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-   -   Citizen Kane: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Edition (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-blu-ray-disc-reviews/1358695-citizen-kane-70th-anniversary-ultimate-edition-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review.html)

Ralph Potts 09-06-2011 10:55 AM

attachment.php?attachmentid=221904&d=1315320605
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: RKO - 1941
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 119 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/Portuguese/Polski DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Ceske, Eaahnika, Magyar, Polski, Romana
Starring: Orson Welles, Ruth Warrick, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Everett Sloane
Directed by: Orson Welles
Music by: Bernard Herrmann
Written by: Orson Welles, Henry Mankiewicz
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 13, 2011







"Some called him a hero. Others called him a heel…A Hollywood Classic comes to Blu-ray"



Film Synopsis:

Orson Welles' masterwork (#1 in the American Film Institute's list of Best American Movies) dazzles anew in a superb 70th-anniversary digital transfer. It’s grand entertainment, sharply acted (starting many of Welles' Mercury Players on the road to thriving film careers) and directed with inspired visual flair. Chronicling the stormy life of an influential publishing tycoon, this Best Original Screenplay Academy Award winner (1941) is rooted in themes of power, corruption, vanity – the American Dream lost in the mystery of a dying man’s last word: “Rosebud.”



My Take:

Citizen Kane needs no introduction and stands as one of American Filmmaking finest achievements. Its story, meaning that of its making and beyond, is nearly as impressive (see the included and superb documentary The battle over Citizen Kane) and well worth investing time in. The film’s story examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, (Welles), a fictional character purportedly based upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst with certain aspects taken from Welles' own life. Kane's career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a dominating pursuit of power. His personal life is tattered by scandal, two failed marriages and a reclusively eccentric public profile. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is revealed through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate's dying word: "Rosebud."

Orson Welles co-wrote and directed this film after reaching what would be the pinnacle of his career at age 25. His use of innovative cinematography, non-linear narrative, pioneering use of sound/special effects, and then first time film score composer Bernard Herrmann’s eclectic music have elevated the film to the top of the “best of” lists of many, including The American Film Institute. I find the film to be visually enamoring and love its chronological narrative style. It has been a number of years since I have seen it but it never loses it luster. This classic film garnered nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director, and won for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

It celebrates its 70th Anniversary with this all new 1080p hi-definition restoration taken from a 4K scan of the 1941 composite fine grain positive masternitrate elements. This Ultimate Collector’s Edition is a fans delight and comes complete with more than three hours of bonus content and an array of rare and collectible premiums that include a 48-page collector’s book filled with photos and behind-the-scene details, 20-page reproduction of the original 1941 souvenir program, lobby cards and more. Also included are two bonus DVD’s containing feature-length stories-behind-the-story; the two- hour Academy Award-nominated documentary Battle over Citizen Kane and RKO 281 the Golden Globe and Emmy winning HBO docudrama that chronicles the clash between William Randolph Hearst and Hollywood. In addition there are audio commentaries, opening night newsreel footage, interviews, and production/post production details (storyboards, still photos, call sheets, press book and deleted scenes). The entire package comes housed in a sturdy, attractively embossed cardboard keepcase that is slightly larger than typical amaray style DVD storage. Citizen Kane has been meticulously restored and the results are magnificent. Those that have been waiting for this beloved piece of American Cinema to come to Blu-ray have been rewarded with this top notch offering from Warner Home Video.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 74



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692
attachment.php?attachmentid=221905&d=1315320605

Citizen Kane comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD1.0 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 825 kbps.

This 1.33:1 framed black and white video presentation is impressive. The restoration is a success that delivers marvelous video quality. Images onscreen have excellent depth with rendering that draws out plenty of delineation. Close ups and mid level pans reveal perceptible detail in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast as well as the texture on surfaces within the frame. This adds a noticeable sense of depth to the image making it appear more lifelike. Blacks have plenty of dynamic range and consistency which plays very well against the various stages of white and gray. The film uses lots of low level sequences that feature streaming light, shading and mixed content. While there is some natural loss of visibility in dark backgrounds the level of shadow detail is quite good.

The superb/signature cinematography by Gregg Toland uses a variety of lighting schemes, transitions and purposeful shadows that translate extremely well in this high definition presentation. Contrast is stable and supports the film’s elements naturally. Grain is presented in even layers that provide a satisfyingly filmic texture. A few backgrounds contained light digital noise but I suspect that most probably won’t even notice it. 70 years later this wonderful film looks terrific thanks to a well executed 4K restoration that gives fans the opportunity to experience it like never before. Kudos to Warner Bros.

