Classics & Cocktails: Citizen Kane & Rosebud

My husband and I were discussing movies and realized that there is basically a laundry list of them that we should have watched by now according to everyone. So that is exactly what we’re planning to do in 2015. We thought it would be fun to invite anyone who wants to come over and pair each film with a classic cocktail. And because we (meaning me) are total dorks, we’re giving this viewing experience a name: Classics & Cocktails.

We began our deep dive into classic cinema last Friday with Citizen Kane and the “Rosebud” cocktail.

Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the best film of all time. I took a few film classes as electives while earning my undergrad degree, and each professor just assumed that, as students interested in film, everyone had already seen it. And it seemed that most had.

It was written by, directed by, and stars Orson Welles as Charles Kane, an arrogant press tycoon whose death and last word, “Rosebud,” prompts an investigation into his life in an attempt to better understand his elusive character.  But as one of the men perusing his belongings says, “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life.”

The word “Rosebud,” it turns out, would be a great place to start, though the investigation ends without anyone figuring out what the word meant to Charles. We learn about his interminable rise to wealth from an impoverished childhood, his marriages, his business, and how he became increasingly reclusive as he aged. And we learn at the end of the film that Rosebud was the name of the sled he was playing with the day that he was permanently taken from his childhood home against his wishes. A gold mine was discovered on their property and his mother sold it, set up a trust for Charles to receive when he is 25, and sent him to boarding school so that he could be properly educated.

“Rosebud” is a symbol to Charles, the same way that the green light is a symbol to Jay Gatsby. Both represent what could have been if the circumstances of one’s birth were different. Both signify that despite eventually coming into great wealth, some of the most basic things germane to hope and happiness remain elusive throughout ones life because they cannot be bought and cannot be obtained again.

I enjoyed Citizen Kane very much and am really glad I finally watched it.

Next up: A Streetcar Named Desire

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