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Citizen Kane Write-up

This was my first time viewing Citizen Kane. The closest thing I have experienced to it was the Simpson's episode parodying it. As I read other people's writeups, I can agree with them when I say I'm sort of biased against black-and-white movies. I've only seen them in educational contexts, so I have this innate reaction to label them boring. Although, compared to other B & W movies, I'd say Citizen Kane was one of the better ones. I can understand why it was so big at the time of its release, with the notion that the American dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. The one thing that I noticed that was constantly utilized was the long fades between scenes.

The effect of the long fades is to blend each scene with the next. It gives a feeling of flow, which is appropriate since much of the movie consists of people telling the story of Charles Kane. Since everything only happens as fast as people tell them through anecdotes, the fade effect is useful to show that each story is interrelated. There are no fast cuts like you'd see in many movies today. The fast cuts seem to invoke feelings of unexpectedness and confusion, while a fade establishes a new scene while allowing reflection on the previous. It lets the movie clearly designate what are 'flashbacks' and what is occuring in 'normal time'.

All said and done, Citizen Kane isn't half bad of a flick. I can see how it was so big back in the day, and I can see where it has some merit even today. The American dream, while often glorified, was depicted as shallow and unfulfilling. It's a nice change from how movies usually go (granted, 'nice' might not be the best word to use there), but it's an interesting look at how power corrupts, and blinds people to their weaknesses. Those messages are just as true today as they were in 1941.

Jeff Batts