An escalated commitment to exceptionalism
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.’