Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane is oft described as the greatest movie ever made. I can only assume that the people making that claim have never seen Star Wars but I will concede, that even without a lightsaber in sight for the near 2-hour running time, Citizen Kane is a remarkable achievement.
I’m hardly an expert on the movies of the era, but it’s easy to believe the Citizen Kane must have been ground-breaking on several fronts. It’s still pretty unconventional by modern standards. As impressive as his work behind the cameras undoubtedly is, Welles is also magnetic on screen and is convincing as the eponymous Kane at every stage of his life (except as a child because clearly that was a different actor).
Obviously I’d still rather sit through Star Wars but, as well as being a technical tour de force, Citizen Kane remains surprisingly entertaining for a movie that is so acclaimed.
Score for Christmasishness
Not at all a Christmas movie, but it is quite possible that the scenes featuring Kane’s childhood are set at Christmas because it’s snowing and then it is actually Christmas in the following scene, although conceivably that scene could have been set at a different time, so the snow scenes may have nothing to do with Christmas. Two Christmases are juxtaposed to highlight Kane’s development from childhood to young adulthood and the beginnings of his media empire. And there is a party scene later on which probably isn’t set at Christmas but possibly might be. Really though, the Christmasishness of the movie hinges on whether those childhood scenes of him sledging are set at Christmas. I’m not really convinced that they are so the film isn’t really very Christmas(ish) at all. But Christmas is referenced at least twice, and there is definitely a Christmas tree on screen at one point, albeit briefly, so it’s not the movie with the most tenuous link to Christmas that I’ve ever included in my annual countdown.