If you’ve recently watched the Oh Brother podcast on YouTube, you may have spotted a poster for the film Citizen Kane. This is because in my opinion and the opinion of many (IMDB Meta critic score is 100 & Rotten Tomatoes critics score is 99%), Orson Welles in 1941 made the greatest movie of all time and has yet to be knocked off that pedestal. The reason so many of us feel this way is because of the extraordinary directing by Welles and acting from Welles along with Joesph Cotton and the rest of the mercury players, not to mention the best original screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz. If you do not agree with me, you can now pick up a brand new Criterion Collection 4k Blu-ray and listen to experts in every aspect of filmmaking make the case better than I could and why this will forever be in the conversation of the best film ever made.
Here’s what you get when you buy the Criterion Collection on 4k or regular Blu-ray:
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural sound track
- In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and three Blu-rays with the film and special features
- Three audio commentaries: from 2021 featuring Orson Welles scholars James Naremore and Jonathan Rosenbaum; from 2002 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich; and from 2002 featuring film critic Roger Ebert
- The Complete “Citizen Kane,” (1991), a rarely seen feature-length BBC documentary
- New interviews with critic Farran Smith Nehme and film scholar Racquel J. Gates
- New video essay by Orson Welles scholar Robert Carringer
- New program on the film’s special effects by film scholars and effects experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
- Interviews from 1990 with editor Robert Wise; actor Ruth Warrick; optical-effects designer Linwood Dunn; Bogdanovich; filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Henry Jaglom, Martin Ritt, and Frank Marshall; and cinematographers Allen Daviau, Gary Graver, and Vilmos Zsigmond
- New documentary featuring archival interviews with Welles
- Interviews with actor Joseph Cotten from 1966 and 1975
- The Hearts of Age, a brief silent film made by Welles as a student in 1934
- Television programs from 1979 and 1988 featuring appearances by Welles and Mercury Theatre producer John Houseman
- Program featuring a 1996 interview with actor William Alland on his collaborations with Welles
- Selection of The Mercury Theatre on the Airradio plays featuring many of the actors from Citizen Kane
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: Deluxe packaging, including a book with an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri
*New Cover by Mike McQuade
Yes, that is a lot of material and will likely take you a week to get through it all. I made my way through all of the extras and even I was exhausted and probably will not watch it again for at least a month. You could pay for a masters class in filmmaking and likely would not learn as much as you will from this $50 Blu-ray disc. I’m uncertain how many times I have seen Citizen Kane, but there were still things to learn and more to see in this new transfer.
If this is not enough content for you turn to Amazon and pick up the 80th anniversary edition of Kane with a few more trinkets from the movie.
This is what you get with the 80th anniversary edition 4k set of Citizen Kane:
* Feature film on 4k and Blu-ray
*48-Page Book 20-Page Souvenir Program Reprint of Press Release Excerpts
*5 Collectable Art Cards
*3 Photo Stills
*Special Features on Blu-ray: Separate Commentaries by Roger Ebert and Peter Bogdanovich
*Interviews with Ruth Warrick and Robert Wise
*Opening: World Premiere of Citizen Kane Still Photography
*Commentary by Roger Ebert and More
I couldn’t help myself and purchased the 80th Anniversary edition for the extra collectibles. While there is some double-dipping, you can see there’s a little more bang for your buck with the Criterion Collection. I also have the 70th and 75th anniversary editions, which are essentially obsolete with the newer 80th and Criterion Collection editions.
Ultimately, I recommend the Criterion Collection because it covers every aspect of the movie you can imagine. Some people might say, but the movie did not even win the academy award (you likely know our take on award shows for movies as well), but yes even that is covered and you may be surprised to learn it was political. If after watching the film, one commentary and just a few of the extras you still don’t believe it’s the greatest movie ever made, then it’s simply not your cup of tea. I highly recommend you give it a chance. After all, don’t you want to know the meaning of Rosebud?