The monaural soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio lossless and while it won’t knock your socks off I found it delivered the components of the original recording beautifully. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds coming through the central channel. Bernard Herrmann’s superb music score exhibits a broader dynamic quality and open expression that adds a bit more emphasis. Purists will appreciate the time and effort that went into maintaining the integrity of this great film’s original elements while restoring it. The result will allow those seeing it for the first time to experience it looking and sounding better than it ever has on home video.



Bonus Features:


  • Disc 1: (Blu-ray)


  • Audio commentary with Peter Bogdonavich

  • Audio commentary with Roger Ebert

  • Opening: World Premiere May 1, 1941 – 1 minute newsreel

  • Interviews: Ruth Warrick (1997 – 5 minutes), Robert Wise (3 minutes)

  • The Production (6 segments)

    1. Storyboards
    2. Call sheets
    3. Production stills with audio commentary by Roger Ebert
    4. Ad campaign material
    5. Press book
    6. Opening night stills

  • Post production – Deleted scenes (script/storyboard/stills

  • Disc 2: (DVD)


  • The Battle over Citizen Kane - A two-hour Oscar-nominated (1995) documentary that chronicles the titanic struggle between filmmaker Orson Welles and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who claimed Citizen Kane was a thinly veiled and slanderous account of his own life. The documentary reveals the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of how Hearst used his formidable power to try to stop production and distribution of the film, and how he ultimately sought to destroy Welles himself.

  • Disc 3: (DVD)


  • RKO 281 - The 1999 HBO film (titled for the production number given to Citizen Kane by RKO), won three Emmys (with 13 nominations), and the Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television (2000). Directed by Benjamin Ross and written by John Logan, this dramatic depiction of the making of Citizen Kane stars Live Schreiber as Welles, James Cromwell as William Randolph Hearst, Melanie Griffith as Marion Davies, John Malkovich, Roy Scheider and Brenda Blethyn as Louella Parsons. – 86 minutes

  • 48 page hardcover collector’s book

  • 20 page reproduction of the original 1941 souvenir program

  • Lobby cards, reproductions of rare memos/correspondence


Final Thoughts:

Citizen Kane is considered by many to be the best film ever made. There is no denying its significance or place among the upper echelon of American films. It makes it debut on Blu-ray Disc in this superb 70th Anniversary Ultimate Edition set that features painstakingly restored and revitalized high definition video, faithfully reproduced lossless sound quality and a superlative compliment of bonus material and commemorative supplements that heighten the wonderful experience that Citizen Kane is. A must have for every film fan this excellent Blu-ray offering from Warner Home Video comes highly recommended.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

djkest 09-06-2011 11:11 AM

I have never seen this film, but perhaps I should. The asking price for this edition is pretty steep, but it may be worth it in this case. I like well-made old black and white movies.

Sean__Z 09-06-2011 12:04 PM

All but certainly is presented in Academy Ratio, 1.37:1. Wouldn't be very "Ultimate" if not.

gwsat 09-06-2011 12:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

I have never seen this film, but perhaps I should. The asking price for this edition is pretty steep, but it may be worth it in this case. I like well-made old black and white movies.

By all means, see Citizen Kane! It is one of the greatest films ever made; it was brilliantly written, shot, and performed, and was far ahead of its time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean__Z View Post

All but certainly is presented in Academy Ratio, 1.37:1. Wouldn't be very "Ultimate" if not.

The ratios 1.37:1 (actually, its 1.375:1) and 1.33:1 are used interchangeably. both refer to the "Academy Ratio." I assume that the 1.33:1 nomenclature came into use because it describes an aspect ratio of 4:3, which is the closest round number available to describe all old pre widescreen films.

Thanks to Ralph for the heads up about the soon to be released BD edition of this great, great film. It is number 1 in my Blockbuster queue and I will buy it, too, assuming that its currently prohibitive price comes down.

LordAwesome 09-06-2011 03:08 PM

I wouldn't say it was "far ahead of its time". In 1941 alone you had How Green was My Valley, The Maltese Falcon, The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, Sergeant York, Ball of Fire and Dumbo, all of which are pretty much on par with Citizen Kane in terms of greatness.

One thing that shouldn't be forgotten admist all the talk of CK's importance and the technical qualities of the film is how incredibly entertaining it is. Welles' roguish charm (and trademark smirk) combined with the wonderfully fast and intelligently funny dialogue is a joy to watch.

And Bernstein's monologue about the girl on the ferry is truly wonderful and touching.

I think a lot of people get put off by the talk of deep focus this and optical that and don't see the great, universal human moments in the film like these.

No hesitation in pre-ordering this set. Citizen Kane is worth 34 of anyone's money and I'm more than happy to support great releases of classic movies.

