Blu-ray Review: Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)
There isn't much to say about this legendary film that hasn't already been said before. If you had any desire to see, you've probably already had the chance. So instead of going into an extended synopsis and review of the film itself (in brief: Charles Foster Kane gets rich, gets sad, gets dead), I'd rather take this time to review what makes this release special, the fact that it's finally on Blu-ray!
Yes, it is so; quite possibly the most revered film of all time is now available in sparkling HD. But is it worth the $65.00 price tag?
Visually, yes, yes it is. Unless you've had the rare opportunity to see a film print screened, this is as good as Citizen Kane has ever looked. The Blu-ray features an all new and restored transfer, now in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. From DVD to this, it's a pretty noticeable jump. The film's sound aspects are less noticeable, but still great. The disc features a remastered audio track, but it's not a huge step up from the previous release. That's not to say it isn't great, it just wasn't particularly off the last time around.
Now I would normally have no problem recommending picking this one up, even if you own it on DVD, simply for the majestic new HD image, but the price tag is not to be sniffed at. Luckily though, I feel like the set's breadth of special features make up for the rather steep price.
The three disc set features commentaries by critic Roger Ebert and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, interviews with actress Ruth Warrick and director Robert Wise, the 1995 Oscar-nominated documentary The Battle over Citizen Kane, and the Emmy and Golden Globe winning 1999 film, RKO 281. The two bonus films are a particular treat. The Battle over Citizen Kane follows the compelling story of the clash between William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles over the production of Citizen Kane. RKO 281 is a fine, if not especially memorable, dramatic recreation of these events. It's a bit much to have the same story twice in the same set, but it's still very cool to have both films available.
Other features of note will definitely appeal to film buffs, including the newsreel of the film's premiere, stills, storyboards, call sheets, deleted scenes and more. Some of it is pure fluff, but it definitely makes for an entertaining after-movie activity.
Overall, the Citizen Kane Blu-ray transfer is certainly worth it for anyone who would've considered purchasing the film on any other medium. If you don't like the film, then obviously this release is not for you. However, if you're looking for the best possible way to experience it in your home, there's simply no comparison.
Review material for this article was provided by Warner Bros.' Blu-ray Elite program.