The Top 5 Reasons Citizen Kane is Crap

Yesterday’s post had such a great reaction, I just had to follow it up with this one.

Imagine how much better this shot would be if that background was one big, buttery bokeh blur! (Click to enlarge)

Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane is widely held as the greatest movie ever made. I hate to be the bearer of bad news again, but who ever thinks that is just plain stupid. Here are the top 5 reasons Citizen Kane is a crappy movie (and I use that term loosely).

  1. Depth of Field. You could sink the Titanic in how deep Wells’ Depth of Field (DoF) is. You would think an auteur like Welles, who’s supposed to know about filmmaking, would know about the importance of a really shallow DoF. Did the word “bokeh” not exist in 1941?
  2. Static shots. OMG. There are so many boring static shots in this movie. I know they didn’t have Cinesliders, pocket dollies, or DP Sliders back then, but I’m sure they had SOMETHING. So many times he just lets the camera sit there as people move through the shot, as opposed to cool dolly shots. Just lame.
  3. Clichéd opening. He starts the beginning of the movie with the end. How many times has THAT been done!
  4. Black & white. This movie would be so much better in vibrant, dark rich colors. Welles was supposed to have been a genius, figuring out how to do all these cools things on set that had never been done before. Yet, he couldn’t figure out how to shoot in color? Come on.
  5. Terrible ending. Last and certainly not least is that horrible ending. They don’t explain ANYTHING. I won’t spoil it, but you basically have to figure it out. A voice over connecting the beginning of the movie to the end was badly needed.

Filmmaking has come such a long way since the days of RKO Pictures. We filmmakers today have sliders, steadicams, C-Log, S-Log, 10-bit, SxS, dual link HD SDI, and much, much more to make real movies that people actually can understand.

Who’s with me?

Note: BEFORE you leave a comment, read this.


20 thoughts on “The Top 5 Reasons Citizen Kane is Crap

  1. So you don’t appreciate B&W . Use your imagination. For so many years, a lot of people have raved about this movie, Who TF are YOU and what have YOU accomplished? yeah, thought so

  2. Yes. It is all about how much the gear makes the shot. Not about the story or anything. How could Orson Welles be so naive?
    Oh, wait, he was only 25 when he directed it.
    So, yea, he was naive.


  3. It seems some have misplaced their sense of humor in the comments….the tone of this article is far from “sarcastic.” This is not a bait and switch, this is serious film criticism and I welcome your refreshing point of view Mr. Dawson. Now where’s my Pocket Dolly?

  4. I see where are you going with this post Ron,technology has an impact on everything,But I think it will never replace the creativity.

  5. It wasn’t even shot in 16:9, much less CinemaScope. And can you take a film seriously that starred to mother in law from “Bewitched?”

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