Sean__Z 09-06-2011 03:30 PM

They are not interchangeable, and a proper Academy Ratio will be letterboxed on a 4:3 television. Analog video is digitized as if it was "1.33:1"; DVD's are ruined at "1.33:1" (cf "Fullscreen"). Classic studio films should be digitized at 1.375:1.

This is an error in the description and should be corrected -- otherwise it looks like the Blu-Ray was a cobbled together hack instead of the careful reproduction that I am sure it is.

Of course, no one will be watching a Blu-Ray on a 4:3 TV, but I do expect to see the entire frame.

And yes djkest, you should drop everything and see Citizen Kane NOW.

Ralph Potts 09-06-2011 05:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean__Z View Post

They are not interchangeable, and a proper Academy Ratio will be letterboxed on a 4:3 television. Analog video is digitized as if it was "1.33:1"; DVD's are ruined at "1.33:1" (cf "Fullscreen"). Classic studio films should be digitized at 1.375:1.

This is an error in the description and should be corrected -- otherwise it looks like the Blu-Ray was a cobbled together hack instead of the careful reproduction that I am sure it is.

Of course, no one will be watching a Blu-Ray on a 4:3 TV, but I do expect to see the entire frame.

And yes djkest, you should drop everything and see Citizen Kane NOW.

Greetings,

The correct OAR is 1.37:1 and it has been preserved in this presentation. The documentation included with the set incorrectly states 1.33:1. Closer examination confirms the correct AR.

My apologies for the error and thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Regards,

Sean__Z 09-07-2011 05:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

The correct OAR is 1.37:1 and it has been preserved in this presentation. The documentation included with the set incorrectly states 1.33:1. Closer examination confirms the correct AR.

My apologies for the error and thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Regards,

Funny the docs aren't as carefully put together as the rest. Thanks for all of the reviews, including this one.

moviegeek 09-07-2011 09:07 AM

"Rosebud"

I definately will be buying this one, thanks for the review Ralph.

gwsat 09-07-2011 01:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

The correct OAR is 1.37:1 and it has been preserved in this presentation. The documentation included with the set incorrectly states 1.33:1. Closer examination confirms the correct AR.

My apologies for the error and thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Ralph -- For the reasons stated in my earlier post about the issue, I don't think you made a serious mistake in quoting the 1.33:1 AR stated in the disc's documentation. The term used in the documentation and that you repeated has been long recognized as shorthand for the "Academy Ratio." Thats why the writers of documentation stated it as they did. Although we know that 1.33:1 misstates Academy Ratio by, gasp, 3 percent, I suggest that few of us are so anal that we let it bother us.

Ralph Potts 09-07-2011 05:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Ralph -- For the reasons stated in my earlier post about the issue, I don't think you made a serious mistake in quoting the 1.33:1 AR stated in the disc's documentation. The term used in the documentation and that you repeated has been long recognized as shorthand for the "Academy Ratio." Thats why the writers of documentation stated it as they did. Although we know that 1.33:1 misstates Academy Ratio by, gasp, 3 percent, I suggest that few of us are so anal that we let it bother us.

Greetings,

Thanks gwsat..


Regards,

Mr.D 09-08-2011 02:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

I have never seen this film, but perhaps I should. The asking price for this edition is pretty steep, but it may be worth it in this case. I like well-made old black and white movies.

To appreciate it you have to look at it realising that it was the first time anyone was seeing a lot of cinematic conventions that went beyond the camera just notionally being in some space and shooting some actors.

Its easy to be blaise as we are so familiar with these conventions today but at the time this was a film that evolved film language enormously into the realms of visual communication as an art form.

Camera , art direction , editing , sound are all heavily and harmoniously communicating things beyond just the pictorial representation depicted on screen.

At the time this was something that audiences found so alien that initially the film was received rather negatively.

Its a shame its 1.33 though I'd much rather have it cropped so that I use every bit of space on my widescreen TV. And they should remix it into a bombastic 7.1 soundtrack and they should do a colorised version too with better VFX.

LordAwesome 09-08-2011 04:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post

To appreciate it you have to look at it realising that it was the first time anyone was seeing a lot of cinematic conventions that went beyond the camera just notionally being in some space and shooting some actors.

Its easy to be blaise as we are so familiar with these conventions today but at the time this was a film that evolved film language enormously into the realms of visual communication as an art form.

Camera , art direction , editing , sound are all heavily and harmoniously communicating things beyond just the pictorial representation depicted on screen.

