Citizen Kane (1941)

An escalated commitment to exceptionalism

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For years I intended to write a scholarly paper on Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941).  It never came.  Then I intended to write a review just because I hadn’t written the paper.  That didn’t come either.  Last time but one that I looked, I wanted to write a review as an adjunct to my equally unfinished treatment of film noir, and again I didn’t follow through.  The reason in each case was that I could not understand why it was that I don’t regard this film nearly as highly as so many academics, film connoisseurs, journalists, and sundry critics.  Worse, I thought it was because there was something about it that had eluded me, and that there could be nothing I might say that hadn’t been said a hundred time already.

Last weekend, however, I read the following lines in a newspaper:

… its reputation has soared to the point where it is regarded as a classic, a near-automatic inclusion on any list of “the 10 best films ever made”.

A number of books have been written about the film and its demanding director.

No, it’s not about Citizen Kane.  It’s director Bruce Beresford commenting on John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), a film of which he declares himself ‘not a huge fan … despite efforts through the years to convince myself it is a great film.’

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