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Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Rare Political Virtue in Citizen Kane

In Citizen Kane (1941), Charles Kane is not a replica of William Randolph Hearst. As a young, wealthy man running a newspaper, the character embodies a politico-economic ideal in both word and deed that Hearst only used as a campaign slogan. As per Kane's Statement of Principles, the young publisher is willing to diminish his own wealth held in stock in other companies in exposing the exploitive and corrupt money-bags in big corporations and trust who prey on the otherwise-unprotected working poor and presumably consumers too. For his part, Hearst merely published a daily oriented to the poor man.  As Kane's early ideal is a principle recognizable to, and even resonating with, virtually any audience, Welles' inclusion of the ideal in the film contributes to its endurance as a classic.

For the remainder of this essay, please go to "Citizen Kane: A Virtue Hearst Never Had"