Citizen Kane: Film Analysis

Essay by sophie999University, Bachelor's February 2004

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The film Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, opens with a picture of a castle with a window

that has a light turned on. As the backgrounds begin to change into a closer view of the castle,

then a view of the castle from the reflection of the water surrounding it, we are drawn into the

window as a man falls dead with the last words "Rosebud" coming from his mouth. We are then

brought through a maze of scenes that reflect one man's journey through life from his childhood

with an abusive father; to the time he inherits the world's sixth largest fortune.

Charles Foster Kane is portrayed in the movie as a man who has everything one could

ever want. Whatever he doesn't posess, he tries to buy. Power and wealth to Kane is the definition of success, and although he claims or at least tries to be happy, he truly is not a happy

person. As Kane begins to learn that the things he wants most in life he cannot purchase, so to

do the people with whom he surrounds himself with. When Kane ran for governor, he tries to

use his wealth to overpower his opponent, Gettys. This backfires on Kane when Getty's

threatens to use information about an affair Kane had to thwart him from the race. Kane once

described his wife as a "cross section of the American public". These sorts of references provide

us with an image of a man that is willing to do anything to portray himself as loving or able to be


Kane was truly never able to love someone. He was given everything he ever wanted,

and when he couldn't buy something, he tried to create it. When Susan Alexander, Kane's

second wife, wanted to be a singer,