CITIZEN KANE is 70 years old – Warner Bros. Deluxe Blu Ray release due in September
Given that "The Greatest Film Ever Made" certainly deserves a Deluxe release on it's 70th anniversary, which also happens to be how many years Orson Welles lived on the planet Earth, I would like to propose my own wish list of extras and improvements that Warner Bros Home Video can make to their upcoming Blu Ray release of Citizen Kane, which will most likely be released in September. Since RKO proclaimed September 5, 1941 as Citizen Kane Day, when the film went out at "popular prices" in many theatres across the country, that would seem to be the obvious day for WB to release their new Citizen Kane Blu Ray disc.
So here are some other suggestions to Warner Home Video for their upcoming release of Citizen Kane:
* A truly deluxe edition, along the lines of the superb editions Warner Home Video has given us on such classic titles as The Searchers, King Kong, A Star Is Born and Bonnie and Clyde. This would mean reproductions of the original RKO Citizen Kane pressbook and Souvenir program. Reproductions of the various Citizen Kane posters could also be included, or better yet, offer up a reproduction of the original one-sheet (style B, please) as WB did with their box sets for The Searchers, King Kong and Bonnie and Clyde.
* The most obvious major extra to include would be The Complete Citizen Kane, the excellent 1991 BBC documentary that talks about all things relating to the making of Citizen Kane and features interviews with many of the people who worked on the movie who are now no longer with us. This documentary was hardly seen in the U.S. and there can be little doubt it would be a far superior extra than the lamentable The Battle Over Citizen Kane documentary, which WB included on the first DVD release of Citizen Kane.
* Reprints of the articles many of the major creative people wrote about Citizen Kane. Besides the many articles Welles himself wrote about the film, there are also many other pieces that could be included, such as articles written by Gregg Toland, Bernard Herrmann, John Houseman, Linwood Dunn, etc, etc.
* RKO correspondence on the making of Citizen Kane, both to and from Welles. Most of this material is preserved in the Lilly Library and even if only a few choice samples are included, it would make for fascinating reading.
* Audio tracks for some of the radio shows Welles did that satirize movie-making, such as Miss Dilly Say No and the 1939 I Lost My Girlish Laughter, where Welles plays a David O. Selznick-like producer named Sidney Brand who tells a novelist whose book he has brought, "I'll give you sole screenplay credit!"
* Both Time and Life Magazine did numerous articles on Citizen Kane during its production and after it was finally released on May 1, 1941. Henry Luce was clearly happy to help Welles and his film, as he was often at odds with William Randolph Hearst. Given the corporate connection between Time-Warner, why not include a selection of photos and articles on Citizen Kane from the vast Time-Life archives, such as this piece that appeared in Time in March, 1941.
* WB should certainly "un-restore" the "News-on-the-March" sequence which Welles intentionally wanted to have a dirty and scratched look, as well as all the scenes in the previous digital restoration that removed such “artifacts” as the raindrops on the windows outside of Mr. Bernstein’s office.
* Instead of a documentary featuring interviews with current directors talking about how much Citizen Kane “influenced” them, it would be far more interesting to edit together Orson Welles own comments on the film from the various interviews he has done over the years. You could easily get a 30-minute documentary of Welles talking about Citizen Kane as almost everyone who ever interviewed Welles asked him about the making of Kane. Obviously, cost considerations would come into play, in terms of getting the rights to some of Welles's interview clips and other material, but given that Citizen Kane is “The Greatest Film of All Time,” wouldn’t you think WB would give it at least as deluxe a treatment as they are planning to do for Ben-Hur?
Anything less should be greeted with King Lear-like howls of indignation!