Reflection: Citizen Kane -- Chris Hansen
While I had not seen Citizen Kane before, I had a lot of presumptions already made about the movie. Last year I did a research project on William Randolph Hearst, and part of the project included Citizen Kane and its connection to Hearst. I did not find the movie particularly interesting, and had trouble even staying awake. I have admittedly become jaded by modern special effects and cinematography, so I had trouble picking out what would be considered "revolutionary" for a movie made in the 1940's. Luckily, I had done the research project and knew to look for things such as camera placement, angles, and how the camera pans across the screen. Apparently Citizen Kane was one of the first, if not the first, movie to use sets with actual roofs. This allows for more dynamic shots, as the camera can now be aimed in any direction without having to worry about a roofless room. This technique was used several times on Charles Kane, and had the effect of making him appear much larger than he actually was. I think this type of camera work has been lost over the years, and now if a director wants to make something larger, you use special effects instead of nifty camera placements.
The story itself was entirely original in the 1940's. While today it is borderline impossible to create anything that could be considered completely original, Orson Welles was able to create a unique masterpiece that has stood the test of time for 60 years. The setup of the story itself is somewhat interesting, as the main character, Kane, is not a conventional protagonist. I did not find myself rooting for him, and I don't think that was the intention of the movie. The ending reinforces this, as Kane never got what he wanted, which would leave most viewers angry, confused, and dejected if he were a normal, lovable main character. The director for the movie Dodgeball (not exactly an epic classic such as Citizen Kane) shot the original ending for the movie with the "good guys" losing the final match. The early screening for the movie caused such a bad reaction among viewers, that the director was forced to bring in the actors again and re-shoot, with a victorious outcome. This is a great example of what makes Citizen Kane special, as Welles was able to pull off this sad ending while keeping the viewer from becoming outraged.