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Reflections on Citizen Kane

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Reflections on Citizen Kane, the documentary that follows the film, adds insult to injury. While packing in a wealth of production detail (most of which can be found in Lebo’s book), the producers have rounded up a weird assortment of ”experts” to testify to the film’s greatness. Wise and Warrick belong here, but what qualifies producer Roger Corman, director Ridley Scott, and special-effects maven Richard Edlund, all of whom are articulate but hardly insightful?

Worse, the narration tosses off Welles’ post-Kane career by saying only that he ”directed well-respected films like The Magnificent Ambersons and Journey Into Fear.” First, Welles didn’t direct Journey Into Fear — Norman Foster did. Second, what about The Lady From Shanghai, Touch of Evil, or Welles’ Shakespeare films? Could it be that only Ambersons and Journey are mentioned here because Turner Home Entertainment owns rights to them — but not to those other films?

Reflections sums up Kane’s impact on the cinema by saying, ”Charles Foster Kane would have been proud.” That unintentionally describes this whole ”restored” fiasco as well. Perhaps Kane, the public man who lost his private soul, would be proud of Turner’s botched birthday present. Orson Welles, on the other hand, must be spinning in his grave. C

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