Citizen Kane is the movie I’ve probably watched more than any other except Star Wars, and that’s only because when I was young we had cable television and it was on two or three times a week. But Citizen Kane is the movie that, as an adult, repays constant viewing. I always see some subtly-placed detail I’d never noticed before, from that murky opening scene with the spooky camera work around Xanadu to the balcony shot with Hitler.
That’s some proto-Zelig kind of stuff, too, because it really looks like Hitler. I don’t know much about the technical end of movie-making, or how things were done back in 1942, but almost seventy years on it’s still pretty convincing. And did I mention it was 1942? With all the knowledge we have of who Hitler was, what his actual aims were and how indescribably awful the Nazis turned out to be – stuff nobody knew back then except those caught up in its whirlwind, and for whom there was little hope at that point – the still is quite ominous. I’m not going to get schmaltzy and say the film sounds a “prophetic” note, but it sends a chill up my spine every time I watch it.