Citizen Kane: Charles Foster Kane – Who Was He?
The story of Citizen Kane drew many people to the theatres since they
wanted to find out who this Kane fellow is or was. It is unarguably one of the
best films ever produced. Orson Wells portrays Kane as mysterious person but
also a sad person. The different accounts are shown throughout the movie through
the reporter wanting to find out who or what Rosebud is. Rosebud was Kane’s
last dying words.
The first person the reporter Jerry Thompson sees is the owner of Walter
Parks Thatcher’s estate and holdings. Thatcher is long dead and who? visits his
library and is allowed to inspect the financier’s memoirs in manuscript. Through
Thatcher’s words we see Kane as a boy playing with his sled on a snow-swept
Colorado farm. Through his mother, the boy has just inherited a great fortune.
Unable to settle his bill, a prospector who boarded with the Kanes left behind
stock certificates that make Mrs. Kane the sole owner of one of the world’s
great silver mines. She then makes her son the ward of the bank that administers
her estate, and Thatcher, whom the angry young Kane bashes with a sled, takes
the boy East to be raised. The movie then shows Kane growing up, making life
miserable for Thatcher. The mature Kane decides to take direct control of a
small, struggling newspaper, and immediately begins using it to attack Thatcher
and others among America’s financial elite. This displays the mystery with Kane
as he wants to expand on something small into something big, but we don’t know
The next account was given by Bernstein, Kane’s devoted assistant. He
explains the beginnings as a newspaper czar and his takeover of the New York
Enquirer, in which he fired its editor, hired an expensive, top-notch staff, and
enlisted his college friend Jedediah Leland as the drama critic. Kane is at
first a crusader for the understanding, opening his first editorial with a
“declaration of principles.” He becomes a champion of the little person, hyping
his circulation with juicy scandals, crime exposes, etc. In a surprise move Kane
marries Emily Norton, the president’s niece. For the first time here we see
Kane starting a love story. However this wasn’t to last and it paved the way
for the second-love.
The reporter then visits a half-drunk Susan Alexander in a nightclub.
She recalls her meeting and eventual affair with the married Kane and their
discovery by Leland, who is led to their love nest by Kane’s political rival,
“Big Jim” Gettys. Until that point, Kane is heavily favored to defeat Gettys in
an upcoming senatorial election, but Gettys warns that unless the publisher
withdraws from the race, he’ll take the story to the media. Furious, Kane
refuses, and the following day his political aspirations are dashed by newspaper
accounts. He does not have to deal with an ugly divorce, however, since his wife
and son are killed in an auto accident. It seems that the love story began to
intensify at this point since his first wife was now dead and he begins a new
love with Alexander. However, Kane had to realize that her singing talents were
not the best and despite building Xanadu their lives would become miserable and
At the conclusion, we find out what Rosebud was and how Kane’s last
requests were not fulfilled. He was betrayed by all and no one cared for the
last wish. By the end, we can see Kane as a depressed, unsatisfied man brought
up with power and greed but no love. Overall Citizen Kane was a mysterious man
with ambitions to become famous, a lover to things and people, and a sad man
without satisfaction in life.