Citizen Kane

Randolph-William-Hearst

If Charles Foster Kane dies alone at the beginning of the film, how can the reporter possibly know that Kane’s dying word is “Rosebud”?

How do we know that what we see depicted as Kane’s death happened that way, and that “Rosebud” was his last word as he dropped the glass snow storm?

Perhaps the nurse could have reported that as his dying word just to get paid for the story, so the whole journalistic narrative could be predicated on a lie. The film-maker may be an unreliable narrator for the purposes of the film. Such uncertainties are one of the elements which go to make this film the thing of wonder that it is.

Would Citizen Kane have been improved by Orson Welles sticking in a scene where a nurse tells the reporter, “Well, I was standing outside the door, and all I heard was Mr Kane whisper …”?

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One Response to “Citizen Kane

  1. My vote is, I don’t think it would have been improved. There are just some assumptions best left assumed. Citizen Kane is one of those few experiences in life that exceeded all expectation.

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