healyg: (apology)
[personal profile] healyg
Sorry I've been off the wagon for a couple weeks, y'all! I haven't been able to visit my public library since early January at the latest, so it's really cut into my ability to get new books. But I do work at a university library, and yesterday I checked out this neat book of essays on film called Perspectives on Citizen Kane (edited by Ronald Gottesman). As you know, Citizen Kane is often considered to be the Undertale of film, and I find it a fascinating movie, despite not having read much of the criticism about it before. This book is a good primer on that, I think; it's got essays by Bazin and Truffaut, among others, and there's a very good interview with Welles by Peter Bogdanovich near the back.

Best of all, I think, is the book's collection of reviews, written within the first decade of Citizen Kane's 1941 release. It's interesting to see how the critics responded to it; everyone could agree that it was a stunning film in terms of technique, but there were those who declared it a masterpiece outright, those who thought the film enjoyable but found the themes lacking, and those who believed the rest of the movie was a complete mess. Most baffling of all is Jean-Paul Sartre's review, who apparently thought of Citizen Kane as a work of art incomprehensible to the American public, and Orson Welles an artist cut off from the masses, a view that I find incomprehensible. (The man played The Shadow, for Christ's sake!) A fascinating review, and a really good book. Check it out if you can.


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