“Citizen Kane” has topped more “all-time best” lists than any other movie and this 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition is a treat for passionate fans and those who still have the thrill of seeing it for the first time ahead of them.
Orson Welles was only 26 but already an accomplished writer/director with a distinguished body of work on stage and radio. He and writer Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote the script, inspired by the life of publishing titan William Randolph Hearst. Welles directed and starred in the title role of a wealthy young man who turns from idealistic newspaper owner to political candidate to bitter recluse. It is worthy of every accolade it has received and more.
This magnificent film influenced and inspired everything that came after. And the sumptuous extras that come with this anniversary edition are treasures, especially the scene-by-scene commentary by Roger Ebert, almost as entertaining and illuminating as the film itself, with insights and details of technology and artistic innovation that are mind-boggling. There’s a separate commentary by director/historian Peter Bogdanovich and interviews with editor Robert Wise (who later became a director) and co-star Ruth Warrick (who played Kane’s first wife and later went on to star in “All My Children”).