"What does 'Rosebud' mean in 'Citizen Kane'?" It is perhaps the question most often fielded by Wellesnet. The most detailed answer given by Orson Welles was contained in a press statement released by RKO Radio Pictures prior the film's release in May 1941. The complete press release, uncovered by biographer Frank Brady, has been more extensively reported here in the past, but it bears repeating.
By ORSON WELLES
January 15, 1941
I wished to make a motion picture which was not a narrative of action so much as an examination of character. For this, I desired a man of many sides and many aspects. It was my idea to show that six or more people could have as many widely divergent opinions concerning the nature of a single personality. Clearly such a notion could not be worked out if it would apply to an ordinary American citizen.
I immediately decided that my character (Charles Foster Kane) should be a public man — an extremely public man — an extremely important one ...
There have been many motion pictures and novels rigorously obeying the formula of the “success story,” I wished to do something quite different. (more...)