Originally I was accepting of the nickname of the sled, but finding out what ‘Rosebud’ actually was code for in the world of William Randolph Hearst… Welles was probably lucky he wasn’t killed, literally.
Listed as No. 1 on the AFI top 100 films of all time I think it falls just a tad short. I’d have been more than happy to see it in the No. 2 or even 3 hole behind “Casablanca” and “The Godfather” respectively.
The film still is an awesome piece of American filmmaking and in my opinion represents one of the first great ‘indie’ films as everyone aside from R.K.O. turned away the young upstart and his blasphemous script (with credit to his writing partner Herman J. Mankiewicz). The film is thorough in bringing along for the journey, even if it does hit a hump at the midpoint it follows quickly enough to keep us interested. Obviously it has survived the ultimate test, which is time, to prove itself since it was basically left for dead upon original release. It also didn’t help that ‘Kane’ is one of those films you really do need to take in more than once to fully appreciate the film-scape. (In tribute, see the episode of ‘Family Guy’ who refers to the film as “Two long boob-less hours!”)
Given that Orson Welles was a filmmaker well ahead of his time, it leaves one to wonder what his legacy may have been if ‘Kane’ had been more widely accepted by the film industry and the populace. Unfortunately we are left to realize his greatness too close to his death and well after it. How things may have been different in Hollywood as a whole if he had been anointed the master director and ringleader of the Mercury Theater he was instead of relegated to studio actor under the ‘Dream Factory’ thumb.
Luckily, we’ll always have his ‘one hit wonder’ (to those who simply ignore his body of work) to remind us of ‘wasted potential’ (due in NO part to Welles’ own effort) in epic film.
Enjoy the movie, pay attention and no bathroom breaks.
Oh, and pay homage to Rosebud.