Revisiting Rosebud: The Mystery of Mary Kane

A new theory raises a fascinating question about Charles Foster Kane
by Michael Atkinson   posted Apr 8, 2013

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I read your article about that scene and went to youtube to see what I could find. There is a video under the title"Citizen Kane-sled shield". At the point when Mary tells Jim that he won't be able to get at Charlie, the scene fades with a close up of Charlie. You can play around with the speed and magnification on the screen. I was struck by something that I'd not noticed before. In the close up it could be argued that Charlie has a black eye. Am I imagining this or have other people noticed it?
dunno   posted 29.08.16

I know this article is a few years old, but please, please, please - don't forget the other clue! When Kane meets Susan for the first time, he's heading to a warehouse to look over his mother's belongings, which he received and stored following her death. And there was Rosebud! Remember, after the scene you describe in detail, the last shot is Rosebud being covered with snow, obviously left behind by poor little Charlie as he was taken away from his mother against his will. Remember how plaintively he begged her, "Aren't you coming too?" A boy of six would have concluded his mother didn't want him any more. So when Kane went to the warehouse to look over his mother's things and found she had saved Rosebud all those years - that was a sign she still loved him. And he clung to that by clinging to the sled. Welles was one brilliant fiend!
SparkiSays   posted 25.07.16

re: " Why stay in Colorado, which wasn’t even yet a state in 1870, at all, especially when your finances are managed on Wall Street? " ----- Colorado territory became new territory in 1860 - after gold rush to Pike's Peak, and later Leadville, etc. Banking began around 1860 in Denver, but there was little law so MOST people (esp miners) used the more safer banking options out east. re: "Isn’t keeping the family together something this massive amount of money can afford?" What was wrong with Mary Kane, anyway? Isn’t keeping the family together something this massive amount of money can afford?" ----- Showing 'no emotion' as is typical in long term trauma survivers (Mary is a victim of years of severe, domestic absuse). So is seeking solace away from lying, cheating, condescending, hurtful humans. Every human who has endured trauma (i.e., decades of domestic abuse) seeks refuge away from crowds. The main reason humans seek solitude of wilderness (e.g., Colorado) is for peace. Mary stayed in Colorado because she had no other support, had endured and was continuing to endure severe trauma - all causing too much weakness... traveling/moving to/from Colorado Mountains back East required far much more strength/support than she had. Regardless, living in mountainous regions which have small populations is not "hermetic". As a Montana mountain native, I can attest that there is NO similarity between the peaceful joy of quiet solitude and hermeticism. Mary owns a 'boarding house' - which proves she's not reclusive. Also, MARY owns/runs the boarding house, proving she NEEDS to do such as did MOST women living in mining camps. Any married WOMAN operating a boarding house always meant her husband was not providing for the family (i.e., more proof her hubby Jim was an abusive, alcoholic, depressed, insane twit). Further, her planning (had his trunk packed for a week) showed she knew this so called "suprise" visit to give her new money was NOT a "suprise". She planned this... i.e., MARY requested the former errant boarder (Frank) to scheme with her, to take away her son from the abusive hell. If MARY did this herself, Frank would have tortured &/or killed them both. Instead they had a LEGAL DOCUMENT drawn up, under Franks will, so she would not be to blame, and nobody could stop young Charlies removal from the abuse. Pretty obvious, Sherlock. The fact NOBODY in the scene believes one lie that alcoholic, abusive Jim Kane is saying is because EVERYBODY knows he's a lying, abusive monster. NOBODY responded to his questions/statements (except when Mary said 'stop nonsense'). Jim was being 'swindled' out of any of his 'fatherhood rights' because he is an abusive criminal. MARY is the healthy one, having a NORMAL reaction in the decades long abuse/torture environment caused by depressed, alcoholic, angry, violent JIM. If you did any little bit of research, you'd know that Orson Welles substituted HIS OWN actual childhood history for "kane" childhood. Welles' father was a drunk who abandoned and abused him/family, and his mother soon after died - leaving him an orphan at age 10. Your drivel, baselessly trashing the mother, is completely ridiculous -- reminiscent of yellow journalism standards, ironically. ... your "view" most likely projects what you (and this "veteran" student) think of women. A "rorshark" of sorts. Look at the facts. Stop embarrassing yourself. Be a more quality "teacher" and analyze facts - not encourage defamatory, lascivious, baseless, B.S.
iliveah   posted 17.12.13


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Michael Atkinson is the author/editor of six books, including Ghosts in the Machine: Speculating on the Dark Heart of Pop Cinema (Limelight Eds., 2000), Flickipedia (Chicago Review Press, 2007), Exile Cinema: Filmmakers at Work Beyond Hollywood (SUNY Press, 2008), and the novels from St. Martin's Press Hemingway Deadlights and Hemingway Cutthroat.

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Author's Website: Zero for Conduct