Citizen Kane [Orson Welles (1915-1985)] - 1941

I saw this "classic" movie all-the-way-through for the first time on a big screen with a good sound system last week.  The black-and-white photography and the set designs were excellent.  The clever story-telling techniques - newsreel, documentary flashback, and "Rosebud" non sequitur - were credits to the genius of first-time director, Orson Welles. However, I would not place this movie in the same class as movies such as Casablanca or Gone with the Wind.  The acting was average at best and the screenplay is simply the biography of William Randolph Hearst with the names changed.  I found that I did not really care about the characters and I thought that some of the story transitions were unbelievable. 

Certainly, this was an impressive directorial debut for Welles, whose career never did live up to his potential.  Although he was not afraid to tweak the sensibilities of powerful people like Hearst, his gigantic ego would not allow him to compromise his artistic standards for movie business realities.  In the end, Welles was relegated to character parts and voice-overs to feed his gourmet habits. [JAM 5/9/2009]