I’ve seen this movie so many times. It is the movie that defines all other movies after it was made. However, my favorite Orson Welles movie is Touch of Evil. Part of me thinks this movie is just a metaphor that money can’t buy happiness. Example is when Kane so eloquently states, “I always gagged on that silver spoon. ” Happiness is a nebulous state that is fed by transient simple pleasures, as well as the more sustained rewards of activities that only make sense from a perspective of years or decades.
You might question who is after your money and who is truly a friend, associated with this are feelings of control and fear of abandonment. A wealthy life comes at a price; the dehumanizing effects are mirrored when Kane’s last words are Rosebud. Yet, what elucidates this story beyond its classic statement is the way in which we see it. The development of Charles Foster Kane’s wealth is quick after his mother sends him away. She is dressed in black and portrayed in a cold way through her lifeless expressions.
Kane’s mother’s expressions and appearance during the time she was money hungry for her child represent the misery that may come with the sole desire to be rich. The snowy weather outside could be described as the point that Kane leaves behind his childhood bliss and starts anew in the business world. The second time we see snow on the screen is the 1st time Kane meets Susan. He falls headstrong for her, coming from a failed marriage, relating to her in loneliness they both feel and seeing perhaps that he can master her.
Charles begins to project his own wants and desires on Susan, including her singing career. When Susan decides to use her voice to speak up about her failed career, Kane listens for a bit and then looms over her, blocking out the light on her face. Indicating that this media tycoon will control the newspaper headlines in the same manner he control’s his wife. Susan finally has enough towards the end of the film and says, “Love! You don’t love anybody! Me or anybody else! You want to be loved – that’s all you want! I’m Charles Foster Kane. Whatever you want – just name it and it’s yours!
But you’ve gotta love me! ” Despite the change of scenery for Susan, the gifts, the career boost-she wanted something you can’t put a price on. Mr. Kane needs to chew on the sentiment, “The greatest gift is to be loved and love in return. ” Wells employs wide depth of field which allows people and objects to be in sharp focus both in the foreground and the background simultaneously. One of my favorite examples of this is in the beginning of the film, the broken snow globe lies on the floor. Reflected in the glass is a nurse in the background; she is also in sharp focus.
Additionally, there’s a glimpse of Kane’s arm lying horizontally on the bed. The image looks so gothic to me. The nurse is illuminated, illustrating that death has finally come for him, while everything else remains in the shadows. It’s also the only time we see Kane not standing upright, commanding, and proud. Sound does play a very important role in the film as well. The lines “It can’t be love / For there is no true love” are from the 1939 song, “In A Mizz” by Haven Johnson & Charlie Barnett. In the film, snatches of the lyrics are sung by Alton Redd, as the Cee Pee Johnson Band plays in the ‘picnic in the Everglades’ scene.
The white stripes covered this song beautifully with their own twist. Their version is titled ‘The Union Forever’ and the lyrics of the song are fitting of the film: “Sure I’m C. F. K. But you gotta love me The cost no man can say But you gotta love me Well I’m sorry but I’m not Interested in gold mines, oil wells, shipping or real estate What would I liked to have been? Everything you hate. ” The last line is a direct quote Charles says to Thatcher. Thatcher is disappointed in Charles throughout the movie which is displayed through various flashbacks. Overall, I really enjoy this film.