Monday, October 03, 2011
2011 marks the 70th Anniversary of
the premiere of "Citizen Kane".
And there isn't much I can add to the reams of cyber copy that cluster around this film other than to note that it's main legacy to me, is the enduring power of fiction.
It is not that Orson Welles recounted a thinly veiled life of William Randoph Hearst, it is more to the point that his many fictional additions and revisions somehow told the truth on all of it so admirably.
When Welles' Charles Foster Kane, bloated with power and yet a pathetic failure in love and politics throws a wretched tantrum after his second wife absconds, we feel it to be something someone so great and yet so petty would do under the circumstances.
"Citizen Kane" is full of those moments, so much more vital and true than any smutty palaver about the true original of "Rosebud".
The proof of Welles' particular vision in the rarity of any imitators, when Hollywood wants to do Douglas MacArthur, they don't do a character, based on the four star general, they do the Man as a straight biopic. The same with George S. Patton, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and so on down the line.
In each case something is missed I think, fiction can magnify as well as distort.
The prism of sheer invention is very powerful, stop and think Marion Davies is a nice lady who stuck by her man straight into the footnotes of Hollywood, Susan Alexander (AKA Dorothy Comingore) is a character for the Ages.
Alas I guess Hollywood fears loss of a easy marquee' name and can't find anyone with Orson Welles' visionary skillset.
Although, I would pay good money to see Terry Gilliam take a look at an Andy Warhol type character...just for starters.