In 1941, the United States had just entered World War Two. The realism of the war was very harsh. Many everyday items, such as butter, sugar, and gasoline, were hard to come by and were rationed. One man sought to escape the war through the cinema, Orson Welles. Welles would direct a movie that would come to be known as the greatest film in history and according to the International Movie database, the standard by which all films are judged. The film is Citizen Kane.
Citizen Kane is one of the most intriguing films. It opens with the death of Kane (Orson Welles). The viewer hears him utter his last word. This is simply "Rosebud." The viewer will then find out that Kane had been adopted, thanks to his ambitious mother Mary Kane (Agnus Morehead), against his will one winter afternoon years ago, while playing on his sled in the snow. The viewer then will see a news reel and find out Kane's back story. He had been a newspaper publishing tycoon and owned important newspapers in many cities The reporters that had covered the death of Kane are buzzing about wondering what in the world "Rosebud." could mean. As the great mystery of Citizen Kane begins to unravel, the story is told through personal interviews with those who had known omit Kane the best, including his second wife Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore). The reporter also conducts interviews with Kane's former newspaper staff members. One such interview was with Kane's oldest friend, Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotton). The interviews keep leading back to Kane's deceased first wife, Emily Holmes Norton Kane (Ruth Warrick), and the second Mrs. Kane. None of the people researched or interviewed have any idea what Kane's complex yet simple last word, "Rosebud" means. Both the first and Current Mrs. Kane really have no idea as to what Kane's complex yet simple last word may have meant. The secret of this great film my never be revealed. However, although the word "Rosebud" remains a mystery to those in the movie, the audience finds out when Kane's old sled is thrown on the fire, and its name, "Rosebud," blazes out in the flames.
Citizen Kane is one of the greatest films because of its timing. America had just entered the war, and society as a whole was nervous. The cinema was the way to escape realism of the war. A film such as Citizen Kane allowed the escape and the chance for the viewer to play private eye.