One of the most painful moments of Charles Kane’s decline and demise is when Susan leaves him for good. At that moment, the old and already embattled Kane goes into a rage, smashing up the furniture in their bedroom. The mise-en-scene for this scene was aptly constructed, as expensive artefacts and furnishings in the room are met with Kane’s ire. The only object that stops Kane’s uncontrollable spree is a glass artefact representing snow. This has a huge effect on Kane, as it suddenly reminds him of one of his most cherished childhood possessions – his skate board. Named the ‘rosebud’, the skateboard was for Kane the only talisman of love. Through ‘rosebud’ Kane found a constant spring of comfort and security. It is to the image and the concept of rosebud that he would return in moments of crisis. He just as well possessed it along with his repository of valuable antique statues. In the edifying final shot of the film ‘rosebud’ would be thought of as junk and put into fire. This shot is the final missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle the film sought out to solve. And the cinematographic technique employed to convey these layers of meaning is of the highest quality. In depicting the dying moments of the fallen hero, “a dirge-like music plays in the background as a dying Charles Foster Kane, in his seventy-sixth year, drops a snow globe to the ground and utters his last word, “Rosebud,” which is revealed at the film’s end as the name of his childhood sled.” (Jackson & Merlock, 2006) This is in remembrance of his joyful rides in the snow outside his parents’ boarding house – an experience that is perhaps also his last thought.
- Champlin, C. (1975, April). More about “Citizen Kane” American Cinematographer, 56(4), 453.
- David Sterritt, W. O. (1991, April 3). Orson Welles and `Rosebud’ Ride Again Film Experts Argue over the Importance of `Citizen Kane’. FILM REVIVAL. The Christian Science Monitor, p. 13.
- Jackson, K. M., & Merlock, R. (2006). Leaving Rosebud, Leaving the Valley: Vestiges of Childhood in Two Classic Films from 1941. Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), 29(3), 296+.
- Jaffe, I. S. (1979). Film as the Narration of Space: Citizen Kane. Literature/Film Quarterly,7(2), 99+.
- Toland, G. (1975, April). Realism for “Citizen Kane” American Cinematographer, 56(4), 401+.
- Turner, G. (1991, August). Xanadu in Review: Citizen Kane Turns 50. American Cinematographer, 72(8), 34+.