Behind the Scenes of Citizen Kane Part 1

About the film Citizen Kane, a plot summary of one of the greatest movies ever made including a spoiler of the ending.

INSIDE STORIES OF THE 10 GREATEST FILMS

CITIZEN KANE (1941)

The Story: The powerful newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) dies at 76, leaving behind his gigantic and grotesque mansion, Xanadu, and a dying word--Rosebud.

Looking for a peg for their stories, a group of newsmen decide to try to unravel the mystery of the great man's final word. Thompson (William Alland), one of the reporters, begins to find and interview the people important in Kane's life.

After reading of Kane's traumatic childhood, Thompson tracks down two of the tycoon's early associates, Bernstein (Everett Sloane) and Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten). In flashbacks, both men furnish revealing details of Kane's personality and private life, but neither knows the meaning of the word Rosebud.

Thompson also finds Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), Kane's mistress who later became his second wife. Now an alcoholic singer in a seedy nightclub, Susan furnishes a picture of Kane's grandiose attempt to turn her into an opera star and of her hermetic life with the elderly Kane at Xanadu. This information sheds more light on Kane's character, but it still doesn't provide the inquiring Thompson with the meaning of Rosebud. Neither does his interview with Raymond (Paul Stewart), the butler during Kane's last, lonely years.

Failing to unravel the mystery. Thompson and the other reporters gather at Xanadu as Kane's bizarre hoard of possessions is packed away by indifferent workmen.

Casually thrown into a blazing furnace, and unobserved by any of the reporters, is a child's sled with its name printed on it--ROSEBUD. A symbol of the great man's lost innocence.

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