Monday, June 7, 2010

Raising Kane – But Not Above Casablanca!

For those who’ve been wondering what I finally thought of CITIZEN KANE, after seeing it for the FIRST TIME – despite breathing Earth’s atmosphere since 1955 (See THIS POST for details), the suspense is over.

I loved it! I can easily see why it’s been called “The Greatest Film of All Time”. Orson Welles and his troupe of Mercury Players (including Ray Collins – best known as PERRY MASON’s acerbic adversary “Lt. Tragg” and sixties animation’s “Dick Tracy voice” Everett Sloane) are amazing, especially given that they were not all established “movie stars” at the time!

Speaking strictly for myself, the film benefits from my ability to view it uninterrupted, and in as near pristine a condition as it could possibly be, courtesy of DVD and HD TV. But, then again, doesn’t EVERYTHING benefit from that?!

It also benefits from the fact that the ENDING is well enough known to have become a part of our popular culture and collective consciousness. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to note that the ending was “telegraphed” at least THREE TIMES during the course of the film that I was able to notice. Without an abundance of detailed elaboration these moments were:

1: Young Kane, playing outside in the Colorado winter.

2: A comment from Kane to Susan, as to where Kane was going when they met.

3: The abrupt stoppage of Kane’s rampage, after Susan left him.
Perhaps other occurances as well....

I’ll say no more, just in case others have managed to reach 2010 without seeing the film as well. (I CAN’T be the ONLY ONE, can I?) We try to be as Spoiler-Free as possible at TIAH Blog. And, yes, I feel, in this case, knowing the ending IS a plus in that I can appreciate “getting there” all the more, rather than spending time and energy in trying to interpret it, as if it were the finale of LOST.

That said, and this, too, is strictly my own opinion, I cannot rank this film higher than “Casablanca”! My own choice for “The Greatest Film of All Time”.

Casablanca” (again, without too much elaboration for those who have managed to… well, you know!), is Bogart, Bergman, Rains, Lorre, and Greenstreet at their best. The mere fact that I need only cite “last names” speaks volumes for the strength of this cast. After all, I may be a big fan of Ray Collins, but I can’t quite refer to him in similar fashion.

Also, on a purely personal level, “Casablanca” does the impossible! It makes me actually wish (if ever so fleetingly) I’d lived in a frightening and dangerous period of modern history that I’m DAMN GLAD I happened to miss! Not too many things can do THAT!

So, “Casablanca’s” still the king, but “Kane” is hereby granted the rank of First (pardon) “Citizen”!

No comments: