The story of Citizen Kane drew many people to the theatres since they wanted to find out who this Kane fellow is or was. It is unarguably one of the best films ever produced. Orson Wells portrays Kane as mysterious person but also a sad person. The different accounts are shown throughout the movie through the reporter wanting to find out who or what Rosebud is. Rosebud was Kane’s last dying words.

The first person the reporter Jerry Thompson sees is the owner of Walter Parks Thatcher’s estate and holdings. Thatcher is long dead and who? visits his library and is allowed to inspect the financier’s memoirs in manuscript. Through Thatcher’s words we see Kane as a boy playing with his sled on a snow-swept Colorado farm. Through his mother, the boy has just inherited a great fortune. Unable to settle his bill, a prospector who boarded with the Kane’s left behind stock certificates that make Mrs. Kane the sole owner of one of the world’s great silver mines. She then makes her son the ward of the bank that administers her estate, and Thatcher, whom the angry young Kane bashes with a sled, takes the boy East to be raised. The movie then shows Kane growing up, making life miserable for Thatcher. The mature Kane decides to take direct control of a small, struggling newspaper, and immediately begins using it to attack Thatcher and others among America’s financial elite. This displays the mystery with Kane as he wants to expand on something small into something big, but we don’t know what.

The next account was given by Bernstein, Kane’s devoted assistant.  He explains the beginnings as a newspaper czar and his takeover of the New York Enquirer, in which he fired its editor, hired an expensive, top-notch staff, and enlisted his college friend Jedediah Leland as the drama critic. Kane is at first a crusader for the understanding, opening his first editorial with a “declaration of principles.” He becomes a champion of the little person, hyping his circulation with juicy scandals, crime exposes, etc. In a surprise move Kane marries Emily Norton, the president’s niece. For the first time here we see Kane starting a love story. However this wasn’t to last and it paved the way for the second-love.

The reporter then visits a half-drunk Susan Alexander in a nightclub. She recalls her meeting and eventual affair with the married Kane and their discovery by Leland, who is led to their love nest by Kane’s political rival, “Big Jim” Gettys. Until that point, Kane is heavily favored to defeat Gettys in an upcoming senatorial election, but Gettys warns that unless the publisher withdraws from the race, he’ll take the story to the media. Furious, Kane refuses, and the following day his political aspirations are dashed by newspaper accounts. He does not have to deal with an ugly divorce, however, since his wife and son are killed in an auto accident.  It seems that the love story began to intensify at this point since his first wife was now dead and he begins a new love with Alexander. However, Kane had to realize that her singing talents were not the best and despite building Xanadu their lives would become miserable and hapless.

At the conclusion, we find out what Rosebud was and how Kane’s last requests were not fulfilled. He was betrayed by all and no one cared for the last wish. By the end, we can see Kane as a depressed, unsatisfied man brought up with power and greed but no love. Overall Citizen Kane was a mysterious man with ambitions to become famous, a lover to things and people, and a sad man without satisfaction in life.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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