazing.

And the story. What story? Although in later years I would begin to understand there actually was a story, but at the time I remember thinking how could a movie without a real story fascinate my so much. No one was trying to solve a murder or save a people from a burning building, no one was could in a silly situation because of a hair-brained scheme. It was just of a man and his life, and what others thought of him. Simple.

The one shot that I remember going on and on about was the one in which the camera pans up to the club Susan Alexander is singing at, though the sign, to the skylight on the roof and looks down into the club. Years later I would appreciate the depth of field used in many shots and much more but that was beyond my understanding in 7th grade.

I almost never recommend this film to anyone anymore. Too many people tell me how boring it is. I don't argue when they do. I know this is one of those films that isn't for everyone. When I friend goes to great lengths ti tell me why the new Adam Sandler film is a masterpiece, what are the odds they would appreciate at film like Kane!


Eastlake Victorian said...

I know I watched it years ago, but I'll have to watch it again soon just to see it with a new perspective.

Then I'll let you know how boring it was.

I was interested in filmmaking since I was 12 and got to play with my dad's Super8. Been making movies ever since.

Pam M.

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