The late '60s and the '70s were a time of great change in cinema. Directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Brian De Palma were diving headfirst into the "New Hollywood" era of filmmaking. Movies like The Godfather, Bonnie And Clyde, and Taxi Driver were huge hits, and in this transition, lighter stuff like Willy Wonka fell by the wayside. Thankfully, it thrives as a classic today, and was rendered immortal by being the background image of that sarcastic meme that your teenage cousin used to love to share.
Citizen Kane Was Blacklisted By The Actual Kane
Citizen Kane stands like an unshakable monument in film history. If you criticize a dumb blockbuster, the immediate, angry reaction is "What did you expect? Citizen Kane?" When you're making a list of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane will appear on your draft while your back is turned. Citizen Kane is there and will always be there as a handhold on the perilous cliffs of cinema, and as a crying shoulder. "There, there," Citizen Kane says, rubbing your back. "When you feel better, maybe we can watch Citizen Kane."
But Citizen Kane wasn't always this critically impervious testament to Orson Welles' ceaseless creativity and seemingly endless barrel chest. It cost a little more than $800,000 to make and ended up garnering $1.6 million for its troubles. Still, when adding in the cost of publicity and marketing, it lost money overall. But this failure wasn't because a legion of people hated the movie. It was because just one very powerful person hated the movie so, so much.
William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate and major dick, was pretty blatantly the inspiration for Charles Foster Kane, the title character, who ruins the lives of everyone around him in the pursuit of wealth and power. Hearst refused to let any of his papers review or mention the film in any way, and had his journalists insult it, which is a very unsubtle way of telling the world "Yeah, this movie gets it totally right."
Like many films around this time period, it took re-releases and being shown on television to truly embed Citizen Kane into the soul of popular cinema. And now it's considered to be the be-all, end-all film on any ranking that doesn't include Freddy vs. Jason, which is a really good film that you all need to check out. I hear that it's kind of like Star Wars.
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