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Citizen Kane it gives us the kind of central character we are immediately interested in given Welles opening newsreel montage Kane is interesting simply because he has to be No one who led such a life could possibly have been boring he was a powerful man who lost everything and that fascinates us for the same reason it fascinates the reporters in the film -- we dont understand how it could have happened how Kane could have fallen so far He seems to befuddle everyone who knew him exactly in the mold of most Shakespearean heroes There was Hamlet Lear Macbeth and now there is Charles Foster Kane He is a Great Man probably the closest 20th-century America could come to royalty and thats also part of what makes him fascinating a small man who falls from grace is of no consequence which is why Shakespeare never wrote about Hamlet the plumber of Denmark or Othello the hot-dog vendor of Venice Kane was a king of his time a man who seemingly had everything and felt unfulfilled just the same Citizen Kane explores that conundrum It puts us in the shoes of a deliberately faceless reporter Jerry Thompson William Alland in a thankless-yet-critical role attempting to discover what it was that made Kane tick His official task is to find the meaning to Kanes final word Rosebud The word is in many ways a Macguffin -- until the end of the film its only purpose is to move Thompson forward in questioning Kanes friends and associates The people he talks to are exactly the kind of people we find as supporting characters in Shakespeares plays Kane has his Claudius Thatcher George Coulouris the man who ripped him away from his parents and tried to raise him on money alone his Horatio the harried Bernstein Everett Sloane who remains loyal to the end but knows he cannot do justice to his friends legacy his Banquo
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