Black SplatCitizen Kane (1941)

"He behaved like a swine."

Citizen Kane - Joseph Cotten as Jebediah Leland

Description: Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland reminisces about his friend Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) in the classic motion picture Citizen Kane (1941).

In the film, reporters hunt for the significance of the phrase “Rosebud” spoken on the deathbed of millionaire Charles Foster Kane. Reporter Thompson (William Alland) interviews Kane’s now aging friend Jedediah Leland, who offers this perspective on Kane:

“I was his oldest friend, and as far as I was concerned he behaved like a swine. Not that Charlie was very brutal; he just did brutal things. Maybe I wasn’t his friend, but if I wasn’t, he never had one.”

On the topic of love, Leland recalled, “That's all he ever wanted out of life... was love. That's the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he (Charlie) just didn't have any to give.”

Charles Foster Kane: Hello Jedediah.
Leland: Hello, Charlie. I didn't know we were speaking...
Charles Foster Kane: Sure, we're speaking, Jedediah: you're fired.
Charles Foster Kane: [jokingly to Leland] You long-faced, overdressed anarchist!

At one point in their friendship, Leland told Kane, "You don't care about anything except you. You just want to persuade people that you love 'em so much that they ought to love you back. Only you want love on your own terms. Something to be played your way, according to your rules."

Citizen Kane - Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane

When Leland wrote a negative but honest review about Kane's mistress Susan Alexander (Dorothy Cumingore) when she made her singing debut at an opera house, Kane fired Leland. Susan, who later became Kane's second wife held similar feelings about Kane, with regards to to love, when she said:

"Love! You don't love anybody! Me or anybody else! You want to be loved - that's all you want! I'm Charles Foster Kane. Whatever you want - just name it and it's yours! Only love me! Don't expect me to love you."

Despite Kane's inability to love those around him, he did live by a code, a code reflected in the following speech he made to banker Walter Parks Thatcher (George Coulouris):

"The trouble is, you don't realize you're talking to two people. As Charles Foster Kane, who has 82,634 shares of Public Transit Preferred. You see, I do have a general idea of my holdings. I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of $1,000 dollars. On the other hand, I am the publisher of the Inquirer! As such, it's my duty - and I'll let you in on a little secret, it's also my pleasure - to see to it that decent, hard-working people in this community aren't robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates just because - they haven't anybody to look after their interests."

Note: The word "Rosebud" referred to a sled once owned by Charles Foster Kane when he was a boy. The sled represented a time in his life when things were simple and pure and uncomplicated. The sled was tossed into a furnace at the end of the film as workers cleaned out Kane's palacial mansion known as Xanadu.

Citizen Kane - Movie Poster

Citizen Kane - Movie Poster

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