Citizen Kane (Dir. Orson Welles, RKO, 1941)

Final Scene

Time: (108:03-111:09)

Setting: Charles Foster Kane’s castle home where people are deciding what to do with his belongings and the meaning of Rosebud is discovered.

Shot #1: (LS, High Angle, Above.) A man is conversing with a group of people on his findings on the meaning of the word “Rosebud” (Charles Foster Kane’s final word) and what he believes it is.  As he speaks to the group the camera begins to pull back away from the group of people showing the massive amount of personal property Charles had.  during this time the man says that “Mr. Kane is a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it”. he follows by saying that “…maybe Rosebud is something that he couldn’t have or that he lost”.  He then assumes that Rosebud is just another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that was Mr. Kane’s life.  the camera pulls back even higher putting into better view the background and making the group seem smaller and smaller. The background is the massive amounts of items Mr. Kane owned giving the idea that these are also pieces in the jigsaw puzzle each having their own meaning. Fade out.

Shot #2: (ELS, High Angle, Above) Fade in, There is a giant room filled with what looks like thousands of boxes, statues and other objects. The camera moves forward passing above the items and begins to move in closer the reason for which is obviously to reveal some hidden item in the midst of the items. Deep tense diegetic music plays as the camera slows down and at the center of the shot there is a sled. The camera begins to zoom in and a figure can be seen on the sled but before it is recognizable a person comes into the shot and pulls the sled out of the shot.

Shot #3: (LS, Eye-level, Straight on) There is a open furnace with someone ordering people to throw the “junk” into it. As the sled is being thrown into the furnace the camera zooms into the furnace door revealing what it says on the sled, the music intensifies. Fade out.

Shot #4:  (CU, Eye-level, Straight on) Fade into sled, the music is still intenswe, it is revealed that rosebud is the name of the sled that Charles Kane used to play with at his home when he was a little boy before his parents gave up custody of him to someone else.  Rosebud symbolizes a simple time of happiness in his childhood that was lost to him. HIs life was different after he was given to someone else and the sled is a remionder of the time before he was taken and probably one of his most innocent happy moments. The sled then begins burning and the camera zooms in.  As the camera zooms in closer the markings and name Rosebud burns away, then screen fades to black.

Shot #5: (LS, Low Angle) Fade in. Charles Foster Kane’s castle-home from the outside.  It is dark and cloudy out and black smoke can be seen coming out of the chimney. The tense music is still being played the camera tilts upto where the smoke is rising, the diegetic music peaks.  The smoke symbolizes what is left of Kane his items that hold his memories and ambitions, the things he collected all his life all figuratively and literaly go up in smoke. Fade out

Shot #6 (Close up,Straight on, Camera lowers from higher up) Fade in, the musics drops down to very soft.  A fence and is shown and the camera tilts lower and lower we see a sign which reads “No Trespassing”. This sign is at the beginning of the film as well,  and it is not only boundaries of his estate, but also symbolizes his atitude to his friends and everyone else in the world. Kane died alone because he kicked anyone who he felt crossed him out of his life never realizing it was his fault to begin with.Fade out.

The director also uses a Baroque style in this entire scene to portray the drama of the end of the intense life that this man lived and how even in death people wanted to know more about his life. the director used more fades than cuts in this scene and I believe that this gave a better flow to the shots.  The director also used low lighting throughout the film and in this seen to give it not a dark feeling but a sad one.

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