In a lot of ways, the Muppets were the Looney Tunes of their generation, seemingly directed at small children but operating at a gleefully subversive level of sophistication that goes right over the kids’ heads and straight for the hearts of their parents. Their first feature length film plays like an extended big-screen version of their late-seventies television show. This is a good thing.
Citizen Kane begins with an audacious touch that suits the outsized egos of both its creator and its subject. The opening title bills the film as a “Mercury Production by Orson Welles.” 1941 was more than a decade before François Truffaut began to advocate the “auteur theory,” the notion of the director as the primary “author” of a film, but it clearly conformed to (and, in part, inspired) Truffaut’s ideas. Orson Welles’ hand is on every frame of this film, along with the revolutionary touch of his cinematographer, Gregg Toland.
Kane is a clean break with the Hollywood conventions of the time in terms of both structure and style. This is truly modern film in the way we currently understand the term. Continue reading