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The movie opens with an unforgettable image of a distant foggy castle on a hill Its a classic gothic shot and goes a long way towards establishing the movies mood We quickly learn that this place called Xanadu is the dwelling of Americas Kubla Khan Charles Foster Kane a one-time newspaper owner who could have become President if not for an affair Xanadu in the words of the newsreel that gives a brief history of Kanes life is the costliest monument of a man to himself Within moments of the films opening Kane is dead uttering the word Rosebud as he hunches over His death like his life is a big news event and the paper he owned the New York Inquirer is desperate to discover the meaning of his last word Is it a woman he bedded A horse he bet on A beloved pet Some long-lost love This Rosebud obviously is the macguffin for the picture Citizen Kane After showing Kanes death Citizen Kane presents a ten-minute newsreel that details the mans larger-than-life accomplishments Then a reporter from the Inquirer digs into Kanes past to learn the meaning of Rosebud the famous mans history is unraveled through a series of extended flashbacks that represent the sometimes-overlapping non- chronological accounts of five eyewitnesses As the story unfolds we see Kane aided by his closest friend Jedediah Leland Joseph Cotton build a nationwide newspaper empire out of one small paper with a circulation of less than 30000 To do so he displays equal parts ruthlessness and generosity willing to lose 1000000 dollars a year to win the circulation wars His New York Inquirer specializes in bold splashy headlines that dont necessarily represent the truth By the time he marries Emily Norton the Presidents niece Kane is one of the most powerful men in America with dreams of becoming President himself Eventually Kane moves into the political arena but his bid for the governors office
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