Ford, Murnau, Borzage, Mamoulian, Hitchock and Lubitsch were all moving their cameras and artfully compositing and editing their films during the 20s and 30s. While Kane is undoubtedly a cinematic milestone, it's a myth to say that it was the first of anything and a bit disrespectuful to forget the impact the filmmakers who were shaping cinema before and along side Welles.

Mr.D 09-08-2011 07:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LordAwesome View Post

Ford, Murnau, Borzage, Mamoulian, Hitchock and Lubitsch were all moving their cameras and artfully compositing and editing their films during the 20s and 30s. While Kane is undoubtedly a cinematic milestone, it's a myth to say that it was the first of anything and a bit disrespectuful to forget the impact the filmmakers who were shaping cinema before and along side Welles.

I beg to differ and I'll be as disrespectful as I please ...anything else when art is discussed is pretentious and sycophantic. Art is for interogation not pedestals.

Sean__Z 09-09-2011 05:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Ralph -- For the reasons stated in my earlier post about the issue, I don't think you made a serious mistake in quoting the 1.33:1 AR stated in the disc's documentation. The term used in the documentation and that you repeated has been long recognized as shorthand for the "Academy Ratio." Thats why the writers of documentation stated it as they did. Although we know that 1.33:1 misstates Academy Ratio by, gasp, 3 percent, I suggest that few of us are so anal that we let it bother us.

Of all the websites in all the world, you are surprised that people are anal about films here?

It is hardly unreasonable to expect that AVS Forum, which is the source of some of the best reviews anywhere, gets the details right. Whether the marketoids who wrote the documentation were using "shorthand" or didn't want to confuse the masses is irrelevant. I want to know that the film was transferred correctly when I read a review from a trusted site.

Saturn94 09-09-2011 08:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

I have never seen this film, but perhaps I should. The asking price for this edition is pretty steep, but it may be worth it in this case. I like well-made old black and white movies.

I saw this movie for the first time last night (Netflix rental). Frankly, it was alright, but I certainly didn't enjoy it enough to buy it.

From all the feedback I've read over the years gushing about the greatness of this movie, apparently I'm the only person who didn't think it was all that. I guess I ain't got no taste.

Ralph Potts 09-09-2011 09:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

I saw this movie for the first time last night (Netflix rental). Frankly, it was alright, but I certainly didn't enjoy it enough to buy it.

From all the feedback I've read over the years gushing about the greatness of this movie, apparently I'm the only person who didn't think it was all that. I guess I ain't got no taste.

Greetings,

No worries. Different strokes...

Regards,

gwsat 09-10-2011 06:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean__Z View Post

Of all the websites in all the world, you are surprised that people are anal about films here?

It is hardly unreasonable to expect that AVS Forum, which is the source of some of the best reviews anywhere, gets the details right. Whether the marketoids who wrote the documentation were using "shorthand" or didn't want to confuse the masses is irrelevant. I want to know that the film was transferred correctly when I read a review from a trusted site.

For the reasons stated in my earlier posts, I thought your complaint was an insignificant quibble, which added little or nothing to the thread and shouldn't have been dropped on Ralph's plate in the first place. I know you disagree so let's just agree to disagree and, finally, move away from minutia and on to something truly substantive.

zeroartgfx 09-11-2011 11:05 AM

good review, such a classic, I've been waiting for a proper blu-ray for this movie for a while.

Stormshadow4life 09-12-2011 05:50 AM

I don't really get it....the love for this film.
I understand that at the time, this was an amazing piece of work....But it just doesn't do anything at all for me.

rdgrimes 09-14-2011 08:25 AM

I skimmed through a Netflix copy yesterday. I thought it looked very good, though not really "blu-ray quality". Still, better than expected and very well restored.

I'm also in the camp that can't stand to watch this film all the way through. It's just too dreary. A perfect cure for insomnia though.

gwsat 09-14-2011 09:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I skimmed through a Netflix copy yesterday. I thought it looked very good, though not really "blu-ray quality". Still, better than expected and very well restored.

I'm also in the camp that can't stand to watch this film all the way through. It's just too dreary. A perfect cure for insomnia though.

I have always loved Citizen Kane, largely because of Welles' meanspirited portrayal of William Randolph Hearst's analog, Charles Foster Kane. Hearst was reputed to be kind of a monster, so I admit to taking perverse pleasure in his portrayal at the hands of Welles and his screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz. My opinion of Hearst was made even lower because of his well documented campaign to suppress the film.

I thought the film's version of Marion Davies, Susan Alexander Kane, was unfair, though. The film portrayed her as a drunk and a dim bulb. In fact, Davies had savvily saved her money throughout her film career and lent a great deal of it to Hearst during the depression, an act that saved Hearst's publishing empire.


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