If you were to talk about the best video game ever made, you might describe it as ‘The Citizen Kane of video games’. You might describe New York City as ‘The Citizen Kane of cities’. Personally I mentioned in my review of The Room that it’s known as ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies’ Citizen Kane has come to be used as a bench mark for all that is great. The best of the best. The top ‘thing’ in any particular field. This of course arose due to the 1941 films’ long held standing of being the greatest motion picture ever made. For fifty years it topped Sight and Sound’s poll of the ten best movies of all time, it is listed as the AFI’s top movie and is currently battling for top spot with one other on my Ultimate Greatest Films of All Time list which is under construction at time of writing.
To my great shame I’d never seen the movie until today. I’m twenty-seven, have been interested in film for nearly a decade and have been writing about the medium for over a year yet I’d never seen the ‘greatest of them all’. If I’m honest I can’t put my finger on why. The movie wasn’t difficult to track down; I have no issue with the black and white, the time period or the subject matter. I think I’ve narrowed down my reasons to two things. The first is the title. Citizen Kane doesn’t do anything for me and as titles go I don’t think it’s particularly strong but I think the main reason was that I was afraid of disappointment. So many times since I began to write my thoughts on film I have been let down and then let down my readers when I didn’t get or didn’t like classic, highly rated films. I think The Lion King is poor, I gave North by Northwest 6/10 and much of 8 ½ was lost on me. It was with great trepidation then that I recently took the plunge and bought Citizen Kane on Blu-ray. And was I disappointed? The short answer to that question is, no. A slightly longer answer is No, I wasn’t and for a longer answer still, you can read the next 1,110 words.