The best way to understand Citizen Kane is to stop worshiping it as a triumph of technique. Too many people have pretended that Orson Welles was the first to use deep-focus, long takes, films-within-films, sound montage, and even ceilings on sets. … Kane is a masterpiece not because of its tours de force, brilliant as they are, but because of the way those tours de force are controlled for larger artistic ends. The glitter of the film's style reflects a dark and serious theme; Kane's vision is as rich as its virtuosity.
The breadth of that vision remains as impressive today as thirty years ago. Citizen Kane straddles great opposites. It is at once a triumph of social...
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